Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Picture Book Nominees.

The nominees in the picture book category of the Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award were announced this week! While colleagues out of state may be scratching their heads, this is definitely something school librarians throughout Maryland look forward to. 

State book awards are as unique as the state awarding them, as is the process for selecting the titles. The Black-Eyed Susan Award has been given to authors each year since 1992 and the award recognizes outstanding literature for children in the categories of Picture Book, Grades 4-6, Middle School, and High School. Book nominees are selected in each category by committees of active and retired school librarians from throughout the state. The nominees are announced in March for the following year. Winners are student-selected in April of the following year. 

Announcing the nominees now gives us a chance to familiarize ourselves with the books, start planning lessons and activities for the following school year, and earmark money from our book budgets to purchase the nominated titles. 

Personally, I really like scouring the list of nominees to see if an author of a nominated book could visit our school. 

Having said that, I want to share a resource with you I created to help promote the nominated books and save time finding information on author visits for our nominees. Even if you're not from Maryland, booking one of these authors could be a great treat for your students! (...and the list of nominees is pretty fantastic, too!)

Visit my BES Picture Book Author Visits 2012-2013 sqworl for links to the author's school visit information (where available). I've noted where the authors travel from in case it helps you plan your author visit more easily. (I know travel expenses can sometimes make or break our school's decision, but you can always explore alternate means of funding such as grant writing and fundraising.)

2012-2013 Black-Eyed Susan Picture Book Nominees:

Students observe chicks hatching from eggs, but one student's chick isn't quite the same as the rest.
Ms. Knudsen is from Brooklyn, New York. 

Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet

Tony Sarg brought something new to the Macy's Parade that's difficult to ever image the iconic parade being without, 
Ms. Sweet is from Rockport, Maine.

Blackout by John Rocco
When the city loses power and a neighborhood is left in the dark, it doesn't take long for a family to come together to enjoy the most important thing in life.
Mr. Rocco lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj
These cats are ready to let you in on their innermost feline secrets, but only after first making sure your one of them.
Mr. Czekaj lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha Vamos
This building story of a woman who seeks help to prepare the cazuela also introduces readers to lots of Spanish words in a rather ingenious way.
Ms. Vamos lives in the Pacific Northwest.

The Chiru of High Tibet by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
The chiru were nearly hunted to extinction despite living in a remote, unknown location in Tibet. Protecting the breeding grounds of the chiru provided several great challenges for a small band of scientists and conservationists.
Ms. Martin lives in Iowa.

Detective Blue by Steve Metzger
No matter what the nursery rhyme trouble, rest assured that Detective Blue is on the case!
Mr. Metzger lives in New York City, New York.

Duck sneaks out of the barn for a midnight snack, but the Hampire is also on the prowl and is ready to sink his teeth into some tasty morsels.
Ms. Bardhan-Quallen lives in New Jersey.

Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya by Donna Jo Napoli
The work of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Mama Miti has helped to combat deforestation, soil erosion, and environmental degradation in her native Kenya, and it's also given hope to thousands.
Ms. Napoli lives outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Max’s Castle by Kate Banks
Following Max's Words (2006) and Max's Castle (2008), Max and his brothers image a world to life in which kings rule, dragons threaten, and adventure awaits within every word.
Ms. Banks lives in the South of France.

Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell
Jane Goodall's childhood was full of whispers leading to the life she would one day lead.
Mr. McDonnell lives in New Jersey.

Perfect Square by Michael Hall
A perfect square gets ripped, torn, and cut, only to discover it can be more to the world.
Mr. Hall lives in Minnesota.

The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett
A princess and a pig are switched at birth, leading to a ridiculous tale of a girl who grows up to be ordinary and a pig who grows up to be, well...
Mr. Emmett lives in the East Midlands, United Kingdom.

Tornado Slim and the Magic Cowboy Hat by Bryan Langdo
Slim receives a magic cowboy hat from a coyote, and a world of trouble soon follows. 
Mr. Langdo lives in upstate New York.

Tsunami! by Kimiko Kajikawa
An elderly man detects the early signs of disaster and hurries to save the lives of the people in the town along the shoreline.
Ms. Kajikawa lives in New Hope, Pennsylvania.


  1. So thrilled "The Cazuela That The Farm Maiden Stirred" is a nominee. Of all ironies, I grew up on the east coast in Maryland and lived in the MD/ DC metro area for 25 years! Very honored! All best, Samantha Vamos

  2. @samantha I'm thrilled, too! You're a really talented author and I love The Cazuela...! I hope you have great success with this book. Maybe we'll even have an opportunity to welcome you to our east coast school soon. I'll keep an eye on your upcoming author visit dates to see if you're coming near Baltimore/Washington soon.

  3. Hi Matthew. Thank you so much! You are very kind. This note is so nice. I would love to visit. I need to do a LOT of planning to make it work as I have a young child. If I have an opportunity to get back east, I will absolutely contact you. I visited NY & Chicago schools this past fall and spring, respectively, and I loved the visits, but they required a VILLAGE where i live! I need to work on arranging that in order to make future visits. I'm working on it and may try to get back to the east coast when my third book releases (ALPHABET TRUCKS/ Charlesbridge/Fall 2013) - I'd promote both CAZUELA and ALPHABET TRUCKS. Did I ever link Rafael's video that he made for the ALA's YouTube channel? He's really wonderful and this video was a great surprise. It's fun because you see him illustrate:
    I'm at All best, Samantha

    1. Samantha,

      I hope everything has gone so, SO well for you this year! We're nearing the release of Alphabet Trucks which may mean you'll be returning to the east coast! I hope my students will get a chance to meet you soon! Best of luck!

      - Matthew


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