NCTE Announces the Winners of the 2023 Prestigious Literary Awards  - NCTE

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The National Council of Teachers of English Announces Winners of Prestigious Literary Awards 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 21, 2022
Contact: Lindsay Semph | 920-838-1744
media@ncte.org

November 21 (Anaheim)The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) announced the winners of the 2023 Orbis Pictus Award® for Nonfiction for Children and the Charlotte Huck Award® for Outstanding Fiction for Children, as well as its 2023 Notable Poetry Books and Verse Novels List during an event at the NCTE Annual Convention on November 19, 2022.

The three award committees are appointed by NCTE and composed of teacher experts and authors who select the honorees each year. The awards recognize outstanding literary works expressly created for children. Anyone who reads the award-winning titles can be confident that they are an asset to a library, whether in a classroom, home, or community setting.

All of this year’s NCTE 2023 Orbis Pictus Award® for Nonfiction for Children, Charlotte Huck Award® for Outstanding Fiction for Children, and Notable Poetry Books and Verse Novels winners and honorees encompass the kind of humanity in literature that has driven NCTE for so many years. Each offers opportunities for children to learn and connect with the world in all of its beauty, challenge, and possibility,” said NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick.

Wayward Creatures (Clarion Books), written by Dayna Lorentz, is the winner of the 2023 NCTE Charlotte Huck Award® for Outstanding Fiction for Children.

“I’m honored and thrilled to learn that Wayward Creatures has been selected as the winner of the 2023 Charlotte Huck Award® for Outstanding Fiction for Children! It’s a dream to have this book recognized as having the potential to transform children’s lives ‘by inviting compassion, imagination, and wonder,’ and by an organization of professionals whose job is to do the same. Thank you to the National Council of Teachers of English and all the English teachers spreading the joy of reading to children around the country.” said Lorentz

The Charlotte Huck Award® was established in 2014 to promote and recognize fiction that has the potential to transform children’s lives by inviting compassion, imagination, and wonder. The award honors Dr. Charlotte Huck, a professor at The Ohio State University who devoted her career to promoting the role of children’s books in young people’s academic, social, and emotional development. Each year, the committee selects a winner, up to five honor books, and up to eight recommended titles appropriate for ages three to twelve.

The 2023 Honor Books include Forever Cousins, written by Laurel Goodluck and illustrated by Jonathan Nelson; The Marvellers, written by Dhonielle Clayton; My Brother Is Away, written by Sara Greenwood and illustrated by Luisa Uribe; Zara’s Rules for Record-Breaking Fun, written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Wastana Haikal; and Love, Violet, written by Charlotte Sullivan Wild and illustrated by Charlene Chua.

“When choosing this year’s winner, we felt it was important to show a story of empathy and redemption,” said Donna Bulatowicz, chair of the NCTE Charlotte Huck Award® Committee. “Oftentimes, we judge others on the basis of one mistake and decide that they are a bad person. Wayward Creatures shows that you are more than a label and can repair harm through restorative practices. Rather than just punishing, which tends not to do much for kids other than internalize that they are bad, the book illustrates the way by which children can begin to repair the harm that’s been done, so that they may develop compassion for those they have harmed, as well as themselves.” 

Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers), written by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond and illustrated by Daniel Minter, is the winner of the 2022 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award®.

“Thank you so much for recognizing Blue with the 2023 Orbis Pictus Award, NCTE! It fills me with so much joy to know that more and more children will have access to the global story behind this color that has so much to teach us about humanity,” said Brew-Hammond

The Orbis Pictus Award®, established in 1989, is the oldest children’s book award for nonfiction. It pays homage to John Amos Comenius’s Orbis Pictus—The World in Pictures (1657), considered to be the first book planned for children. Each year, the committee selects a winner, up to five honor books, and up to eight recommended titles ideal for classroom use from K–8.

The 2023 Honor Books include Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement, written by Angela Joy and illustrated by Janelle Washington; Fighting for Yes!: The Story of Disability Rights Activist Judith Heumann, written by Maryann Cocca-Leffler and illustrated by Vivien Mildenberger; Hardcourt: Stories from 75 Years of the National Basketball Association, written by Fred Bowen and illustrated by James E. Ransome; Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams’s Photographs Reveal about the Japanese American Incarceration, written by Elizabeth Partridge and illustrated by Lauren Tamaki; and The Science of Light: Things that Shine, Flash, and Glow, written by Margaret Peot.

“We chose Blue because it was such a unique take on a color book,” chair of the Orbis Pictus Award® committee Sanjuana Rodriguez said. “The book contextualizes the complex and rich history of the color, most of which our committee did not know prior to reading. With so many teachers using picture books, we felt that this book provided a fresh perspective for their classrooms.”

Learn more about the Charlotte Huck Award® and find the list of 2023 Honor and Recommended Books here. Learn more about the Orbis Pictus Award® and find the list of 2023 Honor and Recommended Books here.

During the same event, NCTE unveiled its 2023 list of Notable Poetry Books and Verse Novels, selected by the NCTE Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry Committee. The list can be downloaded here.

“After reading and reviewing hundreds of poetry and verse novel books throughout the year, we are delighted to share this year’s selections for the Notable Poetry and Verse Novels lists, offering a range of poetic forms and perspectives,” said Mary-Kate Sableski, chair of the NCTE Children’s Poetry Awards Committee. “Teachers and librarians seeking books to amplify content area topics will find nonfiction poetry books to generate interest and curiosity. The verse novels tackle difficult topics with sensitivity and grace, making challenging conversations accessible. Across both lists, children are invited to explore and embrace both familiar and future identities for themselves and those in their communities.”

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The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education. As the nation’s oldest organization of preK through graduate school literacy educators, NCTE has a rich history of deriving expertise and advocacy from its members’ professional research, practice, and knowledge. NCTE is the home of the Intellectual Freedom Center, the National Day on Writing®, ReadWriteThink.org, the Build Your Stack® initiative, and NCTE Verse. NCTE supports nearly 20,000 teachers across the preK–college spectrum, with a mailing list of over 500,000, more than 100,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter, and more than 100,000 visitors in web traffic monthly.

For more information, please visit www.ncte.org