Meet the Newest Award in Town: The Blueberry!
Imagine, if you will, what would happen if the Newbery Award were to have a younger, nerdier sibling that liked books too, but was really more into science and nature more than anything else. The kind of little sibling that really cares about the environment and the world and wants to do something about it. A scrappy little activist of an award. That, in a nutshell, describes the Blueberry. It’s a brand new award created by the staff at Evanston Public Library and dedicated to celebrating, “kids’ books that inspire a love of nature & action for planet Earth” for children between the ages of 3-10.
This year the winner of the Blueberry is How to Find a Fox by Kate Gardner, illustrated with incredible photographs by Ossi Saarinen. There are also 25 Honor Books, plus a short list of Blueberry Changemakers (books that give kids actionable steps that they can take towards helping the environment). Interested in what else made it? Then check out the 2021 Blueberry List
The nice thing about alerting authors and illustrators to the fact that they made a list of this sort is that they respond in a wide variety of kind and thoughtful ways. For example, author Curtis Manley said: “Thanks to…the committee for not only deciding that The Rescuer of Tiny Creatures deserved to be a Changemaker book–but for realizing the need for an award like your new Blueberry Award and book list! It’s a great idea and a wonderful list that will be a resource for many young readers and their caregivers.“
Meanwhile, author Madelyn Rosenberg of the 2021 middle grade novel One Small Hop took it one step further and sent the committee tiny silver frogs as a thank you for including her book on the list.
It’s like me mother always said: A good award yields good frogs.
Does your library have it own literary award as well? Tell me about it! Because as far as I’m concerned, with the number of quality books for kids coming out every year, the more we can celebrate the good ones, the better.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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