The Gryphon Award, which includes a $1,000 prize, is given annually by the Center for Children’s Books. This year’s committee was chaired by Deborah Stevenson, director of the Center for Children’s Books, and Kate Quealy-Gainer, assistant editor of the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.
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, and which best exemplifies those qualities that successfully bridge the gap in difficulty between books for reading aloud to children and books for practiced readers. With a core of regular committee members, the award has become a way to contribute to an ongoing conversation about literature for inexperienced readers and to draw attention to the literature that offers, in many different ways, originality, accessibility, and high quality for that audience.
“With exciting visuals and crystal-clear explanations, Island invites young readers into the changing ecology of the Galápagos,” said Stevenson. “This perfect balance of art and text immerses youngsters in the island world and draws their attention to aspects large and small, and readers will be rewarded with both delight and understanding.”
Two Gryphon Honors also were named:
Little Dog Lost (Nancy Paulsen Books), written and illustrated by Monica Carnesi, pairs simple, immediate text with pale, chilly illustrations to tell the riveting true story of poor Dog, who was caught on an ice floe in a river that’s heading out to sea, and the humans who saved him.
Bink and Gollie: Two for One (Candlewick Press), written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile, highlights the endearing partnership of polar-opposite friends Bink and Gollie in this delightful convergence of picture books, graphic novels, and early readers.
The Gryphon Award was established in 2004 as a way to focus attention on transitional reading, "which includes a variety of wonderful books that meet children where they are and encourage them to stretch a little farther at a key stage in their development as readers,” Stevenson 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, 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 Gryphon Fund. Income from the fund supports the annual Gryphon Lecture as well as the Gryphon Award for children's literature.
Gifts may be made to the fund by contacting Diana Stroud in the GSLIS Office of Advancement at 217-244-9577.