Cynthia Levinson, Evan Turk win 2022 Sibert Medal

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/24/2022


Communications and Marketing Office

ALA Media Relations


CHICAGO – Cynthia Levinson and Evan Turk, author and illustrator of “The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art” were named the winners of the 2022 Robert F. Sibert Medal for the most distinguished informational book for children published in 2021. The award was announced today by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), during LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience, held virtually Jan. 21 – 24. 

“The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art,” published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS is a compelling picture book biography of the Lithuanian-born, American artist best known for his social-realism paintings, Depression-era documentary photos, and Jewish artwork. The book brims with energy, and often outrage, in both the vibrant, succinct text and vivid multi-media illustrations.

“Levinson’s engaging narrative incorporating the artist’s own words eloquently pairs with Turk’s bold, Shahn-inspired illustrations to convey the theme of justice central to Shahn’s life and artwork,” said Sibert Medal Committee Chair Catharine Potter.   

Cynthia Levinson is the award-winning author of many informational books for children on social justice topics. A former teacher, educational policy consultant, and researcher, she divides her time between Austin and Boston.

Evan Turk is an illustrator, author, animator, and recipient of the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for New Illustrator. He resides in Riverside, California.

The Sibert Medal Committee selected five Honor Books.

“The Great Stink: How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London’s Poop Problem” written by Colleen Paeff, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter and published by Margaret K. McElderry Books an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

This cheeky tribute to sanitation engineering introduces readers to life in London before modern plumbing and to the man who saved the city from deadly cholera outbreaks. Complemented by Nancy Carpenter’s madcap watercolor illustrations, this ode to the commode boasts extensive back matter including tips to inspire young environmental stewards.

Colleen Paeff, lives in Los Angeles. “The Great Stink” is her debut picture book.

Nancy Carpenter has illustrated over forty books for children. She lives in Brooklyn.

“Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown” written by Steve Sheinkin and published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan.

“Fallout” presents readers with the high-stakes actions of players, both big and small, as the world teeters on the brink of nuclear annihilation. Masterfully weaving together multiple narrative threads with meticulous and surprising research, Sheinkin reveals information at exactly the right moment, culminating in a thematically rich and provocative grand finale.

Steven Sheinkin, is the award-winning author of “Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon,” which received the Sibert Medal, a Newbery Honor, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. He lives in Saratoga Springs, New York. 

“We Are Still Here!: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know” written by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac and published by Charlesbridge.

“We Are Still Here!” presents a survey of Native American history in picture book format. Framed as class presentations, the book touches upon complex concepts. The thoughtful, expository text with the refrain “We are still here!” combines with dynamic, gouache illustrations to scaffold the historical significance and contemporary relevance to each presented topic. 

Traci Sorell is the award-winning author of “We Are Grateful!: Otsaliheliga,” which earned a Sibert Honor and an American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor. She lives in the Cherokee Nation.

Frané Lessac is the author and illustrator of many picture books. She was born in New Jersey and currently resides in Australia.

“Summertime Sleepers: Animals That Estivate,” written by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen and published by Charlesbridge.

Expertly crafted compare and contrast text introduces young readers to estivation, the summertime equivalent of hibernation. Stewart’s soothing tone perfectly complements Brannen’s soft watercolors and field-note sketches, contextualizing animals both at rest and in motion. The engaging back matter provides abundant scientific details, rewarding readers’ curiosity and inviting continued research. 

Melissa Stewart is the author of over 180 science books for children as well as the award-winning blog, Info-licious Inspiration, and other professional resources for educators. She lives in Massachusetts. 

Sarah S. Brannen is the illustrator of more than twenty books for children. She lives in Massachusetts.

“Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre,” written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper and published by Carolrhoda Books an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.

This historical picture book is equal parts breathtaking and horrific. Lyrical text emulating oral tradition combined with expressive oil erasure illustrations exposes the racially charged destruction of the once thriving Black community of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921.  

Carole Boston Weatherford lives in North Carolina and is the author of over fifty books. She has received many awards including a Newbery Honor, a Sibert Honor and Coretta Scott King Honors. 

The late Floyd Cooper illustrated many children’s books including The Blacker the Berry, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award in 2009. He lived in Easton, Pennsylvania until his death in 2021.

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 2022 Sibert Medal Committee are Chair Catharine Potter, Falmouth Middle School, Falmouth, Maine; Ellen Bunn, EAGLE School, Madison, Wisconsin; Adilene Estrada-Huerta, Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento, California; Dr. Annette Y. Goldsmith, Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel Levy Library, Los Angeles; Kristina Jean Lareau, Ridgefield Library, Ridgefield, Connecticut; Kyra Nay, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, Ohio; Lizzie Nolan, San José Public Library, San José, California; Joe Prince, Jerome Library, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio; and Stan F. Steiner, Boise State University, Jackson, Wyoming.

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is driven by more than 4,000 members dedicated to the support and enrichment of library service to children. Our members include youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty. ALSC supports its members in engaging communities to build healthy, successful futures for all children. To learn more about ALSC and how to join, please visit our website at

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