The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators has announced the winners of the annual Golden Kite and Sid Fleischman Awards. The Golden Kites are the first children’s literary award judged by a jury of peers.
This year’s Golden Kite Awards were selected by a panel of esteemed judges including Chris Barton, Samantha Berger, Ben Clanton, Carmen Agra Deedy, Angela Dominguez, Susan Fletcher, Rita Lorraine Hubbard, Eric Lindstrom, Alex London, Yuyi Morales, Elizabeth Partridge, Adam Rex, Veronica Rossi, Nisha Sharma, and Becca Stadtlander. The Sid Fleischman Award is for exemplary writing for children in the genre of humor.
Young Reader and Middle Grade Fiction:
The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
Life is harsh in Chennai’s teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Ruku arrive, their prospects look grim. Very quickly, eleven-year-old Viji discovers how vulnerable they are in this uncaring, dangerous world. Fortunately, the girls find shelter—and friendship—on an abandoned bridge. With two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, the group forms a family of sorts. And while making a living scavenging the city’s trash heaps is the pits, the kids find plenty to laugh about and take pride in too. After all, they are now the bosses of themselves and no longer dependent on untrustworthy adults. But when illness strikes, Viji must decide whether to risk seeking help from strangers or to keep holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom.
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Young Adult Fiction:
Lovely War by Julie Berry
They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.
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Non-Fiction for Younger Readers:
Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet by Elizabeth Rusch and Teresa Martinez
The true story of how Mexican-American scientist Mario Molina helped solve the ozone crisis of the 1980s and went on to become a Nobel laureate and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His inspiring story gives hope in the fight against global warming.
Picture Book Illustration:
Clever Little Witch by Hyewon Yum and Muon Thị Van
Little Linh is the cleverest little witch on Mãi Mãi island. She has everything she could need: a trusty broomstick, a powerful spell book, and a magical pet mouse. She also has a new brother named Baby Phu, and she does not like him one bit. He crashes her broomstick, eats pages out of her spell book, and keeps her up all night. Little Linh tried giving Baby Phu away, but nobody will take him, not even the Orphanage for Lost and Magical Creatures.
So, she’ll just have to try something else…like turning him into a goldfish. The only problem is, Baby Phu ate the second half of the spell. Still, there’s a reason Little Linh is the cleverest little witch. She can guess the second half of the spell…but it might take a few tries.
Non-Fiction for Older Readers:
Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship” by Deborah Heiligman
Amid the constant rain of German bombs and the escalating violence of World War II, British parents by the thousands chose to send their children out of the country: the wealthy, independently; the poor, through a government relocation program called CORB. In September 1940, passenger liner SS City of Benares set sail for Canada with one hundred children on board.
When the war ships escorting the Benares departed, a German submarine torpedoed what became known as the Children’s Ship. Out of tragedy, ordinary people became heroes. This is their story.
Picture Book Text:
A Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park by Ashley Benham Yazdani
In 1858, New York City was growing so fast that new roads and tall buildings threatened to swallow up the remaining open space. The people needed a green place to be — a park with ponds to row on and paths for wandering through trees and over bridges. When a citywide contest solicited plans for creating a park out of barren swampland, Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted put their heads together to create the winning design, and the hard work of making their plans a reality began. By winter, the lake opened for skating. By the next summer, the waterside woodland known as the Ramble opened for all to enjoy. Meanwhile, sculptors, stone masons, and master gardeners joined in to construct thirty-four unique bridges, along with fountains, pagodas, and band shells, making New York’s Central Park a green gift to everyone. Included in the end matter are bios of Vaux and Olmsted, a bibliography, and engaging factual snippets.
Sid Fleischman Humor Award Winner:
Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai
Sometimes life isn’t a piece of cake… When Jingwen moves to a new country, he feels like he’s landed on Mars. School is torture, making friends is impossible since he doesn’t speak English, and he’s often stuck looking after his (extremely irritating) little brother, Yanghao. To distract himself from the loneliness, Jingwen daydreams about making all the cakes on the menu of Pie in the Sky, the bakery his father had planned to open before he unexpectedly passed away. The only problem is his mother has laid down one major rule: the brothers are not to use the oven while she’s at work. As Jingwen and Yanghao bake elaborate cakes, they’ll have to cook up elaborate excuses to keep the cake making a secret from Mama.