Since 1952, The New York Public Library and The New York Times have convened a rotating annual panel of expert judges, who consider every illustrated children’s book published that year in the United States. They select the winners purely on the basis of artistic merit. The judges this time were Leonard Marcus, a children’s literature historian and critic; Jenny Rosenoff, a children’s librarian at the New York Public Library; and Bryan Collier, the author and illustrator of many acclaimed picture books and a past winner of the award. Find winners below and read the judges commentary at the New York Times website.
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
In 1994, Yuyi Morales left her home in Xalapa, Mexico and came to the US with her infant son. She left behind nearly everything she owned, but she didn’t come empty-handed. She brought her strength, her work, her passion, her hopes and dreams… and her stories. Caldecott Honor artist and five-time Pura Belpré winner Yuyi Morales’s gorgeous new picture book Dreamers is about making a home in a new place. Yuyi and her son Kelly’s passage was not easy, and Yuyi spoke no English whatsoever at the time. But together, they found an unexpected, unbelievable place: the public library. There, book by book, they untangled the language of this strange new land, and learned to make their home within it.
Dreamers is a celebration of what migrantes bring with them when they leave their homes. It’s a story about family. And it’s a story to remind us that we are all dreamers, bringing our own gifts wherever we roam.
Book | eBook | Readalong eBook
Florette by Anna Walker
When Mae’s family moves to a new home, she wishes she could bring her garden with her. She’ll miss the apple trees, the daffodils, and chasing butterflies in the wavy grass. But there’s no room for a garden in the city. Or is there?
Mae’s story, gorgeously illustrated in watercolor, is a celebration of friendship, resilience in the face of change, and the magic of the natural world.
Ayobami and the Names of the Animals by Pilar Lopez Avila and Mar Azabal
Ayobami is an African girl who dreams of going to school. After war comes to an end, she can finally return to the schoolhouse. But in order to do so, she has to take a dangerous path through the jungle. Armed only with a piece of paper and a worn-out pencil, she embarks on a hazardous journey to fulfil her unweaving desire to learn and write.
This is a tale about the importance of education, the difficulties that many children have to overcome to go to school, and the perseverance and enthusiasm of those who want to learn.
The Forest by Riccardo Bozzi, Violeta Lopiz, and Valerio Vidali
A lyrical book about the adventure of life, The Forest is also a magnificent visual work, both painterly and a technical feat of paper engineering. Here, sensory experience and the textures of the material world are rendered through die-cuts, embossing, cutouts, and two gatefolds. A beautifully considered work.
A House that Once Was by Julie Fogliano and Lane Smith
Deep in the woods is a house just a house that once was but now isn’t a home. Who lived in that house? Who walked down its hallways? Why did they leave it, and where did they go?
Two children set off to find the answers, piecing together clues found, books left behind, forgotten photos, discarded toys, and creating their own vision of those who came before.
Our Car by J. M. Brum and Jan Bajtlik
There’s nothing better than taking a drive in Dad’s car. Join our protagonist and his dad as they go to the carwash, drive through a rainstorm, are tickled by the wind, and more in this bold and sweet story of a boy, his dad, and their car. From graphic artist Jan Bajtlik comes a vibrant and simple tale with surprising heart.
She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein by Lynn Fulton and Felicita Sala
On a stormy night two hundred years ago, a young woman sat in a dark house and dreamed of her life as a writer. She longed to follow the path her own mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, had started down, but young Mary Shelley had yet to be inspired. As the night wore on, Mary grew more anxious. The next day was the deadline that her friend, the poet Lord Byron, had set for writing the best ghost story. After much talk of science and the secrets of life, Mary had gone to bed exhausted and frustrated that nothing she could think of was scary enough. But as she drifted off to sleep, she dreamed of a man that was not a man. He was a monster.
The Funeral by Matt James
Norma and her parents are going to her great-uncle Frank’s funeral, and Norma is more excited than sad. She is looking forward to playing with her favorite cousin, Ray, but when she arrives at the church, she is confronted with rituals and ideas that have never occurred to her before. While not all questions can be answered, when the day is over Norma is certain of one thing: Uncle Frank would have enjoyed his funeral. This sensitive and life-affirming story will lead young readers to ask their own questions about life, death and how we remember those who have gone before us.
Book | eBook
Run Wild by David Covell
“Hey, you! Sky’s blue!” a girl shouts as she runs by the window of a boy bent over his digital device. Intrigued, the boy runs out after her, leaving his shoes (and phone) behind, and into a world of sunshine, dewey grass, and warm sand. Filled with the pleasures of being alive in the natural world, Run Wild is an exquisite and kid-friendly reminder of how wonderful life can be beyond doors and screens.
The Visitor by Antje Damm
Elise was frightened–of spiders, people, even trees. So she never went out, night or day. One day a strange thing flies in through the window and lands at her feet. And then there comes a knock at the door. Elise has a visitor who will change everything. The Visitor is a story about friendship and shyness that plays out in a mini theatre, as a child unwittingly brings light and color–literally–into a lonely person’s life.
The unique artwork has a doll’s house appeal. Damm creates a diorama from cardboard and photographs the scenes, giving the illustrations a special luminosity and depth.