By Laurence Pringle;
Illustrated by Meryl Henderson
Astra Young Readers.
An Imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers. 2022
Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children
We have both served on the Sibert Award committee in past years, so we are quite familiar with the award criteria. Based on the books we have read in 2022, here are our favorites for the 2023 Sibert Award.
Here are the history book for children and teens from 2022 that we found to be outstanding. We have linked our reviews below. We continue to review titles published in 2022, so look for upcoming reviews of books from this list.
The moment readers open Blue, they will know this is an extraordinary book. The expository picture book traces the history of the color blue beginning with lapis lazuli (blue rocks) found in Afghanistan circa 4500 B.C. to blue squeezed from snails in Mexico and the middle east. The story doesn't just focus on the origin of the color blue, but it also examines peoples' views of the color and how blue has influenced society. Historically, the color blue has been in high demand for jewelry and luxury clothing and goods. Brew-Hammond explores how growing indigo became a less expensive alternative to rocks and snails and how the crop contributed to the slave trade and the enslavement of people in the U.S.
Readers will pore over the pages featuring Minter's gorgeous acrylic wash illustrations on heavy watercolor paper will make. The intricate illustrations incorporate varied textures, patterns and hues. The book ends on a hopeful note with hands stretched toward the sky with blue a "symbol of possibility." Back matter includes an extensive list of sources, additional facts about the color blue, and an author's note. Blue would make a wonderful gift book for children or adults. It could be read as a text in art class or in a history lesson. The book has won an Orbis Pictus award from NCTE, and I expect it will receive more awards in January.
Attempting to uncover the story of Deborah Sampson proved challenging, says Anderson in her author’s note. “Today, much of Deborah Sampson’s life remains a mystery.” Many details about her story have been lost to history. What she could uncover using primary and secondary sources offers readers an inspirational picture book biography.
Deborah Sampson left her family as a five-year-old. Working to “earn her keep”, the quiet young woman listened to what was being said around her. With the American Revolution percolating, Deborah wanted to be part of it. Rejecting the traditional path of marriage at age 18, Sampson, fueled by the adventures of women warriors throughout history, decided to try disguising herself as a man to join the fight against the British.
This tale of bravery and courage is well-told. Partnered with Lambelet’s beautiful illustrations that reflect the times, will keep listeners glued to every word. Lambelet’s illustrations, created as traditional pencil drawing, and a variety of hand-painted and hand-drawn textures, all of which are combined and colored in Adobe Photoshop, are stunning.
Included is a lengthy author’s note that offers a more detailed background on Deborah Sampson and a bibliography.