Freedman wins 2005 Sibert Informational Book Award

Contact: Larra Clark/Macey Morales

ALA Media Relations

For Immediate Release

January 17, 2005

Freedman wins 2005 Sibert Informational Book Award

BOSTON – Russell Freedman, author of “The Voice that Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights,” was named the winner of the 2005 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for the most distinguished informational book for children published in 2004. The announcement was made at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Boston, January 17, 2005.

In the book, published by Clarion, a Houghton Mifflin imprint, Freedman gracefully narrates the story of Anderson’s life and career. Appropriately, it is her remarkable voice that the author emphasizes in this handsomely and spaciously designed book about an artist who preferred to focus on her career, but was forced to confront her nation’s racism.

“With profound respect for his subject and his reader’s intelligence, Freedman has elegantly constructed a compelling narrative enhanced by exemplary documentation and powerful, well-chosen photographs. This book exemplifies the highest standards of informational books for children,” said Committee Chair Kathleen Isaacs.

The author of more than 40 nonfiction books for young people, eHosteemed biographer Freedman has received numerous awards for his previous books, including the Newbery Medal for “Lincoln: A Photobiography.” He lives in New York City.

Three Sibert Honor Books also were named: “Walt Whitman: Words for America,” written by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Brian Selznick and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.; “The Tarantula Scientist, ” written by Sy Montgomery, with photographs by Nic Bishop and published by Houghton Mifflin; and “Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing,” written and illustrated by James Rumford, translated into Cherokee by Anna Sixkiller Huckaby and published by Houghton Mifflin.

Kerley’s lyrical prose portrait of Whitman captures the remarkable humanity and compassion of this quintessentially American poet, while Selznick’s evocative art, inspired by period photographs, breathes visual life into this moving tribute. This memorable account of Whitman’s experiences before and during the Civil War is brilliantly supported by the poet’s own words, as well as contemporary and later sources.

Montgomery’s vigorous and sometimes humorous text, enlivened by Bishop’s striking color close-up photography, introduces field scientist Sam Marshall and his hairy subjects. This team effort is an irresistible invitation to real scientific work.

With spare, poetic writing and richly colored, expressive illustrations, Rumford captures the character of Sequoyah, the man who created a writing system for the Cherokee language. A parallel translation in Cherokee demonstrates the lasting influence of this creative genius.

The award is sponsored by Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc., of Jacksonville, Ill., in honor of Robert F. Sibert, its longtime president. Sibert is known for his early work in establishing standards for bookbinding. The annual award is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of ALA.

Members of the 2005 Sibert Informational Book Award Committee are as follows: Chair Kathleen Isaacs, Pasadena, Md.; Julie Corsaro, Chapel Hill, N.C.; Andy Howe, Albuquerque Academy, N.M.; Kathy Krasniewicz, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, Conn.; Kathie Meizner, Chevy Chase Library and Noyes Library for Young Children, Chevy Chase, M.D.; John Peters, New York Public Library; Connie Rockman, editor, “9th Book of Junior Authors and Illustrators,” Stratford, Conn.; Joy Shioshita, Oakland Public Library, Calif.; and Susan Veltfort, King County Library System, Issaquah, Wash.

For more information on the Sibert Informational Book Award and other ALA literary awards, please visit