Sibert Medal

most distinguished informational book

The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is awarded annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in English during the preceding year. The award is named in honor of Robert F. Sibert, the long-time President of Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc. of Jacksonville, Illinois.

Award Web Site: Sibert Informational Book Medal

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Author: Kevin Noble Maillard
2020 Sibert Medal - Winner

Using illustrations that show the diversity in Native America and spare poetic text that emphasizes fry bread in terms of provenance, this volume tells the story of a post-colonial food that is a shared tradition for Native American families all across the North American continent. Includes a recipe and an extensive author note that delves into the social ways, foodways, and politics of America's 573 recognized tribes.                                                                                                                           

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Author: Jo Ann Allen Boyce
2020 Sibert Medal - Honor

In 1956, one year before federal troops escorted the Little Rock 9 into Central High School, fourteen year old Jo Ann Allen was one of twelve African-American students who broke the color barrier and integrated Clinton High School in Tennessee. At first things went smoothly for the Clinton 12, but then outside agitators interfered, pitting the townspeople against one another. Uneasiness turned into anger, and even the Clinton Twelve themselves wondered if the easier thing to do would be to go back to their old school. Jo Ann--clear-eyed, practical, tolerant, and popular among both black and white students---found herself called on as the spokesperson of the group. But what about just being a regular teen? This is the heartbreaking and relatable story of her four months thrust into the national spotlight and as a trailblazer in history. Based on original research and interviews and featuring backmatter with archival materials and notes from the authors on the co-writing process.                    

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Author: Lori Alexander
2020 Sibert Medal - Honor

For fans of the "Who Was" series, this lively, accessible, and full-color chapter book biography shows how a self-taught scientist was the first to observe the microbial life in and around us. By building his own microscope, Antony van Leeuwenhoek advanced humanity's understanding of our oft-invisible world around us.

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Author: Antoinette Portis
2020 Sibert Medal - Honor

Splashy illustrations and simple text explore water in its many shapes and forms.

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Author: Nikki Grimes
2020 Sibert Medal - Honor

Growing up with a mother suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and a mostly absent father, poet Nikki Grimes found herself terrorized by babysitters, shunted from foster family to foster family, and preyed upon by those she trusted. At the age of six, she poured her pain onto a piece of paper late one night--and discovered the magic and impact of writing. In this memoir in verse that will resonate with young readers and adults alike, Nikki shows how the power of those words helped her conquer the hazards--ordinary and extraordinary--of her life.                                                                                                                           

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Author: Joyce Sidman
2019 Sibert Medal - Winner

Bugs, of all kinds, were considered to be "born of mud" and to be "beasts of the devil." Why would anyone, let alone a girl, want to study and observe them? One of the first naturalists to observe live insects directly, Maria Sibylla Merian was also one of the first to document the metamorphosis of the butterfly. In this visual nonfiction biography, richly illustrated throughout with full-color original paintings by Merian herself, the Newbery Honor-winning author Joyce Sidman paints her own picture of one of the first female entomologists and a woman who flouted convention in the pursuit of knowledge and her passion for insects.

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Author: Catherine Thimmesh
2019 Sibert Medal - Honor

Roughly a thousand years ago, an estimated 23,000 pandas roamed wild and free through their native China. But within the past forty years, more than fifty percent of the panda's already shrinking habitat has been destroyed by humans, leaving the beautiful and beloved giant panda vulnerable to extinction. Despite the seemingly insurmountable odds--poaching, habitat destruction, pollution, human overpopulation, and global climate change--the panda is making a comeback. How? By humans teaching baby pandas how to be wild and stay wild.

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Author: Gail Jarrow
2019 Sibert Medal - Honor

On the night of October 30, 1938, thousands of Americans panicked when they believed that Martians had invaded Earth. What appeared to be breaking news about an alien invasion was in fact a radio drama based on H. G. Wells's War of the Worlds, performed by Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre players. Some listeners became angry once they realized they had been tricked, and the reaction to the broadcast sparked a national discussion about fake news, propaganda, and the role of radio. In this compelling nonfiction chapter book, Gail Jarrow explores the production of the broadcast, the aftermath, and the concept of fake news in the media.

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Author: Don Brown
2019 Sibert Medal - Honor

Starting in 2011, refugees flood out of war-torn Syria in Exodus-like proportions. The surprising flood of victims overwhelms neighboring countries, and chaos follows. Resentment in host nations heightens as disruption and the cost of aid grows. By 2017, many want to turn their backs on the victims. The refugees are the unwanted. Don Brown depicts moments of both heartbreaking horror and hope in the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. Shining a light on the stories of the survivors, The Unwanted is a testament to the courage and resilience of the refugees and a call to action for all those who read.

Author: Traci Sorell
2019 Sibert Medal - Honor

Season by season, Sorell guides readers through a year of a contemporary Cherokee community, incorporating Cherokee vocabulary and syllabary throughout. Otsaliheliga expresses gratitude and reminds readers to celebrate and reflect on life’s blessings and challenges. Lessac’s lively artwork enhances this beautiful celebration of culture, family, community and life.

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Author: Michael Mahin
2019 Sibert Medal - Honor

Carlos Santana loved to listen to his father play el viol n. It was a sound that filled the world with magic and love and feeling and healing--a sound that made angels real. Carlos wanted to make angels real, too. So he started playing music. Carlos tried el clarinete and el viol n, but there were no angels. Then he picked up la guitarra. He took the soul of the Blues, the brains of Jazz, and the energy of Rock and Roll, and added the slow heat of Afro-Cuban drums and the cilantro-scented sway of the music he'd grown up with in Mexico. There were a lot of bands in San Francisco but none of them sounded like this. Had Carlos finally found the music that would make his angels real?

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Author: Larry Dane Brimner
2018 Sibert Medal - Winner

In 1961 on the seventh anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, 13 freedom riders boarded two buses in Washington D.C. bound for New Orleans. The riders were willing to risk their lives to challenge illegal Jim Crow practices on interstate buses and in bus terminals. 

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Author: Jacqueline Briggs Martin
2018 Sibert Medal - Honor

Part biography, part culinary adventure, this vibrant and energetic book captures the essence of the LA street food scene. Graffiti-inspired art and hip-hop flavored text blend food, community and identity into a delicious feast for the eyes and ears that reflects the melting pot of America.

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Author: Jason Chin
2018 Sibert Medal - Honor

Through magnificent panoramic illustrations, meticulously researched diagrams and lucid text, Jason Chin has created a book as grand as the canyon itself. Readers join a father-daughter pair on an imaginary hike through the canyon’s ecological communities, inviting readers to look at this unique natural wonder.

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Author: Shane Burcaw
2018 Sibert Medal - Honor

In this candid book, award-winning writer Burcaw answers ten frequently asked questions about his life with a disability in a humorous and approachable manner. Carr’s brilliant photos of comically-staged scenes, along with family shots and outsized graphics, add to this book’s tone and liveliness.