On September 20, Cleveland Public Library will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Award with a special reception featuring 2018 winner Melissa Sweet, author and illustrator of Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White. The award, which was established in 1998 and is presented biennially at the Library, is the only prize in the nation that honors biographies written for children. Register now to attend the reception.
Some Writer! (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is an illustrated biography for young readers that explores the life of author E.B. White. Through illustrations, photographs, documents, and White’s own words, Sweet’s book paints a compelling, artfully constructed portrait of a beloved American writer. Sweet completed exhaustive research on White’s life and work, and the resulting biography touches on everything from White’s childhood trips to Maine to his earliest writing efforts, his lifelong love of dogs, his time as a staff writer at The New Yorker, the publication of Stuart Little, the creative evolution of Charlotte’s Web, and much more.
“When I realized this book was too big for a picture book, I decided to make the kind of biography I wanted to read as a kid, which would have been filled with pictures and illustrations and photographs,” Sweet said of Some Writer! “The book became a hybrid. It’s a 176-page picture book biography.”
Some Writer! includes an afterword from Martha White, E.B. White’s granddaughter, and has been widely celebrated by readers and critics alike. The biography received numerous starred reviews, is a New York Times Bestseller, and has been included on a multitude of “best of” book lists. Cleveland Public Library is proud to honor Sweet, who is also a two-time Caldecott Honor recipient, as the 2018 winner of the Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Award. Sweet will receive a prize of $5,000 and will be in attendance at the September 20 award ceremony and reception, where she will participate in a panel discussion about her book and the writing and illustration process.
Additional 2018 honorees include Carole Boston Weatherford for Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library and Duncan Tonatiuah for Danza! Amalia Hernández and Mexico Folkloric Ballet. Weatherford’s book surrounds Arturo Schomburg, who amassed a groundbreaking collection of books, letters, music, and art from Africa and the African diaspora—a collection that eventually evolved into New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Tonatiuah’s book, meanwhile, is the first picture book to explore the life of Amalia Hernandez, dancer and founder of El Ballet Folkloric de Mexico.
“We are so pleased with our winner and honorees this year,” says Annisha Jeffries, Chair of the Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Committee and Youth Services Manager at Cleveland Public Library. “Since the inception of the Sugarman Award, we’ve been able to bring national attention to a genre of children’s books that is sometimes overlooked. Each of the authors we’re honoring this year is doing important work, and we’re proud to recognize and celebrate these wonderful books.”
Founded in 1998, the Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Award was first bestowed in 2000, with new winners announced every two years. Joan G. Sugarman established the award in memory of her husband, Norman A. Sugarman, a prominent tax attorney who was born and raised in Cleveland and later served in Washington, D.C. This national award is presented to the writer of a new biography for children (kindergarten through eighth grade). An award committee appointed by the Cleveland Public Library evaluates the nominations and selects winners.
The 2018 Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Award ceremony will be held on Thursday, Sept. 20 in the Learning Commons in the Library’s downtown Louis Stokes Wing. A special reception honoring the 2018 winners and the award’s anniversary will be held from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., followed by the discussion and award ceremony. This event is free and open to the public.
Past Winners of the Norman A. Sugarman
Children’s Biography Award
by Goodall, Jane
by Tonatiuh, Duncan
Brown Girl Dreaming
by Woodson, Jacqueline
by Schubert, Leda
Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World
by Montgomery, Sy
Chuck Close: Face Book
by Close, Chuck
The House Baba Built: An Artist’s Childhood in China
by Young, Ed
Black & White: The Confrontation Between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene “Bull” Connor
by Brimner, Larry Dane
Harry Houdini: The Legend of the World’s Greatest Escape Artist
by Weaver, Janice
George Washington Carver
by Bolden, Tonya
The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary
by Fleming, Candace
We Are One: The Story of Bayard Rustin
by Brimner, Larry Dane
by Winter, Jonah
Delicious: The Life and Art of Wayne Thiebaud
by Rubin, Susan Goldman
Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali
by Smith, Charles R.
Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing
by Rumford, James
by Marsalis, Wynton
Reaching for the Moon
by Aldrin, Buzz
When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson : the Voice of A Century
by Ryan, Pam Muñoz
Leonardo, Beautiful Dreamer
by Byrd, Robert
Jack: The Early Years of John F. Kennedy
by Cooper, Ilene
Savion! My Life in Tap
by Glover, Savion
Chuck Close, up Close
by Greenberg, Jan