Duncan Tonatiuh wins the 2016 Sibert Medal

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/11/2016


Macey Morales

Deputy Director

Public Awareness Office

American Library Association

312 280 4393


BOSTON – Duncan Tonatiuh, the author / illustrator of “Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras,” is the winner of the 2016 Robert F. Sibert Medal for the most distinguished informational book for children published in 2015. 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 & Exhibits held Jan. 8 – 12, in Boston.

“Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calvaras,” published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS, is about José Guadalupe Posada, the Mexican artist whose iconic Dia de Muertos illustrations are well known to children celebrating or learning about the holiday. Juxtaposing his own artwork with Posada’s art and life, Tonatiuh tells the story of a remarkable man and time in Mexican history.

“Dancing calaveras (skeletons) cavort through this playful biography about the Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada. In lively art and text, Tonatiuh describes Posada's  techniques and the social impact of his vibrant art," said Sibert Medal Committee Chair Elizabeth C. Overmyer.

Duncan Tonatiuh, a dual citizen of Mexico and the United States, graduated from the Parsons New School of  Design in New York City and lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. His 2014 book "Separate is Never Equal" was named a 2015 Sibert Honor Book. His work is inspired by Ancient Mexican art.

The Sibert Medal Committee selected four Honor Books.

“Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans,” written and illustrated by Don Brown, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

“A swirl of unremarkable wind leaves Africa…” and makes its way to what will become the drowned city of New Orleans. Simple black ink lines and dramatic watercolors pull readers into the deep water. Heroes surface, and people find courage, but much in this exceptional graphic novel is about incompetence, racism, and the resilience of the people of the Crescent City.

Don Brown is the award-winning author and illustrator of many picture book biographies. He lives in New York with his family.

“The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club,” written by Phillip Hoose, and published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers.

Hoose presents the true World War II story of eight Danish teens who became resistance fighters while most of the adults in their country reacted passively to the Nazi takeover. He and Knud Pedersen, the original organizer of their Churchill Club, extensively conversed in person and via email; Hoose weaves Pedersen’s own words into an adventurous narrative about these young heroes.

Phillip Hoose grew up in South Bend Indiana, and currently lives in Portland, Maine. He is a conservationist, award-winning author, and musician for both children and adults.

“Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March,” written by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley, illustrated by PJ Loughran, and published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC. 

“By the time I was fifteen years old, I had been in jail nine times.” So begins Lowery’s highly personal account of the historic 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery. Revealing a dramatic story with diverse visual images, this heroic tale gives voice to activists participating in Civil Rights history.

Lynda Blackmon Lowery, the youngest participant in the Selma march, works as a case manager at a mental health center in Selma, Alabama.

Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley both live in New York and have collaborated on a number of books for young people.

PJ Loughran is a professional illustrator, creative director, and musician who lives in Chicago, Illinois.

“Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement,” written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes, and published by Candlewick Press.

This inspirational singer and Civil Rights activist comes to life in 22 brief, first person, free verse poems that seamlessly incorporate Hamer’s own words. This biography takes her from  a sharecropping child to a community leader, and is richly illustrated with multimedia collages that perfectly evoke the emotions of each poem.

Carole Boston Weatherford is an award-winning poet and author of more than 40 children’s books. She is a professor of English at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.

Ekua Holmes is a painter and collage artist who lives in Boston, Massachussets. This is her debut children’s book.

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 2016 Sibert Medal Committee are: Chair Elizabeth C. Overmyer, Berkeley, Calif.; Gratia Banta, The Lane Libraries, Hamilton, Ohio; Alan Bern, Berkeley (Calif.) Public Library; Alei Burns, Chattanooga (Tenn.) Public Library; Nick Glass, TeachingBooks.net, Madison, Wis.; Eric Gómez, Broward County Library, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Susan Dove Lempke, Niles (Ill.) Public Library District; Grace W. Ruth, San Francisco; and Jennifer Sommer, Dayton, Ohio.

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 www.ala.org/alsc.


For information on the Robert F. Sibert Medal and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit www.ala.org/yma.