Book An Author
Joanne Mattern is the author of hundreds of nonfiction titles for children. Her favorite subjects are
animals, nature, history, sports, and biographies. She has worked with most of the major educational
publishers and written about almost every topic under the sun! Her favorite things about writing
nonfiction are learning new things and passing along a love of science and history to young readers.
Joanne is available for in-person visits in New York and bordering states. Joanne's presentations
are geared towards ages 5-12 and can do up to 3 presentations per day.
James Bruchac is an award-winning author, Native American storyteller, cultural educator, and
wilderness expert. The eldest son of acclaimed author and storyteller Dr. Joseph Bruchac, James
and his family are citizens of the Nulhegan Abenaki Nation of VT. With his books and public
presentations drawing heavily on both his culture and love of the natural world, for the last
three decades, Mr. Bruchac has traveled across the country and abroad, offering programs for
people of all ages.
James is available for in-person all over the U.S. and virtual visits as well. James presents to
all ages, including adults.
Book Awards You Need to Know
Once Upon A World Children's Book Award (1996-2014)
While ChildrensLit Now generally profiles active book awards, we felt the current continued uptake in
book banning necessitates an awareness of this book award and its award winners.
The Once Upon A World Children's Book Award was presented by the Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of
Tolerance. While in the beginning years there was only one award given, starting in 2008 the award
was awarded to two children's books each year (except for 2013): one for young readers (ages 6-8)
and one for older readers (ages 9-12). According to the Museum of Tolerance website:
"Winning books demonstrated the following:
- Heroic deeds that lead to tolerance and social justice
- Acceptance of social and personal responsibility
- Good communications between people
- A sense of urgency and empowerment of the individual
- The importance of history"
For a complete list of winners from 1996 to 2014, visit Previous Winners (museumoftolerance.com).
Barbed Wired Baseball by Marissa Moss and illustrated by Yuko Shimizu
As a boy, Kenichi "Zeni" Zenimura dreams of playing professional baseball, but everyone tells
him he is too small. Yet he grows up to be a successful player, playing with Babe Ruth and Lou
Gehrig! When the Japanese attacks Pearl Harbor in 1941, Zeni and his family are sent to one of
ten internment camps where more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry are imprisoned without
trials. Zeni brings the game of baseball to the camp, along with a sense of hope. This true
story, set in a Japanese internment camp during World War II, introduces children to a
little-discussed part of American history through Marissa Moss's rich text and Yuko Shimizu's
beautiful illustrations. The book includes author and illustrator notes, archival photographs,
and a bibliography.
Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes
Italy, 1944: Florence is occupied by Nazi forces. The Italian resistance movement has not given
up hope, though — and neither have thirteen-year-old Paolo and his sister, Costanza. As their
mother is pressured into harboring escaping POWs, Paolo and Costanza each find a part to play in
opposing the German forces. Both are desperate to fight the occupation, but what can two
siblings — with only a bicycle to help them — do against a whole army?
Unspoken: A Story From the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole
A young girl's courage is tested in this haunting, wordless story. When a farm girl discovers a
runaway slave hiding in the barn, she is at once startled and frightened. But the stranger's
fearful eyes weigh upon her conscience, and she must make a difficult choice. Will she have the
courage to help him? Unspoken gifts of humanity unite the girl and the runaway as they each face
a journey: one following the North Star, the other following her heart. Henry Cole's unusual and
original rendering of the Underground Railroad speaks directly to our deepest sense of
A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis by Matt de la Peña and illustrated
by Kadir Nelson
On the eve of World War II, African American boxer Joe Louis fought German Max Schmeling in a
bout that had more at stake than just the world heavyweight title; for much of America, their
fight came to represent America's war with Germany. This elegant and powerful picture book
biography centers around the historic fight in which Black and White America were able to put
aside prejudice and come together to celebrate our nation's ideals.
The Blood Lie by Shirley Reva Vernick
September 22, 1928, Massena, New York. Jack Pool's sixteenth birthday. He's been restless
lately, especially during this season of more-times-at-the-synagogue than you can shake a stick
at. If it wasn't Rosh Hashanah, then it was Yom Kippur, and if it wasn't Yom Kippur, it was the
Sabbath. But temple's good for some things. It gives him lots of time to daydream about a
beautiful but inaccessible Gentile girl named Emaline. And if she isn't on his mind, then he's
thinking about his music and imagining himself playing the cello with the New York Philharmonic.
Yup, music is definitely his ticket out of this remote whistle-stop town--he doesn't want to be
stuck here one more minute. But he doesn't realize exactly how stuck he is until Emaline's
little sister Daisy goes missing and he and his family are accused of killing her for a blood
sacrifice. Blood Lie was inspired by a real blood libel that took place when a small girl
disappeared from Massena, New York, in 1928, and an innocent Jewish boy was called a murderer.