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CCB Newsletter

February 2011


In this Newsletter…

February Calendar
New Bibliographies on the CCB Website: Supernatural Read-alikes
Message from Our Director
GA Reviews: New Friends, New Powers, and Old Champions
Highlighted Book from Our Wish List: Generation Digital





Gryphon Awards Announced
After much consideration, We Are in a Book!, written and illustrated by Mo Willems and published by Hyperion Books for Children, has been chosen as the winner of the 2011 Gryphon Award for Children’s Literature. This prize is awarded yearly 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.

Three Gryphon Honors winners also were named:

Bink & Gollie
written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile.

Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade
written by Stephanie Greene and illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson.

The Dancing Pancake
written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff.

For more information about these books, take a look at the annotations on our website, stop by the CCB or visit our new display in the Main Library’s Marshall Gallery, which will be up for the month of February.

Pre-Sale Registration Now Taking Place

Attending our pre-sale is the best time to browse our wide selection of books and make your purchases. To attend, you must make a reservation by either calling the CCB at 217-244-9331 or by e-mailing us at We will accept reservations between February 1st and February 9th. We can only accept 50 people, so call soon! After you receive our confirmation e-mail, please send a $20 (per person) check made payable to the “University of Illinois” and mail to:

Center for Children’s Books
Attn: PreSale
501 E. Daniel St., Rm 24
Champaign, IL 61820

New Newsletter Format
We are trying a new newsletter format and we hope you like it! We have created a header that you may have to approve in your email client in order to see and we have consolidated several sections. If you have comments or questions about this format, contact Miriam at


February Calendar

Friday, Feb 4, 107A English Building, 12-1 pm:
"Comics in the Classroom: Using Comics to Teach the Language Arts in the 1940s and 1950s," Prof. Carol Tilley
Saturday, Feb 5: Keynote for the American History Teachers Collaborative, Prof. Kate McDowell
Thursday, Feb 10, 5-6pm: Youth Literature Book Club
Thursday, Feb 24, 5-7pm:
Story Coach
Sunday, Feb 20, 1-4pm:
Monday, Feb 21-Wednesday, February 23 rd, 10am-6pm:
Tenth Annual Book Sale
Friday, March 4, 7pm:
Gryphon Lecture by Dr. Dipesh Navsaria

Center for Children's Books Calendar

New Bibliographies on the CCB Website

Supernatural Read-alikes for the (Discerning) TV-watching Teenager
Created by CCB Volunteer Jenn Matters, February 2011


Message from Our Director

Happy New Year!

The Center for Children’s Books had a busy fall semester—but then we always seem to! In addition to our regular tasks of supporting classes and guiding patrons, we held our annual Open House, which was delightfully well attended by new and old friends; they seemed to enjoy meeting and greeting as much as they did the cider, doughnuts, and galley giveaway. Our energetic Outreach Coordinator, Miriam Larson, headed up a table to represent the CCB with book-related games and some wonderful clubhouse-y reading nooks made from giant cardboard boxes at the College of Education’s Youth Literature Festival, and she also embarked upon a partnership with Champaign’s TAP in Leadership Academy for young people, which this semester took the form of a library scavenger hunt and some mock award discussion and deliberations. We also began deliberations for the Gryphon Award (see above for the announcement of the winner!).

With the Community Informatics Initiative, we co-hosted a talk by Professor Ruth Nicole Brown on her work with the SOLHOT project for celebrating black girlhood. We also hosted a wonderful cohort of visiting Russian scholars in childhood studies and youth literature, who were attending a symposium at Illinois Wesleyan University directed by Professor Marina Balina, who is a CCB affiliate; plans are in the works for several CCB affiliates to participate in a reciprocal visit to Russia this fall.

We also selected our Gryphon Lecturer for 2011, and we’re very pleased to announce it’s Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, an esteemed GSLIS alumni and practicing pediatrician who is a prominent advocate of early reading both through his practice and his work with the Reach Out and Read program. He will be speaking on the effect of reading on children’s brain development on Friday, March 4, at 7 p.m.—I hope you can make it to hear him.

Other events we’re preparing for this spring include, as always, our huge February book sale, which requires military-precision planning and careful advance preparation by our graduate student employees and volunteers. The revenue from the sale covers the full cost of a graduate assistant for the year, and we also enjoy the chance to see familiar faces (many of whom graduated from GSLIS or even worked in the CCB). This month, the main university library will be housing displays about the Bulletin Blue Ribbons list and the Gryphon Award. We’re also creating a new research poster to represent the CCB alongside the library school’s other research centers at the GSLIS annual Research Showcase event in March. We’ve got faculty publishing like mad and turning up to speak at events ranging from academic conferences on to comics conventions to gatherings of teachers (see our website for current details), and our Youth, Literature, and Culture Research Workshop continues to create connections among scholars in the region and give us a chance to discuss and present exciting new research.

I hope you all are looking forward to a rewarding 2011 too; thank you all for reading and for your support of the Center for Children’s Books.

Deborah Stevenson


GA Reviews: New Friends, New Powers and Old Champions

Here are three books recommended by this month’s Bulletin that the Graduate Assistants have chosen to highlight. To learn about  the Bulletin review journal, visit

Ayanna’s Choice:

Cook, Kristi. Haven. Simon Pulse, 2011. 416p ISBN 978-1-4424-0760-2. $16.99. Gr. 9-12. After her father’s death, Violet is stuck with her work obsessed stepmother who, not soon after the funeral, gives her an ultimatum—stay in Georgia with her grandmother or pick one of the many boarding schools near her step-mom’s new job in New York City. Out of the stack, Winterhaven’s brochure seems to call to her and within a few weeks Violet is starting her first day of classes. Her roommate is great, her classes are cool, but people keep hinting through the day at something that Violet can’t quite figure out. Apparently, the school is for people who have special gifts like astral projection and shape-shifting. To Violet’s dismay, and then delight, she’s surrounded by people just like her. You see, Violet, the smart, exceptionally talented fencer, also has visions of the future. Now she can be normal, right? Wrong. Of course she falls for the mysterious boy with even more mysterious gifts. This new romance leads her to trouble and it’s up to her and her new friends to save the day.

Laurel’s Choice:

Tracy, Kristen. The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter. Delacorte, 2011. 320p. ISBN 978-0-385-90634-0. $18.99. Gr. 4-7. Bessica Lefter is excited by the fresh start and new opportunities middle school will provide, but after a falling out with her best friend, Sylvie, over a bad pixie haircut her hopes are dashed. Bessica must now enter 6th grade without a best friend. Her feelings of isolation are compounded when her much-loved live-in grandma takes off on a six-week road trip with her boyfriend. Bessica must navigate middle school solo, attempting to make new friends, find her place, and avoid the “psycho-bullies”. Bessica’s voice is genuine to the age, which makes for a fun and realistic read.

Miriam’s Choice:

De la Peña, Matt. A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis. Illus. by Kadir Nelson. Penguin, 2011. ISBN 9780803731677. $17.99. 5-8 yrs. (Reviewed in January Bulletin). Joe Louis was an iconic champion for Black America, but the 1938 match with German boxer Max Schmeling made him the hope of all of America – Black and White – because he was up against an opponent from the country where the Nazi regime was gaining power. With lilting alliteration, de la Peña starts us off in “Yankee Stadium, 1938. Packed crowd buzzing and bets bantered back and forth.” Then we flash back to Joe Louis’ childhood and watch him grow from a shy, speechless boy into a determined boxer and hero of Black America. Louis’ rise to fame wasn’t without bumps and among them was a lost match with Schmeling in 1936. But as WWII draws nearer, Louis gets a rematch and delivers victory. Nelson’s textured oil paintings give readers a window into the physicality of this one-on-one sport and also offer historical snapshots of Americans waiting with furrowed brows for their champion to succeed.


Highlighted Book from Our Wish List

Montgomery, Kathryn. Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce, and Childhood in the Age of the Internet . MIT Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0262134781.

For more book selections or to order this one, visit the CCB’s Amazon Wish List.



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The Center for Children's Books | Graduate School of Library and Information Science | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
501 E. Daniel St. | Champaign, IL 61820 | 217-244-9331 |