New York, NY—March 20, 2021—The Children’s Book Committee (CBC) at Bank Street College of Education is pleased to announce the winners of the Josette Frank Award, the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award for Younger and Older Readers, and the Claudia Lewis Award for Younger and Older Readers. Presented annually, the three awards recognize outstanding works of children’s literature in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Because of the pandemic, the annual awards ceremony at Bank Street’s 112th Street campus has been canceled. Acceptance videos and young people’s reviews will be posted on the CBC Awards webpage at bankstreet.edu/cbc-awards.  See below for more information about the awards and the winning titles.

2021 Winners for Books Published in 2020

The Josette Frank Award honors a fiction book of outstanding literary merit in which children or young people deal in a positive and realistic way with difficulties in their world and grow emotionally and morally.

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed; illustrations by Victoria Jamieson and color by Iman Geddy

With resourcefulness, intelligence, and kindheartedness, two brothers living in a Kenyan refugee camp wait in hope of resettlement in the United States in this graphic novel based on a true story.

The Flora Stieglitz Straus Award is presented to a distinguished work of nonfiction that serves as an inspiration to young people.

            Younger Readers

Lizzie Demands a Seat!: Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights by Beth Anderson; illustrations by E. B. Lewis

In 1854, African American school teacher Elizabeth Jennings challenged the seating on a Whites-only New York streetcar. Bold watercolor illustrations.

            Older Readers

               All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat

An incredible international effort led to the rescue of 12 Thai children and their coach trapped in a flooded cave. Endnotes, bibliography, archival photos.

 The Claudia Lewis Award is given to the best poetry book of the year for young readers.

Younger Readers

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes; illustrations by Gordon C. James

A joyful celebration of Black boys and the wonderful things they are and can be is told in energetic, lyrical language accompanied by boldly colored oil-paint illustrations.

Older Readers

Flooded: Requiem for Johnstown by Ann E. Burg

In lyrical verse, a chorus of six children and other witnesses share their personal stories about the catastrophic collapse of a dam in 1889.

In April, the Children’s Book Committee will release its 2021 edition of The Best Children Books of the Year (for books published in 2020), which contains more than 700 annotated titles divided into age ranges and categories. Published every year for more than a century, the list is designed to guide parents, teachers, and librarians in choosing the highest quality literature for children. The Committee is made up of educators, librarians, authors, illustrators, psychologists, and parents and many books are read and reviewed by young children ages 2–18 from across the country.

The complete list of recommended 2020 titles will be available online at bankstreet.edu/best-childrens-books-of-the-year. Please email bookcom@bankstreet.edu for the print edition.

About Bank Street College of Education

Bank Street College of Education is a recognized leader in early childhood education, teacher and leader preparation, and the development of innovative practice in school systems across the country. For one hundred years, Bank Street’s focus has been improving the education of children and their teachers by applying to the education process all available knowledge about learning and growth, and by connecting teaching and learning meaningfully to the outside world. Learn more about Bank Street’s Children’s Programs, Graduate School of Education, and the Bank Street Education Center at bankstreet.edu.

Back to Top