Jen Bryant, Melissa Sweet win 2015 Sibert Medal

For Immediate Release
Mon, 02/02/2015


Macey Morales

Media Relations Manager

American Library Association


CHICAGO – Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet, author and illustrator of “The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus,” were named the winners of the 2015 Robert F. Sibert Medal for the most distinguished informational book for children published in 2014. The award was announced today by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), during the ALA Midwinter Meeting held Jan. 30 – Feb. 3 in Chicago.

“The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus,” published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., is about Peter Mark Roget, whose boyhood passion for list-making and finding the right word for every situation led him to create his “treasure house” of a book, the thesaurus. Bryant’s engaging, accessible narrative and Sweet’s delightfully detailed mixed media illustrations meld together to create “a marvel, a wonder, a surprise,” of a book.

“With both lovely storytelling and intricate illustrations, this picture book biography of a life that had such a far reaching impact takes the format to another level,” said Sibert Medal Committee Chair Deborah Taylor.

Bryant was born in Easton, Pa. She has a bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg College, a master’s degree from Arcadia University, and an honorary doctorate from Gettysburg College. She lives with her family in Chester County, Pa. Bryant is the author of several books, including numerous books with Sweet, one of which, “A Splash of Red: the Life and Art of Horace Pippin,” was a Schneider Family Book Award winner and a Sibert Honor Book in 2014.

Sweet grew up in N. J., attended Kansas City Art Institute, and currently lives in Maine. She was a 2009 Caldecott Honor Recipient for “A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams,” written by Bryant, and a 2012 Sibert Medal Winner for “Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade.”

The Sibert Medal Committee selected five Honor Books.

“Brown Girl Dreaming,” written by Jacqueline Woodson and published by Nancy Paulsen Books an imprint of Penguin Group (USA).

Woodson’s eloquent and haunting memoir focuses on her family and her dream of becoming a writer.

The winner of multiple awards, Woodson was born in Columbus, Ohio, and lived in Greenville, S. C. before moving as a child to Brooklyn, N.Y., where she still lives with her family. 

“The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia,” written by Candace Fleming and published by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.

Fleming brilliantly delineates the tragic fall of the Russian royal family, contrasting their opulent lives with the primary source voices from the Rebellion.

The author of numerous picture books and award-winning nonfiction titles, Fleming lives in suburban Chicago.

“Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker,” written by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Christian Robinson and published by Chronicle Books LLC.

“Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker” is a dynamic dance of beautifully written verse and lively illustrations describing the life of the effervescent entertainer.

Powell resides Urbana-Champaign, Ill.; award-winning illustrator Robinson lives in San Francisco, Calif.

“Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands,” written and illustrated by Katherine Roy, and published by David Macaulay Studio, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press.

With vivid paintings and clear, accessible text, Roy creates a heart-stopping look at what great white sharks do best—hunt for their next meal.

Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, Roy attended the Rhode Island School of Design and currently resides in New York City.

“Separate Is Not Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation,” written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh, and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS.

Tonatiuh draws upon traditional Mixtec codex art to tell the story of 11-year-old Sylvia Mendes, who helped end school segregation in California seven years before Brown v. Board of Education.

Tonatiuh was the winner of the 2012 Pura Belpré Award for Illustration for “Diego Rivera: His World and Ours.” He lives in Mexico and frequently travels in the United States.

The award was established by ALSC and named to commemorate Mr. Robert F. Sibert, founder of Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc., of Jacksonville, Ill. Sibert is known for his early work in establishing standards of bookbinding.

Members of the 2015 Sibert Medal Committee are: Chair Deborah Taylor, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, Md.; Erlene Bishop Killeen, Stoughton, Wis.; Sam Bloom, Public Library of Cincinnati (Ohio)/Hamilton County; Ann D. Carlson, Oak Park & River Forest (Ill.) High School; Cindy Dobrez, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, Mich.; Dona Helmer, Anchorage (Alaska) School District; Christopher Lassen, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library; Angela Newman, North Country Library System, Watertown, N.Y.; and Karla M. Schmit, Penn State University Libraries, State College, Pa.

ALSC is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit their website at

For information on the Robert F. Sibert Medal and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit


Macey Morales
Media Relations Manager

Heather Cho
Media Relations Specialist


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