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.