The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is awarded annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year. The award is named in honor of Robert F. Sibert, the long-time President of Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc. of Jacksonville, Illinois. ALSC administers the award.
2019 Medal Winner
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science, written by Joyce Sidman, and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies relays the remarkable contributions of Maria Sibylla Merian, a 17th century self-taught artist, pioneering entomologist and naturalist, and the first person to document the metamorphosis of the butterfly.
“Joyce Sidman crafts an engrossing, inspiring story of a woman who flouted the conventions of her time to pursue her passion for insects and a life devoted to discovery”, said Sibert Medal Committee Chair Kathy Jarombek.
2019 Honor Books
Camp Panda: Helping Cubs Return to the Wild, written by Catherine Thimmesh, and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Thimmesh explains the work of a Giant Panda conservation project in the Wolong Nature Reserve in China, which uses a three-stage program to create a self-sustaining population in the wild. Complementing her thoughtful, engagingly written text are many arrestingly adorable, colorful photographs of pandas in training and in the wild.
Spooked!: How a Radio Broadcast and The War of the Worlds Sparked the 1938 Invasion of America, written by Gail Jarrow, and published by Calkins Creek, an imprint of Highlights
Brought to life with the immediacy of a science fiction film, Spooked! relays the development and radio production of Welles’s classic. Panicked first-person accounts record the hysteria and embarrassment of the duped public’s reactions to “fake news,” propaganda and censorship.
The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees, written and Illustrated by Don Brown, and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
In a graphic novel format, Brown relates Syrian refugees’ attempts to escape the horrors of their country’s civil war. Pen-and-ink digitally colored art has an informal style that vividly expresses the intense emotions, offering a window into the humanity of displaced groups as well as their resilience, tenacity and inspiring, hopeful nature.
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, written by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac, and published by Charlesbridge
Season by season, Sorell guides readers through a year of a contemporary Cherokee community, incorporating Cherokee vocabulary and syllabary throughout. Otsaliheliga expresses gratitude and reminds readers to celebrate and reflect on life’s blessings and challenges. Lessac’s lively artwork enhances this beautiful celebration of culture, family, community and life.
When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana, written by Michael Mahin, illustrated by Jose Ramirez, and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
Mahin’s lyrical picture book biography chronicles the early life of musical and cultural icon Carlos Santana. Readers see Carlos discover his passion, cultivating a musical style that draws from his mestizo heritage and experiences living between two cultures and countries. Ramirez’s vibrant, textured art reflects and amplifies Santana’s journey.
Members of the 2019 Sibert Medal Committee are Chair Kathleen Busch Jarombek, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, Conn.; Kazia Berkley-Cramer, Watertown (Mass.) Free Public Library; Maria E. Gentle, Burke, Va.; Robin J. Howe, King County Library System, Kent, Wash.; Claire Moore, Manhattan Beach (Calif.) Library; Edward T. Sullivan, Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Margaret E. Tice, Magen David Yeshivah Elementary School, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Jade B. Valenzuela, Simms Library – Albuquerque (N.M.) Academy; and Eva Volin, Alameda (Calif.) Free Library.
Information books are defined as those written and illustrated to present, organize, and interpret documentable, factual material for children. There are no limitations as to the character of the book, although traditional literature (e.g., folktales) is not eligible. Poetry is not eligible except as a format or vehicle to convey information. Honor books may be named; they shall be books that are truly distinguished. The first award was announced at the Midwinter Meeting in 2001 and then presented at the ALSC Membership Meeting held during the Annual Conference.