The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.
The award was founded by Dr. Katherine Schneider, who was the first blind student to graduate from the Kalamazoo Public School system. Schneider had been helped through school as a child by a librarian at the Michigan Library for the Blind who provided books in Braille to her.
Teen Book Award Winner
This Is My Brain in Love by I.W. Gregorio
Jocelyn Wu has just three wishes for her junior year: To make it through without dying of boredom, to direct a short film with her BFF Priya Venkatram, and to get at least two months into the year without being compared to or confused with Peggy Chang, the only other Chinese girl in her grade.
Will Domenici has two goals: to find a paying summer internship, and to prove he has what it takes to become an editor on his school paper.
Then Jocelyn’s father tells her their family restaurant may be going under, and all wishes are off. Because her dad has the marketing skills of a dumpling, it’s up to Jocelyn and her unlikely new employee, Will, to bring A-Plus Chinese Garden into the 21st century (or, at least, to Facebook).
What starts off as a rocky partnership soon grows into something more. But family prejudices and the uncertain future of A-Plus threaten to keep Will and Jocelyn apart. It will take everything they have and more, to save the family restaurant and their budding romance.
Middle School Book Award Winner
Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte
Mary Lambert has always felt safe and protected on her beloved island of Martha’s Vineyard. Her great-great-grandfather was an early English settler and the first deaf islander. Now, over a hundred years later, many people there — including Mary — are deaf, and nearly everyone can communicate in sign language. Mary has never felt isolated. She is proud of her lineage.
But recent events have delivered winds of change. Mary’s brother died, leaving her family shattered. Tensions over land disputes are mounting between English settlers and the Wampanoag people. And a cunning young scientist has arrived, hoping to discover the origin of the island’s prevalent deafness. His maniacal drive to find answers soon renders Mary a “live specimen” in a cruel experiment. Her struggle to save herself is at the core of this penetrating and poignant novel that probes our perceptions of ability and disability. It will make you forever question your own ideas about what is normal.
Middle School Book Award Honor
Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! by Sarah Kapit
Vivy Cohen is determined. She’s had enough of playing catch in the park. She’s ready to pitch for a real baseball team. But Vivy’s mom is worried about Vivy being the only girl on the team, and the only autistic kid. She wants Vivy to forget about pitching, but Vivy won’t give up. When her social skills teacher makes her write a letter to someone, Vivy knows exactly who to choose: her hero, Major League pitcher VJ Capello. Then two amazing things happen: A coach sees Vivy’s amazing knuckleball and invites her to join his team. And VJ starts writing back!
Now Vivy is a full-fledged pitcher, with a catcher as a new best friend and a steady stream of advice from VJ. But when a big accident puts her back on the bench, Vivy has to fight to stay on the team.
Middle School Book Award Honor
When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson, Omar Mohamed, and Victoria Jamieson
Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.
Young Children’s Book Award Winner
I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith
When a boy who stutters feels isolated, alone, and incapable of communicating in the way he’d like, it takes a kindly father and a walk by the river to help him find his voice. Through this powerful and uplifting story, poet Jordan Scott uses his own experiences to reveal what it’s like to be a child who feels lost, lonely, or unable to fit in.
Young Children’s Book Award Honor
All the Way to the Top by Annette Bay Pimentel and Nabi H. Ali
Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, Jennifer Keelan grew up battling-and overcoming-the limitations others set for her. From a lack of cutaway curbs and bus lifts to being denied enrollment at her neighborhood school, Jennifer was continually blocked from living the life she wanted. But after discovering the world of disability rights activism, she knew she had to use her voice to change things. When Jennifer was just eight years old, she participated in the Capitol Crawl. The deeply affecting image of Jennifer crawling up the steps of Capitol Hill went viral and helped pressure Congress into passing the Americans with Disabilities Act. A powerfully illustrated biography of Jennifer’s life and a celebration of youth activism, All the Way to the Top will teach all children that they have the power to make a difference.
Young Children’s Book Award Honor
Itzhak: A Boy who Loved the Violin by Tracy Newman and Abigail Halpin
Before becoming one of the greatest violinists of all time, Itzhak Perlman was simply a boy who loved music. Raised by a poor immigrant family in a tiny Tel Aviv apartment, baby Itzhak was transformed by the sounds from his family’s kitchen radio—graceful classical symphonies, lively klezmer tunes, and soulful cantorial chants. The rich melodies and vibrant rhythms spoke to him like magic, filling his mind with vivid rainbows of color. After begging his parents for an instrument, Itzhak threw his heart and soul into playing the violin. Despite enormous obstacles—including a near-fatal bout of polio that left him crippled for life—Itzhak persevered, honing his extraordinary gift. When he performed on the Ed Sullivan Show sat only 13, audiences around the world were mesmerized by the warmth, joy, and passion in every note. Gorgeously illustrated with extensive back matter, this picture-book biography recounts Itzhak’s childhood journey—from a boy with a dream to an internationally acclaimed violin virtuoso.