No, it’s not the Oscars, or the Emmys, but it IS award season for the most outstanding children’s books published in the previous year!
The Caldecott (for picture book illustration) and Newbery Award (fiction) get most of the attention and hoopla, but there are several awards devoted to outstanding nonfiction and informational books for children.
Looking for an awesome mentor text? Want to read the best of the best? Award lists are a great place to start! Current and past winners are archived on each award’s website so it’s easy to create a Must Read list of titles.
Here are some of the awards given to stellar nonfiction books for children:
ORBIS PICTUS AWARD
Established in 1989 to promote and recognize excellence nonfiction writing for children. The award commemorates Johannes Amos Cormenius and his work Orbis Pictus – the World in Pictures (1658) considered to be the first book written specifically for children.
2020 winner: A PLACE TO LAND: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Speech that Inspired a Nation – Barry Wittensen, author
Jerry Pinkney, illustrator
ROBERT F. SIEBERT INFORMATIONAL BOOK MEDAL
Awarded annually to the author and illustrator for the most distinguished information book published in the United States in English during the preceding year. The award honors Robert F. Siebert, the long-time President of Bound to Stay Bound Books.
2019 winner: THE GIRL WHO DREW BUTTERFLIES: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science – written and illustrated by Joyce Sidman.
AAAS/SUBARA SB&F PRIZE
Celebrates excellence in science writing for children and young adults.
2019 category winners:
Children’s Science Picture Book – IQBAL AND HIS INGENIOUS IDEA: How a Science Project Helps One Family and the Planet – written by Elizabeth Suneby, illustrated by Rebecca Green.
Middle Grade Science Book – IMPACT! Asteroids and the Science of Saving the World by Elizabeth Rusch
Young Adult Science Book – BUILT: The Hidden Stories Behind our Structures by Roma Agrawal
Hands-On Science Book – ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL FOR KIDS: His Life & Inventions with 21 Activities by Mary Kay Carson.
THE BOSTON GLOBE—HORN BOOK AWARDS
2019 winner: THIS PROMISE OF CHANGE: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality – written by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy.
YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) NONFICTION AWARD
2020 Finalists: FREE LUNCH by Rex Ogle
THE GREAT NIJINSKY: God of Dance by Lynn Curlee
A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS: Janusz Korczak, His Orphans, and the Holocaust by Albert Marrin.
A THOUSAND SISTERS: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II by Elizabeth Wein.
TORPEDOED: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of the Children’s Ship by Deborah Helligman.
GIVERNY BOOK AWARD
Annual award given to an outstanding science book for children.
2019 winner: COUNTING ON KATHERINE: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk.
More 2020 award winners will be announced in January! Read the winners and the honor books and throughout the year, take note of your favorite nonfiction books and hold your own “Award ceremony” with your writing buddies. Formal dress not required!
We are nonfiction authors who support readers and writers through our writing, author visits, and workshops.
The Nonfiction Ninjas are a group of writers with diverse ideas and a strong belief in The First Amendment. The views expressed in each post are those of the author and may differ from others in the group.