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Help Choose the 2017 Irma Black Award and Cook Prize Winners!

January 9, 2017

ibalogoThe Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature (Irma Black Award) goes to an outstanding book for young children–a book in which text and illustrations are inseparable, each enhancing and enlarging on the other to produce a singular whole. The Irma Black Award is unusual in that children are the final judges of the winning book.

If you work with six to eight-year-olds and would like to help choose this year’s Irma Black Award winner and honor books, please fill out a registration form for your class.

Cook Prize_webThe Cook Prize honors the best science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) picture book published for children aged eight to ten. It is the only national children’s choice award honoring a STEM book.

If you work with eight to ten-year-olds and would like to help choose this year’s Cook Prize winner and honor books, please fill out a registration form.

Voting will begin in February 2017!

If you hear a particularly insightful or funny anecdote about an Irma Black or Cook Prize candidate from one of your students, please share it with us.  Contact  We may read it at the awards celebration on May 18th. Note that this event will be live streamed courtesy of KidLit TV for everyone to access.   We will post a URL soon.

Announcing the 2017 Writer-in-Residence — Kat Yeh!

January 4, 2017

The Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature is delighted to announce that this April we will host our third annual Dorothy Carter Writer-in-Residence. Kat Yeh, author of middle grade novel The Truth About Twinkie Pie, will work with the 9/10s classes on creative writing. Kat has presented several times in the School for Children and has also been a panelist at BookFest @ Bank Street. The Truth About Twinkie Pie was the winner of Bank Street’s 2015 Mock Newbery Award.


Kat presenting to School for Children students, Spring 2016

Last year, Adam Gidwitz (GS ‘08), Newbery Honor winner, The  Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog (Penguin 2016)  and  alumni of Bank Street Graduate School of Education, worked with 9/10s students on writing novels.


Adam with the 9/10s, Spring 2016

In 2015 our inaugural Dorothy Carter Writer-in-Residence, Newbery medalist Kwame Alexander, worked with the 9s/10s on poetry.


Kwame with the 9/10s, Spring 2015

The program is named in honor of Dorothy Carter, Bank Street’s first African-American faculty member, writer of highly acclaimed children’s books, Director of the Bank Street Writers Lab, and Broadway actress. We lost Dr. Carter in 2012 but continue to honor her contributions to children’s literature through the Writer-in-Residence program.

Children’s Book Committee – January Pick

January 3, 2017


The Lie Tree
by Frances Hardinge
(Amulet Books/Abrams, 2016)

After the mysterious death of her father, a Victorian-era naturalist, Faith, 14, hopes that a strange fruit-bearing tree will lead her to his murderers. (13-17, mature content)

Our Young Reviewer says:

The Lie Tree has it all: an enthralling plot, realistic characters, effective prose, and a worthy moral create a book that deserves recognition. No work of young-adult fiction or, in this case, historical fiction, is complete without a plot that compels its audience to keep reading. The Lie Tree certainly has such a plot; there are mystery, action-and- adventure, and coming-of- age elements. No element seems forced, and unlike other young adult fantasy novels that mix genres—such as Brandon Sanderson’s second Mistborn series—The Lie Tree weaves its elements together rather than focusing different sections on different elements. That is, the novel is not merely at times a mystery, at times an action-and-adventure story, and at times a coming-of-age story.

In the midst of the story’s creative plot lies Faith, the adolescent protagonist. Faith comes across as genuine: she reacts to her father’s death in a realistic way, makes mistakes that any adolescent investigating a murderous plot would make, and deals with her emotional younger brother in a way that any older sibling can relate to. At the same time, the supporting characters reveal their depth. For example, Faith’s mother, Myrtle, first appears materialistic, status-oriented, and distant. By the end of the novel, she is passionately doing whatever she can to protect her children. In addition, the prose convey the story well. Hardinge’s writing is detailed but not boring. For example, when describing the island that constitutes the novel’s setting, Hardinge writes, “the islands just visible through the mist looked like teeth, Faith decided. Not fine, clean Dover teeth, but jaded, broken teeth, jutting crookedly amid the wash of the choppy gray sea” (1). Hardinge’s prose conveys the important moral that the means matter as much as the end: Faith learns that she cannot lie even for the noble purpose of avenging her father. Thus, The Lie Tree should be a serious contender for this year’s young adult fiction prizes.

– Foster, 17, Anchorage, Alaska
See our past monthly picks.

New Date – Spanish Speaking Author and Illustrator Series Featuring Angela Dominguez

December 7, 2016
The Center for Children’s Literature and the Graduate School of the Bank Street College of Education are proud to announce a new program in Spanish:

Ciclo de Autores e Ilustradores Hispanoparlantes/ Spanish Speaking Authors and Illustrators Series

Conversations with Spanish-speaking children’s book authors and illustrators

Two time Pura Belpré winning author/illustrator Angela Dominguez will speak in Spanish about her children’s books at the Bank Street College Library on Friday, May 19th, 2017 from 5:00-6:30 pm. Dominguez is a native of Mexico City. She is the author and illustrator of numerous works including: Santiago Stays, Marta Big & Small, Knit Together, How Do You Say?/¿Cómo se Dice? and Let’s Go Hugo.

After the event, guests will mingle over refreshments and purchase autographed copies of Angela’s books through the Bank Street Bookstore.

Both native and non-native speakers are welcome to attend!

You may be able to receive field work credit from your institution for attending this function.

Register now ››

For more information about Angela go to:

Friday, May 19th, 2017
5:00-7:00 pm
Bank Street College Library, 5th Floor

Children’s Book Committee – December Pick

December 1, 2016


Weekends with Max and His Dad
by Linda Urban, illustrated by Katie Kath
(HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016)

Third grader Max has humorous neighborhood adventures staying with his recently divorced father in his new apartment. Amusing black-and-white illustrations.

Our Young Reviewer says:

I really liked this book; Max and his Dad have such a cool relationship, like me and my Dad. They have cool spy names that were really funny like “Agent Pepperoni” and “Agent Cheese.” I liked that that they went on secret missions, and I also like that Max was able to be honest with his Dad about not liking football. Even he thought would be mad, which made Max nervous, he was wasn’t, he was actually happy Max told him. I think they are a fun team and their adventures are awesome.

– Chase, 8, Bronx, NY

See our past monthly picks.

Children’s Book Committee – November Pick

November 14, 2016


Longbow Girl
by Linda Davies
(The Chicken House, 2016)

Merry, trained as an archer in a 700-year family tradition, finds a portal to 1537 Wales, where warfare rages for her ancestral lands.

Our Young Reviewer says:

“This book was amazing! Although the beginning was a little slow, the rest of the book was action packed and exciting. I loved how Linda Davies mixed modern Wales with 16th century Wales. Along with being funny and inspiring, this book also teaches history in subtle ways. I also really liked how the author told Longbow Girl from different perspectives, which informed readers of the plot things that made the story even more interesting.”

– Reese, 12, Longmont, Colorado

See our past monthly picks.

BookFest @ Bank Street 2016

November 3, 2016

BookFest 2016 was celebrated on October 22nd for the 7th year at Bank Street College of Education and the 45th year in its history!

The day consisted of three panel discussions shaped around the theme of visual literacy.

Panel 1: Reading with Pictures: Visual Literacy Yesterday and Today moderated by children’s literature scholar, Leonard Marcus. Panelists included: Lindsey Wyckoff, Archivist, Bank Street College of Education; Rudy Gutierrez, Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey; Françoise Mouly, Publisher of Toon Books and Art Editor, The New Yorker; and Raúl Colón, Draw!.

Panel 2: Artists and Illustrators Talk Visual Literacy moderated by Dr. Susannah Richards, Eastern CT State University. Panelists included: Hervé Tullet, Let’s Play!; Angela Dominguez, Mango, Abuela and Me; Laurent Linn, Draw the Line; Jason Chin, Gravity; Brian Pinkney, Max Found Two Sticks; and Christopher Myers, My Pen.

Panel 3: Capturing the Action: Graphic Novels and Visual Literacy moderated by Jesse Karp, Pratt Institute. Panelists included: Jorge Aguirre, Dragons Beware!; Deb Lucke, The Lunch Witch; George O’Connor, the Olympians series; and Raúl Gonzalez, Lowriders in Space.

Megan Dowd Lambert, author of Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake up Storytime and Get Kids Talking about What They See (Charlesbridge 2015), spoke about her pioneering “The Whole Book Approach” method for reading to children.

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In the afternoon, participants attended book discussion sessions. Topics ranged from bilingual books with social justice themes to books by keynote speaker, Pam Muñoz Ryan.


Finally, keynote speaker Pam Muñoz Ryan, Newbery honoree for Echo (Scholastic 2015), spoke about her career as an author and the significant role of children’s literature in her life both professionally and personally.


KidLit TV added to the excitement at BookFest by livestreaming the event. The archived version is available here.

KidLit’s Rocco Staino, interviewed the day’s authors and illustrators which added to the festive atmosphere.

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During the day, participants networked, browsed books, caught up with old friends and chatted with the authors/illustrators.

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Throughout the day, authors signed copies of their books.


A drawing was held at the end of the day. Director of Library Services Kristin Freda selected the winner with an assist from Director of the Center for Children’s Literature Cynthia Weill. First prize was two tickets to next year’s BookFest!

To read more about BookFest @ Bank Street 2016 go to:

Finally, a special thank you to all the sponsors of BookFest @ Bank Street 2016! These sponsors were: Abrams, Candlewick, Charlesbridge, Chronicle Books, Cinco Puntos Press, Club Leo/Scholastic, Creston Books, Epic!, Hard Ball Press, Holiday House, KidLit TV, Little Brown and Company Books for Young Readers, Macmillan, Peachtree, Penguin Random House, Scholastic and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing.

Photographs courtesy of Cheryl Simon and Kristen Vallejo.

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