I’m doing somersaults of joy that my book Mountain Chef, has been named the Carter G. Woodson Award winner at the elementary school level by the National Council of Social Studies. The award is intended to highlight books that depict the real lived experience of ethnic and racial minorities in the United States.
The two Carter G. Woodson Award Elementary Honor Books are some of my favorite books of the year, too. They are:
The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial by Susan E. Goodman, illustrated by E. B. Lewis. This wonderful book is about a lawsuit that didn’t work. It’s a great story of how progress does not come at an unbroken pace.
Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness by Donna Janell Bowman, illustrated by Daniel Minter. This book tells the story of an African American performer and the horse he taught to do amazing tricks. Along the way, it’s also a story about human treatment of animals.
I’m thrilled that social studies teachers advocate using nonfiction picture books to give their students mirrors and windows, helping them see themselves in US history but also recognizing the amazing diversity of our national past.
The National Council for Social Studies also gave awards to books for secondary students. Here, they honored an array of types of nonfiction books. The winner for the Carter G. Woodson Award for secondary schools was the March trilogy by John Lewis (which may make this the most widely honored book of the year.) It’s exciting to see more great additions to the nonfiction graphic novels available for kids and to imagine them in secondary classrooms.
The Secondary Honor books are:
This Land is Our Land: A History of American Immigration by Linda Barrett Osborne. I loved this book’s sweeping scope and its careful examination of the way our national attitude toward immigration has shifted over time. A smart argumentative book.
Answering the Cry for Freedom by Gretchen Woelfle and R. Gregory Christie. How did I miss this book? I’m apparently not the only one since my library doesn’t have it in its collection either. I’ve submitted a purchase suggestion to the library–a great way to support authors even if you can’t afford to buy all the books you’d like to.