Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann win 2021 Sibert Medal

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/25/2021

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CHICAGO – Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann, author and illustrator of "Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera," were named the winners of the 2021 Robert F. Sibert Medal for the most distinguished informational book for children published in 2020. 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 virtually Jan. 22 – 26.

"Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera," published by Neal Porter Books/Holiday House, is an informational book about the life cycle of the assiduous honeybee. Through poetic, suspenseful language, readers learn of the essential roles adopted by honeybees throughout their short lives. The text compliments Rohmann’s oversized oil paintings which are rich with painstaking detail. 

“Fleming’s narrative is both scientifically accurate and emotionally satisfying,” said Sibert Medal Committee Chair Brandy Sanchez. “Combined with Rohmann’s magnified illustrations, this book elevates our understanding and appreciation of the common honeybee.”

Candice Fleming and Eric Rohmann are award-winning creators of numerous books for children, including ““Giant Squid,” a 2017 Sibert honor book. They live in a suburb of Chicago.

The Sibert Medal Committee selected three Honor Books.

“How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity's Greatest Adventure,” written and illustrated by John Rocco, and published by Crown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a Division of Penguin Random House.

This ambitious book chronicles one of the most exciting and miraculous accomplishments in American history—the 1969 lunar landing. Through extensive research and intricate illustrations, Rocco highlights the achievements of NASA innovators while also explaining complex scientific concepts through precise, captivating diagrams.

Rocco received a Caldecott honor in 2012 for his book “Blackout.” He resides in Rhode Island with his family.

“Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks” written by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS.

In this luminous biography, lyrical text and vibrant illustrations celebrate the groundbreaking poet who would become the first Black person to win the Pulitzer Prize.  Slade and Cabrera capture Gwendolyn Brooks’ inspiring determination to never give up on a dream.

Suzanne Slade, an engineer by degree, is also an award-winning author of more than 140 children's books. She lives near Chicago.

Cozbi A. Cabrera received a BFA from Parsons School of Design and has illustrated several children’s books. She lives in New York City.

“All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team” written by Christina Soontornvat, and published by Candlewick Press

“All Thirteen” is a well-documented and multilayered account of the worldwide effort to rescue a team of young soccer players. Through gripping exposition and dramatic photographs, this book showcases humanity’s ingenuity and courage. 

Christina Soontornvat is a children’s author, engineer, and STEM educator. She lives with her family in Austin, Texas.

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

Members of the 2021 Sibert Medal Committee are Chair Brandy Sanchez, Daniel Boone Regional Library, Columbia, Missouri; Ingha Chopra, Santa Monica, California; Maria Cotto, Pawtucket Public Library, Pawtucket, Rhode Island; Andrea Vaughn Johnson, Wilmette Public Library, Wilmette, Illinois; Angelique Kopa, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, Maryland; Heather Novotny, The McGillis School, Salt Lake City, Utah; Cheryl Perez Shrake, Latin School of Chicago, Chicago; Emily McKnight Townsend, Madison, Wisconsin; and Erin Wen, Dayton Metro Library, 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 members are committed to engaging communities to build healthy, successful futures for all 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.