Check Out Charlotte — Another Award!


In the wake of ALA’s announcement of the Youth Media Award winners comes another important if only slightly lesser known award, The Charlotte Zolotow Award.  Similar to the Caldecott, the Charlotte Zolotow Award is given annually to the author of the best picture book text published in the previous year.  It was established in 1998 as an honor to a respected children’s book editor of whom the award is named for.    Just like the Caldecott the selection committee is comprised of children’s literature experts selected by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Each year a winner is announced in January along with five Honor books and ten Highly Commended titles.  You will certainly recognize some titles as honored by other awards but some titles are exclusive to the Charlotte Zolotow Award making it an alternate resource for great picture books.  Reviews of each title can be viewed on



Drum Dream Girl Winner
Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music
By: Margarita Engle; Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Follows a girl in the 1920s as she strives to become a drummer, despite being continually reminded that only boys play the drums, and that there has never been a female drummer in Cuba.  Includes note about Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, who inspired the story, and Anacaona, the all-girl dance band she formed with her sisters.

When Otis Courted Mama Honor Books:
When Otis courted Mama
By: Kathi Appelt; Illustrated by Jill McElmurry

While his life seems perfectly good as it is, Cardell, a young coyote, learns to tolerate–and even like–the coyote that is courting his mother.

The New Small Person The New Small Person
By: Lauren Child

Feeling jealous when a new sibling arrives, little Elmore Green becomes frustrated when the “small person” knocks over his things and licks his jelly bean collection until a special night when their relationship changes.

Last Stop on Market Street Last Stop on Market Street
By: Matt de la Pena: Illustrated by Christian Robinson

A young boy rides the bus across town with his grandmother and learns to appreciate the beauty in everyday things.

Hoot Owl Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise
By: Sean Taylor; Illustrated by Jean Jullien

Presents the story of an owlish master of disguise who dons creative costumes during nightly hunts for a tasty supper.

Finding Winnie Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear
By: Lindsay Mattick; Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

A woman tells her young son the true story of how his great-great-grandfather, Captain Harry Colebourn, rescued and learned to love a bear cub in 1914 as he was on his way to take care of soldiers’ horses during World War I, and the bear became the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh.

Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook Highly Commended

Ragweed’s Farm Dog Handbook
By: Anne Vittur Kennedy

Farm dog Ragweed offers his handy tips for becoming the best farm dog ever.

Goodnight Good Dog Goodnight, GoodDog
By: Mary Lyn Ray; Illustrated by Rebecca Malone

“For one restless pup the waking world is too full of wonder to leave behind at bedtime, until he closes his eyes and finds comfort in his dreams.”

Poem in Your Pocket A Poem In Your Pocket
By: Margaret McNamara; Illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Elinor is used to doing very well in school, but as Poem in Your Pocket Day approaches, bringing an opportunity to meet a real poet, her struggle to write the perfect poem causes Elinor’s confidence to falter, despite Mr. Tiffin’s guidance and reassurance.

When Sophie's Feelings are Really Really Hurt When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt
By: Molly Bang

Sophie is hurt when the other children laugh at her painting of her favorite tree–but when she explains her painting everybody understands what she was trying to do.

Mama's Nightingale Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation
By: Edwidge Danticat; Illustrated by Leslie Staub

When Saya’s mother is sent to jail as an illegal immigrant, she sends her daughter a cassette tape with a song and a bedtime story, which inspires Saya to write a story of her own–one that just might bring her mother home.

Waiting Waiting
By: Kevin Henkes

An owl, puppy, bear, bunny, and pig wait for marvelous things to happen.

Miss Hazeltine's Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats
By: Alicia Potter; Illustrated by Birgitta Sif

“Miss Hazeltine opens her home to cats who need help learning how to be brave, and their new skills are put to use when she finds herself in a bind.

How the Sun Got to Coco's House How the Sun Got to Coco’s House
By: Bob Graham

Describes the journey of the sun as reflected in a whale’s eye, over a frozen forest, on an airplane’s wing, and eventually through a little girl’s window.

Water is Water Water is Water
By: Miranda Paul; Illustrated by Jason Chin

“A spare, poetic picture book exploring the different phases of the water cycle in surprising and engaging ways.”

Maya's Blanket Maya’s Blanket
By: Monica Brown; Illustrated by David Diaz

“When a little girl’s cherished baby blanket becomes old and worn, it is made into a dress, and over the years it is made into even smaller and smaller items, eventually ending up as a bookmark and inspiring the creation of a book.”

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