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The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is awarded annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year. The award is named in honor of Robert F. Sibert, the long-time President of Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc. of Jacksonville, Illinois.
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies by
Call Number: JB MER SID
Publication Date: 2018-02-20
2019 Winner. Bugs, of all kinds, were considered to be “born of mud” and to be “beasts of the devil.” Why would anyone, let alone a girl, want to study and observe them? One of the first naturalists to observe live insects directly, Maria Sibylla Merian was also one of the first to document the metamorphosis of the butterfly. In this visual nonfiction biography, richly illustrated throughout with full-color original paintings by Merian herself, the Newbery Honor–winning author Joyce Sidman paints her own picture of one of the first female entomologists and a woman who flouted convention in the pursuit of knowledge and her passion for insects.
Twelve Days in May by
Call Number: J 323.1196 BRI
Publication Date: 2017-10-24
2018 Winner. On May 4, 1961, a group of thirteen black and white civil rights activists launched the Freedom Ride, aiming to challenge the practice of segregation on buses and at bus terminal facilities in the South. The Ride would last twelve days. Despite the fact that segregation on buses crossing state lines was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1946, and segregation in interstate transportation facilities was ruled unconstitutional in 1960, these rulings were routinely ignored in the South. The thirteen Freedom Riders intended to test the laws and draw attention to the lack of enforcement with their peaceful protest. As the Riders traveled deeper into the South, they encountered increasing violence and opposition. Noted civil rights author Larry Dane Brimner relies on archival documents and rarely seen images to tell the riveting story of the little-known first days of the Freedom Ride.
March Book Three by
Call Number: G 328.7309 LEW V. 3
Publication Date: 2016-08-02
2017 Award Winner. Welcome to the stunning conclusion of the award-winning and best-selling MARCH trilogy. Congressman John Lewis, an American icon and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, joins co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell to bring the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today's world.
Funny Bones by
Call Number: J 769.92 TON
Publication Date: 2015-08-25
2016 Winner. A picture book biography of José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852–1913). In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he first drew political cartoons, much to the amusement of the local population but not the politicians. He continued to draw cartoons throughout much of his life, but he is best known today for his calavera drawings. They have become synonymous with Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival. Juxtaposing his own art with that of Lupe’s, author Duncan Tonatiuh brings to light the remarkable life and work of a man whose art is beloved by many but whose name has remained in obscurity.
The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by
Call Number: J 409.2 BRY
Publication Date: 2014-09-15
2015 Winner. For shy young Peter Mark Roget, books were the best companions -- and it wasn’t long before Peter began writing his own book. But he didn’t write stories; he wrote lists. Peter took his love for words and turned it to organizing ideas and finding exactly the right word to express just what he thought. His lists grew and grew, eventually turning into one of the most important reference books of all time.
Parrots Over Puerto Rico by
Call Number: J 598.7109 ROT
Publication Date: 2013-10-20
2014 Winner. Above the treetops of Puerto Rico flies a flock of parrots as green as their island home...These are Puerto Rican parrots. They lived on this island for millions of years, and then they nearly vanished from the earth forever. Puerto Rican parrots, once abundant, came perilously close to extinction in the 1960s due to centuries of foreign exploration and occupation, development, and habitat destruction. In this compelling book, Roth and Trumbore recount the efforts of the scientists of the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program to save the parrots and ensure their future. Woven into the parrots’ story is a brief history of Puerto Rico itself, from before the first human settlers to the present day.
Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by
Call Number: J 623.4511 SHE
Publication Date: 2012-09-04
2013 Winner. In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world's most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.
Balloons over Broadway by
Call Number: J 791.5309 SWE
Publication Date: 2011-11-01
2012 Winner. Everyone’s a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day, when young and old rise early to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Who first invented these "upside-down puppets"? Meet Tony Sarg, puppeteer extraordinaire! In brilliant collage illustrations, Caldecott Honor artist Melissa Sweet tells the story of the puppeteer Tony Sarg, capturing his genius, his dedication, his zest for play, and his long-lasting gift to America—the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy’s Parade.
Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot by
Call Number: J 639.9787 MON
Publication Date: 2010-05-24
2011 Winner. On remote Codfish Island off the southern coast of New Zealand live the last ninety-one kakapo parrots on earth. These trusting, flightless, and beautiful birds—the largest and most unusual parrots on earth—have suffered devastating population loss. Now, on an island refuge with the last of the species, New Zealand’s National Kakapo Recovery Team is working to restore the kakapo population. With the help of fourteen humans who share a single hut and a passion for saving these odd ground-dwelling birds, the kakapo are making a comeback in New Zealand.
Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by
Call Number: J 629.45 STO
Publication Date: 2009-02-24
2010 Winner. What does it take to be an astronaut? Excellence at flying, courage, intelligence, resistance to stress, top physical shape — any checklist would include these. But when America created NASA in 1958, there was another unspoken rule: you had to be a man. Here is the tale of thirteen women who proved that they were not only as tough as the toughest man but also brave enough to challenge the government. They were blocked by prejudice, jealousy, and the scrawled note of one of the most powerful men in Washington. But even though the Mercury 13 women did not make it into space, they did not lose, for their example empowered young women to take their place in the sky, piloting jets and commanding space capsules.
We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by
Call Number: J 796.357 NEL
Publication Date: 2008-01-08
2009 Winner. Using an "Everyman" player as his narrator, Kadir Nelson tells the story of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through the decline after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947. Illustrations from oil paintings by the author.
The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by
Call Number: YAG B SIS SIS
Publication Date: 2007-08-21
2008 Winner. I was born at the beginning of it all, on the Red side—the Communist side—of the Iron Curtain.” Through annotated illustrations, journals, maps, and dreamscapes, Peter Sís shows what life was like for a child who loved to draw, proudly wore the red scarf of a Young Pioneer, stood guard at the giant statue of Stalin, and believed whatever he was told to believe. But adolescence brought questions. Cracks began to appear in the Iron Curtain, and news from the West slowly filtered into the country. Sís learned about beat poetry, rock ’n’ roll, blue jeans, and Coca-Cola. He let his hair grow long, secretly read banned books, and joined a rock band. Then came the Prague Spring of 1968, and for a teenager who wanted to see the world and meet the Beatles, this was a magical time. It was short-lived, however, brought to a sudden and brutal end by the Soviet-led invasion. But this brief flowering had provided a glimpse of new possibilities—creativity could be discouraged but not easily killed.
Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by
Call Number: J 629.454 THI
Publication Date: 2006-06-26
2007 Winner. Here is a rare perspective on a story we only thought we knew. For Apollo 11, the first moon landing, is a story that belongs to many, not just the few and famous. It belongs to the seamstress who put together twenty-two layers of fabric for each space suit. To the engineers who created a special heat shield to protect the capsule during its fiery reentry. It belongs to the flight directors, camera designers, software experts, suit testers, telescope crew, aerospace technicians, photo developers, engineers, and navigators. Gathering direct quotes from some of these folks who worked behind the scenes, Catherine Thimmesh reveals their very human worries and concerns. Culling NASA transcripts, national archives, and stunning NASA photos from Apollo 11, she captures not only the sheer magnitude of this feat but also the dedication, ingenuity, and perseverance of the greatest team ever—the team that worked to first put man on that great gray rock in the sky.
Secrets of a Civil War Submarine by
Call Number: J 973.757 WAL
Publication Date: 2005-01-01
2006 Winner. For more than one hundred years, a submarine lay buried beneath the ocean floor near Charleston, South Carolina. This Civil War stealth weapon–the H. L. Hunley–made history in 1864 as the first submarine ever to sink an enemy ship. But something went wrong during that daring mission. The Hunley never returned to port. Despite decades of searching, the Hunley remained unfound. In 1995 her story took a startling turn. As she had during the Civil War, the Hunley once again made newspaper headlines. How the submarine came to be on the ocean floor, how she came to leave it, and what happened next make up one of the most compelling stories in the history of archaeology and the history of the Civil War–an amazing tale of bravery, mystery, bones, and gold.
The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights by
Call Number: JB AND FRE
Publication Date: 2004-05-25
2005 Winner. "A voice like yours," celebrated conductor Arturo Toscanini told contralto Marian Anderson, "is heard once in a hundred years." This insightful account of the great African American vocalist considers her life and musical career in the context of the history of civil rights in this country. Drawing on Anderson's own writings and other contemporary accounts, Russell Freedman shows readers a singer pursuing her art despite the social constraints that limited the careers of black performers in the 1920s and 1930s. Though not a crusader or a spokesperson by nature, Marian Anderson came to stand for all black artists -- and for all Americans of color -- when, with the help of such prominent figures as Eleanor Roosevelt, she gave her landmark 1939 performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, which signaled the end of segregation in the arts.Carefully researched, expertly told, and profusely illustrated with contemporary photographs, this Newbery Honor and Sibert Medal-winning book is a moving account of the life of a talented and determined artist who left her mark on musical and social history. Through her story, Newbery Medal-winning author Russell Freedman, one of today's leading authors of nonfiction for young readers, illuminates the social and political climate of the day and an important chapter in American history. Notes, bibliography, discography, index.
An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by
Call Number: J 614.541 MUR
Publication Date: 2003-06-23
2004 Winner. 1793, Philadelphia. The nation's capital and the largest city in North America is devastated by an apparently incurable disease, cause unknown...Jim Murphy describes the illness known as yellow fever and the toll it took on the city's residents, relating the epidemic to the major social and political events of the day and to 18th-century medical beliefs and practices. Drawing on first-hand accounts, Murphy spotlights the heroic role of Philadelphia's free blacks in combating the disease, and the Constitutional crisis that President Washington faced when he was forced to leave the city--and all his papers--while escaping the deadly contagion. The search for the fever's causes and cure, not found for more than a century afterward, provides a suspenseful counterpoint to this riveting true story of a city under siege.
The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler by
Call Number: JB HIT GIB
Publication Date: 2002-04-22
2003 Winner. Many people believe Hitler was the personification of evil. In this Sibert Medal-winning biography, James Cross Giblin penetrates this façade and presents a picture of a complex person—at once a brilliant, influential politician and a deeply disturbed man.In a straightforward and nonsensational manner, the author explores the forces that shaped the man as well as the social conditions that furthered his rapid rise to power. Against a background of crucial historical events, Giblin traces the arc of Hitler’s life from 1889 to 1945: his childhood, his years as a frustrated artist in Vienna, his extraordinary rise as dictator of Germany, his final days in an embattled bunker under Berlin. Powerful archival images provide a haunting visual accompaniment to this clear and compelling account of a life that left an ineradicable mark on our world. Author’s note, bibliography, index.
Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850 by
Call Number: J 941.5081 BAR
Publication Date: 2005-05-02
2002 Winner. In 1845, a disaster struck Ireland. Overnight, a mysterious blight attacked the potato crops, turning the potatoes black and destroying the only real food of nearly six million people. Over the next five years, the blight attacked again and again. These years are known today as the Great Irish Famine, a time when one million people died from starvation and disease and two million more fled their homeland. Black Potatoes is the compelling story of men, women, and children who defied landlords and searched empty fields for scraps of harvested vegetables and edible weeds to eat, who walked several miles each day to hard-labor jobs for meager wages and to reach soup kitchens, and who committed crimes just to be sent to jail, where they were assured of a meal. It’s the story of children and adults who suffered from starvation, disease, and the loss of family and friends, as well as those who died. Illustrated with black and white engravings, it’s also the story of the heroes among the Irish people and how they held on to hope.
Sir Walter Ralegh and the Quest for el Dorado by
Call Number: HIST 942.055 ARO
Publication Date: 2000-04-17
2001 Winner. In this extraordinarily well researched and insightful biography, Marc Aronson explores the amazing accomplishments and dismal failures of one of the most flamboyant figures of the Elizabethan age. Best remembered for laying his coat in a muddy puddle so that Queen Elizabeth I could walk across it, Sir Walter Ralegh committed himself to pleasing his monarch and obtaining power in her court. He heroically risked his life in battle time and again, chasing after glory to win her favor. His notoriously ill-fated quest for the mythological golden city of El Dorado was perhaps his grandest attempt, but it also was his undoing, and Ralegh ultimately paid for his mistakes with his life. Despite his shortcomings, he was not only charismatic and brave, he was brilliant as well, and his contributions to the New World and to western culture as a whole were vast and enduring.