Robert F. Sibert Informational
Book Award 2001


2001 Medal Winner

Sir Walter Ralegh and the Quest for El Dorado by Marc Aronson YA 921 Sir Walter Ralegh coverRALEGH W., ARO

Author Marc Aronson draws on the events, intrigues, and literature of Elizabethan times to create a richly-layered account of "the first modern man." Ralegh's search for El Dorado both drives the elegantly-structured plot and serves as a unifying allegory.

"Aronson's exemplary scholarship is everywhere evident in text and accompanying matter, including the archival reproductions and the thorough documentation that together explain and extend the narrative. Combined with beautiful bookmaking and eloquent storytelling, this book sets a clear standard of excellence in its presentation of a person in his time," said Sibert Award Committee Chair Susan Faust.



2001 Honor Books


Longitude Prize coverThe Longitude Prize by Joan Dash; illustrated by Dusan Petricic  YA 681.1 DAS
Set in the exciting historical framework of the 18th century, The Longitude Prize chronicles the invention of a seagoing clock by John Harrison and the surrounding scientific, economic, and political activity of 18th-century Great Britain. Dusan Petricic's black-and-white illustrations chart with levity Harrison's drive to solve the longitude problem with his clocks and his struggle to receive recognition for his ultimate achievement. A detailed glossary and concise timeline complement the book's solid bibliography and index.

The original design and strong narrative of this handsome book extend the reader's understanding of the historical context in which one man tenaciously pursued his dream. The author's considered use and mindful interpretation of her many sources make this book a distinguished contribution to children's literature.


Blizzard! The Storm That Changed America by Jim Murphy YA 974.7 MUR 

A gripping tale of the disastrous storm that blasted the Eastern seaboard in March of 1888, this work combines splendid storytelling, faultless research, thorough analysis, and thoughtful design. Lending immediacy are eyewitness accounts and evocative visual material. To underscore the historical context, Murphy highlights changes made in weather forecasting and city design after the blizzard.

"Blizzard does so much so well. Murphy smoothly weaves the experiences of many into a single, gripping narrative. The sepia-toned archival reproductions build drama and enhance the sense of history," said Faust.


My Season with Penguins: An Antarctic Journal by Sophie Webb

YA 974.7 WEB

In deftly illustrated journal entries, author-illustrator Sophie Webb documents her participation in a two-month expedition to Antarctica to study Adelie penguins in 1996. She includes absorbing details of daily life for a scientist in the field as well as the life and behavior of penguins.

This model nature journal combines detailed scientific information with gently humorous descriptions of the trials and joys of doing field work in a harsh, unfamiliar environment. Clear prose and engaging illustrations done in watercolor, gouache, and graphite convey how an ornithologist works and lives in the field.


Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned by Judd Winick 

Cartoonist Judd Winick tells the true story of his friendship with AIDS educator Pedro Zamora in a graphic-novel format. Important lessons are presented in a style friendly to young teens. Learning from the friend he met on MTV's "The Real World," Winick continues Pedro's work even after his death.

"The key to this memoir's success is Winick's skill as a cartoonist as well as his passion for his mission. By using multiple perspectives, he keeps the art interesting and dramatic as the account becomes more and more compelling. This is a tender, often humorous, story, powerfully told in perfect format," says Faust.