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Announcing the 2018 Irma Black Award Semi-finalists!

February 15, 2018

Announcing the finalists for this year’s Irma Simonton Black and James Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature.  The 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 judges of the winning book.

Register your classes to vote.

This year’s finalists are:


7 Ate 9: The Untold Story by Tara Lazar; illustrated by Ross MacDonald (Disney Hyperion)


After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again written and illustrated by Dan Santat (Roaring Brook Press)


Sparkle Boy by Lesléa Newman; illustrated by Maria Mola (Lee and Low Books Inc.)


How the Cookie Crumbled: The True (and Not-So-True) Stories of the Invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie written and illustrated by Gilbert Ford (Simon and Schuster)

The winner will be announced at the end of April.  Awards will be presented on May 10, 2018 at Bank Street College.

We love to share the quips and anecdotes students make about the books during the jurying process.  If you have something particularly insightful to share, please send and we may read it during the awards ceremony.  Photographs are also appreciated.

Register your classes to vote.

For information contact

2018 Bank Street Writer-in-Residence Wins Two Prestigious Book Awards!

February 13, 2018
The Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street College is delighted to announce that its 2018 Dorothy Carter Writer-in-Residence, Renée Watson has won the 2018 Coretta Scott King Author Award and a Newbery Honor for her middle grade novel, Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury). This book also won Bank Street College’s Children’s Book Committee’s Josette Frank Award.
Watson is scheduled to work with Becky Eisenberg and Greg David’s 9s/10s classes in April on creative writing.
Each year the Center for Children’s literature at Bank Street hosts a prominent writer to work with the School for Children.  The Writer-in-Residence program is named after long time graduate school faculty member, Dorothy Carter.
Past Writer-in-Residence authors at Bank Street have included Kwame Alexander, Newbery medalist for The Crossover. Adam Gidwitz, Newbery Honor recipient for The Inquisitor’s Tale and Kat Yeh, The Truth About Twinkie Pie, Crystal Kite winner.

2018 Children’s Book Committee Awards

January 25, 2018

The Children’s Book Committee is proud to announce the recipients of its annual awards:



The Josette Frank Award


Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson (Bloomsbury Publishers)



The Claudia Lewis Award


One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes (Bloomsbury Publishers)


The Flora Stieglitz Straus Award


Hawk Mother: The Story of a Red Tailed Hawk Who Hatched Chicks by Kara Hagedorn (Web of Life Publishers)

The recipients will be honored on April 5th from 9:00 – 11:00 in the Tabas Auditorium at Bank Street College of Education.

Cook Prize 2018 Semi-finalists!

January 25, 2018

The Cook Prize  is awarded to the best Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) picture book for 8-10 year olds. The Cook Prize is the only national children’s choice award honoring a STEM title.


This year four titles were chosen to be semi-finalists:


Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-Printed Beak Rescued a Bald Eagle by Deborah Lee Rose & Jane Veltkamp (Persnickety Press)


Grand Canyon Written and illustrated by Jason Chin (Roaring Brook Press)


The Hidden Life of a Toad , Written and photographed by Doug Wechsler


Karl, Get Out of the Garden!: Carolus Linnaeus and the Naming of Everything by Anita Sanchez, illustrated by Catherine Stock (Charlesbridge)


In February, March and early April, third and fourth grade children across the United States and globally will vote for their favorite title.

Register your classes.

The public is invited to an awards ceremony on Thursday, May 10, 2018 in the Tabas Auditorium at Bank Street College. KidLit TV will also live stream the event. A url will be posted a few days prior.


A special thank you to our wonderful judges who so thoughtfully deliberated the merits of many STEM related picture books and chose the final four. The jury is made up of Graduate School and School for Children faculty as well as alumni and staff from the American Museum of Natural History.



Legend: Rebecca Chynsky, alumna Bank Street College; Katherine Enright, School for Children; Daniel Zieger, American Museum of Natural History; Robin Hummel, Bank Street College; Emily Linsay, School for Children; Carmen Colón, Bank Street College.



Teachers and librarians participating with their classes in the Cook Prize are asked to send any insightful comments or anecdotes made by your students to We may read them during the awards ceremony.

Spring 2018 Mini-Conference at Bank Street

January 22, 2018

The Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street is thrilled to announce:

A Celebration of Bilingual Books and Latinx Communities, March 3rd, 9:00 – 1:30 with keynote speaker Duncan Tonatiuh

Interchurch Center, 475 Riverside Drive at W120th and Broadway, 14th Floor, Room 1402

A conference for English and Spanish Speaking librarians, elementary teachers, parents and caregivers who want to grow their repertoire and knowledge of these genres and better serve their communities.


Duncan Tonatiuh_author photo_Miles Vidor

 Duncan Tonatiuh (toh-nah-tee-YOU) is the author-illustrator of Danza! Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México (Abrams 2017) as well as other works. His books have received numerous awards including the Pura Belpré Medal.



Program Schedule

For Adults

Cost: $50.00


9:00 – 9:30

Registration, light breakfast and coffee

9:30 – 9:35


Cynthia Weill, Director, Center for Children’s Literature

Bank Street College of Education

9:35 – 9:45

Opening Remarks

Emma Otheguy, New York University

9:50  – 10:35

Board, Bilingual and Books for Young Children:  What Makes a Good One?

Susie Jaramillo, Little Sunny Sunshine/Sol, Solecito

Cynthia Weill, Animal Talk: Mexican Folk Art Animals in English and   Spanish

Cecilia Ruiz: A Gift from Abuela

Angela Dominguez, How Do You Say?/¿Cómo se dice?

Emma Otheguy, Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad

Moderator: Sujei Lugo, Boston Public Library


10:35 – 11:25

Diverse Voices in Latino Books

Raúl Colón, Miguel y su valiente caballero/Miguel’s Brave Knight

Eric Velasquez,  Schomburg, The Man Who Built the Library

Meg Medina, Burn Baby Burn

Teresa Mlawer, translator

Duncan Tonatiuh, Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de   México

Cecilia Ruiz: A Gift from Abuela

Moderator: Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez, LaGuardia Community College


11:25 – 11:40

Break/Book Signing

11:40 – 12:25 – Multipurpose Room

Book Discussion Sessions

(Attendees are kindly requested to read the books for their group prior to attending the mini-conference.)

12:30 – 1:00

Closing Keynote

Duncan Tonatiuh, Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México

1:00 – 1:25/Multipurpose Room

Autographing Session

Books for sale from the Bank Street Bookstore


For more information contact 

The Center for Children’s Literature would like to thank the following New York City Public librarians who contributed to the development of this conference: Roxana Benavides, Adriana Blancarte-Hayward, Alexandra Gómez, Libbhy Romero, Rachel Payne, Wilma Alvárez, Karen Ginman and Paquita Campoverde

We would also like to thank: Emma Otheguy, author; Mariel López Mota and Concetta Gleason, Scholastic; Shelley Diaz, School Library Journal; Alison Lehner-Quam and Cecilia Espinosa at Lehman College as well as Kristin Freda at Bank Street College for their invaluable input.


Announcing the 2018 Dorothy Carter Writer-in-Residence!

December 13, 2017


The Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street College of Education is thrilled to announce that author Renée Watson will be our 4th annual Dorothy Carter Writer-in-Residence.




Renée will work with the 9/10s classrooms on free verse poetry in April of 2018. She is the author of several novels and picture books for children including Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury) This Side of Home (Random House) and Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills (Random House). She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.  Renée’s bio.

Renée has worked as a writer in residence for over two decades teaching creative writing in schools throughout the United States. She is deeply committed to using the arts to discuss social issues as well as helping youth cope with trauma. Her picture book, A Place Where Hurricanes Happen is based on poetry workshops she facilitated with children in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Last year, Renée created I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts. She launched the #LangstonsLegacy Campaign to raise funds to lease the Harlem brownstone where Langston Hughes lived during the last twenty years of his life. She aims to preserve the legacy of Langston Hughes and build on it by providing programming for emerging writers.

Renée joins a growing list of illustrious writers who have been Dorothy Carter Writer’s-in-Residence at Bank Street.

In 2015 Newbery medalist Kwame Alexander, author of The Crossover inaugurated the program and focused on poetry writing. In 2016 Newbery Honor medalist Adam Gidwitz taught creative writing. Last year, Crystal Kite winner, Kat Yeh , On the Way to BEA focused on short story writing. More information.

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




You can make a donation to the Dorothy Carter Writer-in-Residence program here. 


Tags: Renée Watson, Dorothy Carter, Writer-in-Residence

Elementary School Teachers and Librarians, Make Selection of a Prestigious Bank Street Children’s Book Award Part of Your 2017 – 2018 Academic Year Curriculum

December 5, 2017


Want your students to practice their reasoning, persuasive speaking and to sharpen their visual skills while they participate in the selection of Bank Street’s Center for Children’s Literature’s annual best picture and best science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) book?


First and Second grade classes may participate in selection of The Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature (Irma Black Award). The 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.

Follow the links for more information about the Irma Black Award  and to see a list of 2017 winners.  Registration


Third and Fourth grade classes are invited to jury the Cook Prize 2018.  The Cook Prize honors the best STEM book of the year published for children eight to ten. It is the only national children’s choice award honoring a STEM title. Follow the links for more information about the Cook Prize and a list of 2017 winnersRegistration.

Please share this information with your fellow educators and librarians.  Everyone is invited to participate.

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