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Young Reader Award (Ages 6-11)
Ben and the Emancipation Proclamation
Written by Pat Sherman and Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Published by Eerdman Books for Young Readers
Ben, a young slave, uses every chance he gets to teach himself to read, practicing with the words he sees on street signs and in shop windows and even in cast-off newspapers he finds in the gutter. But after the Civil War breaks out, his master leaves town and Ben finds himself in a slave prison. One night, the prisoners bribe a guard to get their hands on a newspaper, and to the applause of his fellow slaves, Ben reads aloud the momentous news of Mr. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation — surely one of the most remarkable readings of that document ever. Based on the true story of Benjamin Holmes, Pat Sherman's stirring text and the memorable illustrations of Coretta Scott King medalist Floyd Cooper pay tribute to the power of freedom — and to the power of the written word.
Older Reader Award (Ages 11+)
Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty
Written by Greg Neri and Illustrated by Randy DuBurke
Published by Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Eleven-year-old Roger is trying to make sense of his classmate Robert "Yummy" Sandifer's death, but first he has to make sense of Yummy's life. Yummy could be as tough as a pit bull sometimes. Other times he was as sweet as the sugary treats he loved to eat. Was Yummy some sort of monster, or just another kid? As Roger searches for the truth, he finds more and more questions. How did Yummy end up in so much trouble? Did he really kill someone? And why do all the answers seem to lead back to a gang—the same gang Roger's older brother belongs to? Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty is a compelling dramatization based on events that occurred in Chicago in 1994. This gritty exploration of youth gang life will force readers to question their own understandings of good and bad, right and wrong.