1989

Author Award Winner

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers  YA Myers, W.
The critically acclaimed story of one young man's tour of duty in Vietnam and a testament to the thousands of young people who lived and died during the war. This generation's most powerful Vietnam story.
Young Adult

Honor Books

A Thief in the Village and Other Stories by James Berry
These kids live in Jamaica, hot and muggy and looking like the typical Caribbean Island inhabitants. But their home was once a British colony. They struggle between two cultures; the relaxed West Indian mannerisms, and the stiff ones the Brits left behind. A must-read for all school children in the US. Young Adult

Anthony Burns: The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave by Virginia Hamilton  j 921 BURNS, A., Ham
Written by a master storyteller and based on historical fact, here is the riveting account of the escape, the recapture, and the sensational 1854 trial of fugitive slave Anthony Burns. "Moving and unforgettable". Ages 9-12

Illustrator Award Winner

Mirandy and Brother Wind , ill. by Jerry Pinkney; text by Patricia McKissack
As a prefatory note explains, this picture book was inspired by a photo of the author's grandparents winning a cakewalk``a dance rooted in Afro-American culture''and her grandfather's boast that, in her dancing, his wife had captured the wind. In the book, Mirandy determines to catch Brother Wind and have him for her partner in the upcoming junior cakewalk. She tries a number of tactics springing from folk wisdom, and finally succeeds in trapping her prey in the barn. At the contest, Mirandy chooses to dance with her friend Ezelbut, with Brother Wind to do her bidding, the two friends win the cakewalk in style. Told in spirited dialect and rendered in lavish, sweeping watercolors, this provides an intriguing look at a time gone by. As a story, however, it proves somewhat disappointing. After the colorful description of cakewalking in the author's note and the anticipation created through Mirandy's own eagerness, the brief and rather static scenes portraying the dance itself are a letdown. Ages 4-8.

Honor Books

Under the Sunday Tree , ill. by Amos Ferguson; text by Eloise Greenfield
"An enthusiastic tour of island life." Ages 4-8

Storm in the Night , ill. by Pat Cummings; text by Mary Stolz  j E STO
While sitting through a fearsome thunderstorm that has put the lights out, Thomas hears a story from Grandfather's boyhood, when Grandfather was afraid of thunderstorms. Ages 4-

1988

Author Award Winner

The Friendship by Mildred L.Taylor j TAY
Four children witness a confrontation between an elderly black man and a white storekeeper in rural Mississippi in the 1930s.
Ages 9-12

Honor Books

An Enchanted Hair Tale by Alexis De Veaux  Ages 4-8

The Tales of Uncle Remus: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit by Julius Lester
Lester's thoughtful preface to his retelling of the Joel Chandler Harris folktales elucidates the problems inherent in a project of this sort, which, unfortunately, this volume does not entirely resolve. Harris's stories are told in the Gullah dialect, often thought difficult by modern readers. In an attempt to preserve the tales, Lester has rewritten them in his own voice, often with references to ``things that are decidedly contemporary, like shopping malls.'' Lester calls such references characteristic of black storytelling and admits they may be jarring. But his retelling is uneven. For example, in the same story the narrator tells us formally, ``Early one morning, even before Sister Moon had put on her negligee, Brer Fox was up and moving around,'' and then says in dialect, ``Brer rabbit was sho' nuf' mad now.'' Harris's Brer Rabbit comes ``pacin' down de roadlippity-clippity, clippity-lippitydez as sassy ez a jay-bird'' while Lester's comes ``strutting along like he owned the world.'' This collection is important as a way of introducing readers to the Harris tales; it also stands alone as a volume of wonderfully funny folktales. For many purists, though, it will not replace the original stories. Pinkney's drawings, both black-and-white and color, nicely combine realistic detail and fancy. All ages. Ages 4-8

Illustrator Award Winner

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: an African Tale by John Steptoe  j E STE
Mufaro has two beautiful daughters. Nyasha is kind and considerate, but Manyara is selfish and spoiled. When the king decides to choose a bride from among "The Most Worthy and Beautiful Daughters in the Land, " both Mufaro's girls travel to the capital city. But only one can be chosen to marry the king.Perfect for introducing variants to the Cinderella story as well as the history, culture, and geography of the African nation of Zimbabwe.
Ages 4-8

Honor Books

What a Morning! The Christmas Story in Black Spirituals , ill. by Ashley Bryan; selected by John Langstaff  j 783.67 WHA
In this picture book, the Christmas story is told in spirituals: ``Mary Had a Baby,'' ``My Lord, What a Morning!'' and ``Go Tell It on the Mountain'' among them, until the baby is born, and ``Behold That Star!'' closes the tale. Bryan's illustrations tie into the African-American theme, showing a black Holy family and multiracial wise men and shepherds. Bold brush strokes line each landscape and every garment; the star of Bethlehem, through the religious prism, reveals colors of rainbow hues. This collection of songs exhibits an intimacy and compassion that give these spirituals a stunning universality. All ages.
Ages 4-8

The Invisible Hunters: A Legend from the Miskito Indians of Nicaragua , ill. by Joe Sam; compiled by Harriet Rohmer, et al  j SPANISH 398.2 ROh
Dramatic and straightforward, this story tells what happens when greed for trader's money overcomes three hunters' duty to their people. Illustrated in collage, brilliantly colored, with a sense of depth and movement. Grades 3-6

1987

Author Award Winner

Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World by Mildred Pitts Walter  j WAL
Ten-year-old Justin can't seem to do anything right. One sister thinks he's a slob, the other says he's lazy, and according to his mom, he's always late. It's no fun being the only boy in the house. Luckily, Grandpa comes to the rescue. He invites Justin to his ranch for the big rodeo and teaches him real "men's work"--mending fences, catching fish, and even handling horses. But his cowboy grandfather also has some unexpected lessons in store--like how to make a prize-winning batch of the best biscuits in the world! Ages 9-12

Honor Books

Lion and the Ostrich Chicks and Other African Folk Tales by Ashley Bryan
Four folktales from different parts of Africa include the title story, in which a clever mongoose outwits a foolish lion while rescuing six ostrich chicks. Young Adult

Which Way Freedom by Joyce Hansen  j HAN
"A strong historical novel about the Civil War." Ages 9-12

Illustrator Award Winner

Half a Moon and One Whole Star , ill. by Jerry Pinkney; text by Crescent Dragonwagon  j E DRA
``Up above the earth so far/Hang half a moon and one whole star/Hang one whole star and half a moon:/Nighttime will be coming soon.'' Half A Moon and One Whole Star is an exceptional children's book: a work of art, both literary and visual. While Susan sleeps in her bed, the poem explores the world beyond: ``Chickens in their hen house, drowsing/Owls and bats are just now rousing. . . . And walking down the street alone/Comes Johnny with his saxophone.'' Pinkney's vibrant watercolors depict a magical nighttime world, an apt reflection of clear, compelling verse. In an age when poetry is read less and less, this accessible, beautiful poem is particularly welcome. Ages 4-8

Honor Books

Lion and the Ostrich Chicks and Other African Folk Tales by Ashley Bryan
Four folktales from different parts of Africa include the title story, in which a clever mongoose outwits a foolish lion while rescuing six ostrich chicks. Young Adult
 

C.L.O.U.D.S. by Pat Cummings
This story describes how a new recruit to heaven's division of cloud making decides to make life beautiful for NYC and for a special girl who actually looks into the sky. Ages 4-8

1986

Author Award Winner

The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton; ill. by Leo and Diane Dillon  j 398.2 HAM (2)
Three winners of multiple honors have created this incomparable book. The Dillons illustrate Hamilton's 24 stories with marvelous pictures alive with the spirit of each: sly humor, mystery, pathos and, most powerfully, the human need for freedom. In the author's introduction and notes, we find information on black history, on the original slave storytellers``voices from the past''that include her own ancestors. The stories are given full effect by Hamilton's use of colloquial language, evoking the artless entertainer relating the exploits of ``Bruh Rabbit'' and other animal tricksters. The reader's emotional response, however, is to the artists' depictions and the author's narrative in ``The People Could Fly.'' They are the slaves from Gulla who, according to legend, escape the master's abuse one day. ``They rose on the air. Say they flew away to Free-dom.''
  Ages 4-8

Honor Books

Junius Over Far by Virginia Hamilton  YA Hamilton, V.   Young Adult

Trouble's Child by Mildred Pitts Walter  Ages 9-12 

Illustrator Award Winner

The Patchwork Quilt , ill. by Jerry Pinkney; text by Valerie Flournoy  j E FLO
Tanya loves listening to her grandmother talk about the quilt she is making from pieces of colorful fabric from the family clothes. When Grandma becomes ill, Tanya decides to finish Grandma's masterpiece with the help of her family. Full color.
Ages 4-8

Honor Book

The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales , ill. by Leo and Diane Dillon; text by Virginia Hamilton j 398.2 HAM (2)
Three winners of multiple honors have created this incomparable book. The Dillons illustrate Hamilton's 24 stories with marvelous pictures alive with the spirit of each: sly humor, mystery, pathos and, most powerfully, the human need for freedom. In the author's introduction and notes, we find information on black history, on the original slave storytellers``voices from the past''that include her own ancestors. The stories are given full effect by Hamilton's use of colloquial language, evoking the artless entertainer relating the exploits of ``Bruh Rabbit'' and other animal tricksters. The reader's emotional response, however, is to the artists' depictions and the author's narrative in ``The People Could Fly.'' They are the slaves from Gulla who, according to legend, escape the master's abuse one day. ``They rose on the air. Say they flew away to Free-dom.'' Ages 4-8

1985

Author Award Winner

Motown and Didi by Walter Dean Myers
Didi dreams of college and her boyfriend Motown dreams of steady work, but first, both must survive in the often brutal present which is Harlem.
Young Adult

Honor Books

Circle of Gold by Candy Dawson Boyd  YA Boyd, C. (2) + j BOY (2)
After the death of Mattie's father, her mother seems to take out her frustrations on Mattie. But Mattie devises a plan to bring her family back together again.
Ages 9-12

A Little Love by Virginia Hamilton Young Adult  

Illustrator Award Winner

No award