Cleveland Public Library Announces Winner of the 2020 Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Award

Cleveland Public Library is proud to announce nationally recognized author and illustrator Ashley Bryan is the recipient of the 2020 Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Award for his memoir, Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace. The Sugarman Award, which was established in 1998, is the only prize in the nation that honors biographies written for children.

The awards ceremony will be held Thursday, September 24 at 7:30 p.m. at Cleveland Public Library – Louis Stokes Wing, located at 325 Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

Published by Simon and Schuster, Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace is a touching picture book memoir about war seen through the eyes of an African American soldier. Bryan shares his experiences serving in the segregated army during World War II and how love and art sustained him. Bryan’s memoir is considered both a lesson in history and a testament of hope.

Bryan’s Infinite Hope also earned him the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award. The beloved illustrator was named a Newbery Honoree in 2017 for his picture book, Freedom Over Me. Bryan has also received the Coretta Scott King Award, the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award and countless other awards and recognitions.

Additionally, three authors received Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Honor Awards: Feed Your Mind: A Story of August Wilson by Jen BryantJennifer Thermes who wrote and illustrated Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail, and Sharlee Glenn’s Library on Wheels: Mary Lemist Titcomb and America’s First Bookmobile. Abrams Books published the biographies bestowed the Sugarman Honor Awards. 

“The books by Ashley Bryan and the honorees truly capture the essence of the Norman A. Sugarman Awards,” said Annisha Jeffries, Chair of the Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Committee and Youth Services Manager at Cleveland Public Library. “We’re proud to recognize a group of authors whose work is teaching children about life experiences, the importance of curiosity, and the need for exploration and adventure in our great world.”

The Sugarman Award is given biennially and presented to a writer and/or illustrator of a new biography for children’s grades Kindergarten through 8th grade. The award recipient is chosen by a committee appointed by Cleveland Public Library. Criteria is based on age-appropriateness of the book, quality of writing, and content ‘worthy of emulation’.

This year’s committee included JeffriesErika Marks, Outreach and Programming Coordinator at Cleveland Public Library, Tracy Isaac, Lending Assistant Supervisor at Cleveland Public Library, Hough Reads Coordinator Rhonda Crowder, Glenville Branch Children’s Librarian Peter Roth, Memorial-Nottingham Branch Librarian Joanna RiveraLan Gao, Youth Services Librarian at Cleveland Public Library, and Charles Ellenbogen, an English teacher at Campus International High School.

The Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Award was established by Joan G. Sugarman 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.