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Each year the Gelett Burgess Center offers our network of educators, librarians, bookstores and parents a glimpse into the magic of children’s books, and the incredible role they play in helping children reach their full potential. The books we select represent a talent pool that is inspired to explore new boundaries in children’s literature. We know this is true because incredible children’s books live and breathe truth, and they are the ones that stay with children throughout their entire lives.


Cherish each and every opportunity you have to share a book with a child, whether it be a friendly recommendation or an impromptu bedtime story. These moments are golden and have the potential to change a child’s path forever.

It is with great pleasure we announce the winners of the Gelett Burgess Center, Book of the Year recipients. Many hours have been spent interviewing readers, reviewing new releases, and sifting through bookshelves in order to find the perfect match for our organization. We recognize the creative energy, outstanding talent, and the collaborative nature of creating children’s books. It is with this understanding we offer our thanks and congratulations to the teams responsible for producing this year’s list of winners.

Book of the Year: The Farmer and The Clown by Marla Frazee

“The book opens in a subdued landscape with the grim farmer, whose displeasure is evident when he’s obliged to rescue the young clown thrown from a passing circus train. At first, the farmer and the clown seem in stark contrast. The young clown is dressed in a red one-piece, with a relentlessly cheerful, painted smile, while the old, bent-over farmer has stark black overalls and an unchanging, glum face. But when it is time to wash up, the farmer sheds his black and white clothes and reveals a red one-piece of his own. The clown’s painted smile is wiped off, revealing that the child’s face is actually sorrowful. The emotional resonance of that single mirroring scene is extraordinary. In fact the entire book, with Frazee’s perfect pacing of images and use of negative space, light and shadow is true poetry.” (New York Times Book Review October 19, 2014)

Honor: The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus by Jen Bryant

“Those who have relied upon a thesaurus . . . will gain a greater appreciation for the reference tool in this beautifully designed picture book biography of its creator, Peter Roget. . . . Busy and exuberant, Sweet’s charming watercolor illustrations, layered over collages of vintage images and fonts, capture Roget’s passion for classification while also providing readers new opportunities for discovery. . . . Expertly researched and well written, Bryant’s narrative not only details the creation of the thesaurus; it also conveys a sense of Roget the man. . . . An excellent illustrated biography.” School Library Journal

Honor: What Do You Do With An Idea?
by Kobi Yamada

This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens. This is a story for anyone, at any age, who s ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult. It s a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space to grow, and to see what happens next. Because your idea isn t going anywhere. In fact, it’s just getting started.

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Summer is a wonderful time to explore your community, spend time together as a family, and discover new books you didn’t have time to read earlier in the year. The Gelett Burgess Center provides our annual list of award-winning titles in an effort to help parents, teachers and librarians navigate the thousands of books published each year, getting to the best books straight away.

Here are some fun resources from this year’s winners

1. Tyler Makes Pancakes – By Tyler Florence

Tyler Florence takes food seriously, and he thinks both you and your children should know where the food you are putting in your mouth come from. That’s why he created the Tyler Makes series where each book explores the ingredients we use to make the food we love. Check out this video with Tyler and award-winning illustrator Craig Fraizer as they discuss the new book series.

2. Eric Delabarre’s Saltwater Taffy

Eric Delabarre has written a swashbuckling children’s adventure story called Saltwater Taffy. First of all, the book makes for perfect summer reading, so get your copy today! In addition, the author is sponsoring an essay contest inspiring kids to get their creative juices flowing with ideas for the sequel! Check out the contest here.

3. Summer is for Discovering Nature

Gelett Burgess Award-winning author John Fusco wrote Little Monk and the Mantis, a beautiful book about a boy, a bug, and the birth of a Kung Fu legend. The stunning illustrations by Patrick Lugo make us wonder just what do you and your kids know about the amazing Praying Mantis? There are many resources about mantids available, but first check out author John Fusco’s video here.

Enjoy your summer!

Your Friends at the Gelett Burgess Center

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The Gelett Burgess Center realizes the incredible role books play in a child’s development, and this is why we devote our time and energy to finding amazing titles each year to share with Librarians, Educators, Bookstores and Parents. The books we select represent a talent pool that is inspired to explore new boundaries in children’s literature. We know this is true because incredible children’s books live and breathe truth, and they are the ones that stay with children throughout their entire lives.

Do you remember the first book that touched you in some way? Recall those memories and let that energy guide you as you share books with the current generation.  Whatever role you play in a child’s life, express your love of books with them any way you can. Continue searching for the children’s titles that touch you, even as an adult, and let those be the titles you share.

It is with great pleasure we announce the winners of the Gelett Burgess Center, Book of the Year recipients. Many hours have been spent interviewing readers, reviewing new releases, and sifting through bookshelves in order to find the perfect match for our organization. We recognize the creative energy, outstanding talent, and the collaborative nature of creating children’s books. It is with this understanding we offer our thanks and congratulations to the teams responsible for producing this year’s list of winners.

First Place: Snutt the Ift: A Small but Significant Chapter in the Life of the Universe by Helen Ward

Taking readers from a desperately lonely place to the soaring heights of wonder and excitement, Snutt the Ift provides unparalleled emotion and depth of character. Helen Ward’s beautiful story is partnered with sensational illustrations that invite readers to discover a strange new world. The Gelett Burgess Center is honored to name this outstanding children’s picture book as our Book of the Year.- view more

Honor: Little Monk and the Mantis: A Bug, A Boy, and the Birth of a Kung Fu Legend by John Fusco

Little Monk and the Mantis invites children to experience the peaceful teachings at the heart of Martial Arts. With careful attention to detail, John Fusco’s passion for eastern philosophy and historical teachings comes shining through in this tale of perseverance and self-discovery. Children will be enthralled by the masterful storytelling and energetic illustrations that transports readers to another time and place. – view more

Honor: Red Knit Cap Girl by Naoko Stoop

With illustrations remarkable in their innovation and simplicity, Naoko Stoop’s Red Knit Cap Girl offers readers an opportunity to open their eyes and marvel at life’s mysteries. Childlike curiosity and sense of adventure are the true protagonists of this story, weaving children though a tale of discovery and natural beauty. Highly recommended for the child who always asks, “why?” – view more


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The Gelett Burgess Center is pleased to announce the selected titles for our 2012 Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award season. Special care and attention was taken this year in selecting titles from a wide spectrum of the publishing community. Librarians, Educators, Bookstores and Parents will find titles published by large multinational publishing conglomerates, as well as rural small presses. It is our deeply felt conviction that a quality children’s book needn’t be created out of fame and fortune, but a love for the creative process.

Please take a moment to view our 2012 selections, and stay tuned for our Book of the Year awards which will be announced July 9th, 2012.

View the 2012 Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award winning titles for 2012 here.

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