New Book List Offers Children Diverse Choices

The American Library Association (ALA) recently announced its annual children's book awards.

ALA President Loriene Roy discusses and reads excerpts from awarding-winning books for children and young adults.

American Library Association's Children's Book List

By Loriene Roy

Elijah of Buxton

hide captionElijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

My Name is Gabito

hide captionMy Name is Gabito by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis. Elijah, the first free-born child in Buxton, a Canadian community of escaped slaves in 1860, transforms from a "fra-gile" 11-year-old boy into a courageous hero.

Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson. A new boy's arrival in a sixth-grade classroom helps Frannie recognize the barriers that separate people, and the importance of hope as a bridge.

Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine; illustrations by Kadir Nelson. Adopted for grade-school children, Levine recounts the amazing true story of Henry "Box" Brown, a runaway slave who mailed himself to freedom. After being stripped of his family and freedom, Brown is nailed into a wooded crate and travels 27 hours to reclaim his liberty.

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler; illustrations by R. Gregory Christie. A family breaks out in song and dance when the baby awakes to jazz. "Sister's hands snap. Granny sings scat. Uncle soft-shoes, and Baby keeps the groove. Things start to wind down when Mama and Daddy sing blues so sweet. Now a perfectly drowsy baby sleeps deep, deep, deep."

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale by Carmen Agra Deedy; illustrations by Michael Austin. This popular Cuban folktale reveals the secret — at least according to cockroaches — of finding a good husband: spill coffee on their shoes and see how they react. Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha puts this to the test in trying to find a good suitor.

My Name Is Gabito: The Life of Gabriel García Márquez/Me llamo Gabito: La vida de Gabriel García Márquez by Monica Brown; illustrated by Raúl Colón. Evocative, tropical illustrations pull the eye into Gabriel García Márquez's imaginative world, introducing children to the early life of the celebrated Colombian author.

On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance by Kareen Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld. Abdul-Jabbar chronicles his upbringing in the 1940s, parralled with cultural revolutions brought about by the Harlem Renaissance.

The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography in Poems of Juan Francisco Manzano by Margarita Engle; illustrations by Sean Qualls. The poetic biography retells the story of a Cuban slave who secretly learns to read and write. His talent for memorization flourishes into detailed poems that illustrate his life in captivity and a continuous struggle for freedom.

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