The E.B. White Read Aloud Award winners were announced at BEA last week. Elise Broach's Masterpiece won for older readers. I have to confess that I haven't read that one yet ( know, I know), but I do intend to. I've heard great things about it. Still, I was extra-delighted to hear that Bonny Becker's A Visitor for Bear won the 2009 award for picture books. I'm glad about this partly because I'm happy for Bonny, of course, but also because this makes me look like I have some idea of what I'm talking about. Here's what I said about the book when I reviewed it last year:
All of the above are excellent attributes of this book. But what really made me LOVE the book is the tremendous read-aloud potential. By the second page I was reading aloud to myself in an empty house. The use of repetition, the presence of informal asides, and the varying font sizes to indicate emphasis all contribute to what is nothing less than a compulsion to read this book out loud. I frequently read picture books by myself, but this one ... I really wanted to have a child handy to read it to. I already have a voice going, surprised and laughing at the same time, for the repeated refrain "there was the mouse!". I can't read the book without saying that phrase out loud. This is one that I'll be hanging on to, so that I can read it with any young visitors. And it's going on my list of staples for baby/birthday gifts.
It's nice to be in agreement with the Association of Booksellers for Children on this one. Here is the full press release, from Michele Kophs:
Award Winning Author, Bonny Becker,
Receives the 2009 E.B. White Read-Aloud Award
for Her Picture Book A Visitor for Bear
The Association of Booksellers for Children announced the award May 29, 2009.
Seattle, WA—June 3, 2009—“A Visitor for Bear” by Bonny Becker and illustrated by Kady McDonald Denton, has won the 2009 E.B. White Read-Aloud Award. The award, given by the Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC), honors the year’s best picture book for reading aloud.
“A Visitor for Bear” was selected from a list of nominations gathered from ABC booksellers. ABC booksellers voted online to determine the winners. Books are nominated for their universal appeal as “terrific” books to read aloud. The winners were announced live, May 29, at this year’s BookExpo America in New York.
“A Visitor for Bear” also won a ForeWord Award at BookExpo America. ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Awards were established to bring increased attention to the achievements of independent publishers and their authors. Readers, librarians, and booksellers together select their top categories as well as choose the winning titles. Their decisions are based on editorial excellence, professional production, originality of the narrative, author credentials relative to the book, and the value the book adds to its genre.
This has been an outstanding year for “A Visitor for Bear.” The New York Times bestseller, has also received the Golden Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, is a selection for Oprah’s recommended books for children and was named Amazon’s 2008 Picture Book of the Year.
“A Visitor for Bear” tells the funny story of a rather grumpy Bear who just wants to be left alone and an exuberant Mouse who keeps popping up in unexpected places until an unlikely friendship develops.
At least four more Mouse and Bear books, published by Candlewick Press, are in the works, including “A Birthday for Bear” which comes out Sept. 8, 2009.
ABOUT – Bonny Becker
Bonny Becker is the author of 12 children’s books including picture books and novels. Her latest book, A Visitor for Bear is a New York Times Bestseller, Amazon’s 2008 Picture Book of the Year and a recommended book for Oprah’s Children’s Book Club. Watch for Bonny’s new book The Magical Ms. Plum which comes out Sept. 8, 2009. She’s an instructor for the Whidbey Writers MFA in Writing program and a freelance editor.