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Children’s Book Committee – July Pick

July 5, 2016


The Airport Book
written and illustrated by Lisa Brown
(Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan, 2016)

Packed suitcases, long lines, and little sister’s missing toy are all part of this child’s eye view of airplane travel. Nuanced, humorous illustrations. (5-7)

The story featured a family going on vacation and walked readers through the process of what happens at the airport. Stefano liked the subplot with the monkey doll, while I thought it was great to read before taking children on an airplane, as the steps of the journey were explained and shown. It helped to create a conversation about what to expect while traveling and how things could possibly go wrong. The illustrations went with the story, and were chock full of action and details, while containing a funny subplot as well. Stefano really enjoyed this story and asked for numerous additional readings. Recommended for little and young ones (0-9).

– Stefano, 4 and his Mother, East Hampton, NY
See our past monthly picks.

The Picture Book Re-Imagined

June 17, 2016


We are excited to announce the July 12 opening of The Picture Book Re-Imagined: The Children’s Book Legacy of Pratt Institute and the Bank Street College of Education. The exhibition, curated by Leonard Marcus, features original children’s book artwork, manuscripts, and archival materials highlighting the ongoing legacy of Bank Street and Pratt Institute in shaping children’s literature as an art form.

The exhibition will be on view at the Pratt Manhattan Gallery from July 12 through September 15.

Join us at the Gallery for two fantastic events!

On Thursday, August 4, we will be hosting Library Salon 8! Curator Leonard Marcus will lead an evening gallery talk of the exhibition. Register here to attend.

On Thursday, September 15, there will be a closing reception and Leonard will lead a panel discussion with noted authors, illustrators, and publishers to reflect on what’s new and best in illustrated books for young people while considering the impact of technology, new media, and globalization on this vibrant and rapidly changing art form. Register here to attend.

Bank Street Honors Winners of 2016 Irma Black Award and Cook Prize

June 10, 2016

On May 19th, the Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature devoted a morning to recognizing the finalists and winners of this year’s Irma Black Award and Cook Prize, two awards dedicated to acknowledging outstanding examples of children’s picture books.

The Irma Black Award evaluates children’s books on the basis that the text and illustrations are inseparable, enhancing and building on one another to enrich the story. This year’s honorees included Ragweed’s Farm Dog Handbook by Anne Vittur Kennedy; Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall; You Can Do It, Bert! by Ole Könnecke; and It’s Only Stanley by Jon Agee. The 2016 Irma Black Award went to It’s Only Stanley, drawing attention to its imaginative storyline, which was told in rhyme alongside intricate and comical illustrations.

The Cook Prize honors picture books that represent the best in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) principles. This year’s finalists included Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark, illustrated by April Chu; High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs by Lisa Kahn Schnell, illustrated by Alan Marks; and Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France, by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno. The 2016 Cook Prize went to Mesmerized, a strange yet colorful tale that incorporates playful words and humorous, bold illustrations to explore the scientific method with children.

Scott Magoon, illustrator of the 2013 Irma Black Award winner Big Mean Mike was this year’s keynote. To view Scott’s keynote and the entire awards ceremony, click here.


Irma Black honoree Anne Vittur Kennedy with Cook Prize honorees Laurie Wallmark and Lisa Kahn Schnell

Reprinted from Bank Street News, May 23, 2016.


Children’s Book Committee – June Pick

June 6, 2016


by Mary Murphy
(Walker Books, 2015)

Mix and match the seven wild animals to create new crazy species with silly names. Bold tempura illustrations.

Our Young Reviewer says:

Love this book. Smartly designed. Love the size of the book. Every kid can enjoy…I liked how creative it allows you to be, by putting together different animal combos. Simple idea that really works and I appreciate how an older kid could read the animal combo names and really get a kick out of it. Possibilities are endless.

– Aynav, 3 (and her Mom)

See our past monthly picks.

Celebrate the 2016 Irma Black Award & Cook Prize!

May 16, 2016

Irma Black Award and Cook Prize Ceremony 5_19_2016

Join us at Bank Street on Thursday, May 19 to celebrate the 2016 Irma Black Award and Cook Prize winners and honor books! We are delighted that KidLitTV will once again be livestreaming the ceremony so classrooms near and far can join in the fun!

Scott Magoon, illustrator of the 2013 Irma Black Award winner Big Mean Mike, is this year’s keynote speaker. Mara Rockcliff, Laurie Wallmark, Lisa Schnell, and Anne Vittur Kennedy will all be on hand to celebrate. We are looking forward to a fantastic morning!

Register here to join us in person or watch the fun live at KidLitTV beginning at 9:30am.

For more on this year’s awards, check out ‘Jon Agee and Mara Rockcliff Win Prestigious Bank Street Awards‘ in School Library Journal.

Congratulations to this year’s winners and honor books and many thanks to School Library Journal and KidLitTV for their continued support:)


Children’s Book Committee – May Pick

May 10, 2016


Salt to the Sea
by Ruta Sepetys
(Philomel Books, 2016)

Winter 1945, four teenagers struggle to survive before the Soviets conquer Germany. They board a ship that promises safety, but leads to tragedy. Maps and author’s note included.

Our Young Reviewer says:

Salt to the Sea avoids many of the pitfalls of a stereotypical adventure novel while retaining the elements that make young adult novels engrossing (e.g. action, suspense, and moral and ethical challenges) and while containing interesting historical information. …As the plot progresses, Sepetys avoids many tropes of the young adult genre. For example, only one romance emerges, and it feels authentic. And characters die. Of the nine main and minor characters, only four survive the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. This facet of the book is important not only because it sets the book apart from more simplistic young adult novels, but also because it reinforces the main theme that, as General Tecumseh Sherman said after the Civil War, “war is Hell!”

– Foster, 16, Anchorage, AK

See our past monthly picks.

Adam Gidwitz visits the School for Children as the Dorothy Carter Writer-in-Residence

May 3, 2016

by Rachel Reda and Cindy Weill

Adam Gidwitz, author of A Tale Dark and Grimm (Penguin) and other novels, was this year’s Dorothy Carter Writer-in-Residence at Bank Street School for Children.

From April 6 -14, Adam, a Bank Street alumnus (GS ’08), worked intensively with 9/10s students on their novel writing. Adam guided students in writing, sketching and revising their own stories, encouraging them to pay special attention to sensory details, building suspense and “making the reader care.”




The work culminated in an event in which students presented snippets of their polished stories before a standing-room-only audience of School for Children parents, faculty and staff.

“These kids were some of the most eager, energetic, earnest writers,” Adam said. “ They were so enthusiastic to get back to their writing. Parents concurred with comments and added, “Our son was hooked by Adam Gidwitz from day 1 of his classroom visits and told us about his enthusiasm.  What an amazing transformation he produced in (our son’s) writing this week — more descriptive and engaging than anything he has ever written.  Adam has the gift of inspiration and motivation.”

Adam is the second Dorothy Carter Writer-in-Residence, which honors the life and legacy of Dr. Dorothy Carter, children’s book author, Broadway actress and the first African-American member of the Bank Street College graduate faculty. Cindy Weill, Director of the Center for Children’s Literature said, “I knew Dorothy Carter when she was the Chairwoman of the Bank Street Writers Lab,” a Bank Street workshop for professional authors. “She would have enjoyed watching Adam nurture the writer in every child.”



“Adam has demonstrated how to be a passionate, engaged and excited teacher,” said Greg David, 9/10s teacher in the School for Children. “We try to do that every day, but Adam did it in a fresh way that was really inspiring.”

Coincidentally, Adam and 9/10s teacher, Becky Eisenberg have known each other since they were both students at a progressive high school in Baltimore.




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