CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - "Frogs," written and illustrated by Nic Bishop, has won the 2009 Gryphon Award for Children's Literature.
The Gryphon Award, which includes a $1,000 prize, is given annually by the Center for Children's Books at the University of Illinois. The center is a unit of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science.
The prize is awarded to the author of an outstanding English language work of fiction or non-fiction for which the primary audience is children in kindergarten through fourth grade. Award winners best exemplify "those qualities that successfully bridge the gap in difficulty between books for reading aloud to children and books for practiced readers," said Christine Jenkins, he director of the Center for Children's Books and a GSLIS professor.
According to Jenkins, "Frogs" (Scholastic, January 2008) combines photographs worthy of National Geographic with an information-rich text featuring frogs of all sizes, colors, habitats and habits.
"Bishop's accessible text and brilliant photographs create an engaging book that young readers will return to again and again," Jenkins said.
Two Gryphon Honors winners also were named: "Bad Kitty Gets a Bath," written and illustrated by Nick Bruel; and "Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog," written and illustrated by Mini Grey.
The saga of Bad Kitty's bath is told in a pastiche of text, black and white cartoon illustrations, lists and ironic advice.
"Newly independent readers will enjoy the humor that erupts when the good intentions of responsible pet ownership collide with the reality of a bath-phobic cat," Jenkins said.
"Traction Man" is a "Toy Story"-like tale of imaginative adventure featuring the intrepid action figure Traction Man, his faithful companion Scrubbing Brush, the battery-operated interloper Turbo Dog and assorted household objects both benevolent and fearsome.
"The witty dialogue and description recalls comic book superhero tales, while the action-filled illustrations include many incidental texts, such as product labels and cereal boxes, that are part of the newly literate reader's world."
The Gryphon Award was established in 2004 as a way to focus attention on transitional reading - "an area of literature for youth that, despite its importance to the successful transition of children from new readers to independent lifelong readers, does not receive the critical recognition it deserves," Jenkins said.
The award committee consists of members drawn from the youth services faculty of GSLIS, the editorial staff of the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, local public and school librarians, and the library and education community at large.
The award is sponsored by the Center for Children's Books and funded by the Center for Children's Books Outreach Endowment Fund. Income from the fund supports outreach activities for the books center and the Gryphon Award for children's literature.
Gifts may be made to the fund or by contacting Diana Stroud at the GSLIS Office of Advancement, at 217-244-9577; email@example.com.
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