2021-2022 RED CLOVER BOOK AWARD NOMINEES
VERMONT’S PICTURE BOOK AWARD FOR CHILDREN IN GRADES K-4
Nana Akua Goes to School
By Tricia Elam Walker, illustrated by April Harrison
On Grandparents Day at school, Zura feels worried her classmates might be rude to her Nana Akua since she looks different. By connecting West African heritage, Adinkra symbols and meanings, family and love, this story weaves connection and wraps readers in a warm hug.
Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera
by Candice Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann
Just how close could you get to a honeybee without a microscope or getting stung? Captured in glorious oil paintings, this nonfiction book reads like a diary in the life of a female bee who rarely rests in 35 days. The back matter included is especially rich with a detailed Apis exploded view and facts about declining bee populations.
The Little Mermaid
by Jerry Pinkney
Beloved author and illustrator Jerry Pinkney has reimagined Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale for a young, modern audience. His retelling focuses on exploration, family loyalty, sacrifice, and the importance of speaking up. Pinkney wisely substitutes the theme of thwarted romantic love from Andersen’s original fairytale and the Disney film with a genuine and empowering friendship. His lush, detailed pencil and watercolor illustrations will invite children to draw comparisons to the Disney film, such as the lair of the sea witch and squawking seagulls, while also creating original elements to his underwater world. Pinkney has beautifully updated this famous fairytale in a story that embraces diversity with a main character of color and celebrates the power of using your voice.
Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball
by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Frank Morrison
On March 22, 2021, the world lost an influential and inspiring basketball legend. Although many have heard of Jackie Robinson, the name Elgin Baylor is not as commonly known. Chosen first in the 1958 NBA draft, he was one of the first professional Black basketball players. Baylor faced segregation as he was turned away from hotels and restaurants. He protested at one game and caught the nation’s attention, altering the history of sports. With active and descriptive text, author Jen Bryant weaves together a story of the majesty and beauty of Baylor’s athleticism with events from his professional career, interspersing and relating them to civil rights protests occurring at the same time. Illustrator Frank Morrison captures Baylor’s fluidity of motion and creates bright, glowing portraits of other civil rights heroes. This biography of a brave and talented athlete is a vibrant and uplifting tribute to a legend we so recently lost.
How to Solve a Problem
by Ashima Shiraishi
illustrated by Yao Xiao
Rock climbers, like Ashima Shiraishi, call boulders “problems” and if anyone knows how to solve one, it is Ashima. This story follows Shiraishi as she solves a particularly challenging problem and applies the lessons of rock climbing more broadly to other problems we may encounter in our lives. Xiao’s illustrations use bold outlines and saturated colors to depict Shiraishi’s ascent. A timeline of Shiraishi’s life and career is included as backmatter.
I am the Storm
By Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, illustrated by Kristen & Kevin Howdeshell
This story is about wildfires, blizzards, hurricanes, and tornadoes, but it's centered on what families do to weather the storms finding closeness, safety, and recovering from the damage, aptly so as it's lyrically written by a mother-daughter duo and richly illustrated by a husband-and-wife team! The comforting repetitive phrases remind readers that all storms will end, we will recover, and be okay finding strength within. The backmatter gives just enough information to pique children's interest, but not so much as to scare them, though "it's okay to be scared."
If You Come to Earth
by Sophie Blackall
“Dear visitor from Outer Space,” begins this book, written as a letter containing just about everything you could imagine on Earth . Starting with an approach to our planet (“the greeny-blue one”) from space, and gradually arriving on the surface, the letter explains the land, housing, people, emotions, weather, transportation, food, animals, music, color, and all the details and diversity within by using simple text and beautifully detailed watercolor illustrations. A dazzling array of people of different abilities, races, professions and pastimes are shown communicating, interacting, and celebrating our home.
All the Way to the Top: How One Girl’s Fight for Americans with Disabilities Changed Everything
by Annette Bay Pimentel, Illustrated by Nabi H. Ali
This is the true story of Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins, who became an activist at age 6 when she participated in her first protest. Jennifer was born in 1981 and diagnosed with cerebral palsy in 1983, a time when access to public spaces was limited for people in wheelchairs. From the start of kindergarten, Jennifer was given limited access to school because of her use of a wheelchair. With her family, she joined a group who protested to get wheelchair lifts on buses, and became one of the few children involved in the disabilities rights movement. Jennifer joined protesters from around the country in Washington, DC as they rallied in support of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The story culminates with the dramatic Capital Crawl- activists left their wheelchairs and crawled up the steps of the capitol to make their voices heard. This is a thrilling, empowering story for young people who want to make a change in their world. As Jennifer says in the book’s foreword, “...you don’t have to be a grown up to make a difference”.
The Barnabus Project
by Terry, Eric, & Devin Fan
What if you believed that anything was possible and you found others just like you? Say you were all misfits in one way or another but you had each other and dreamed of freedom? This is the premise of The Barnabus Project led by a half-mouse, half-elephant named Barnabus and their adventure in dreaming big and escaping the underworld of Perfect Pets. The illustrations are detailed, sometimes strange, and all delightful. A quirky story about misfits, friendship, and freedom with a cast of unusual "Failed Projects'' that are not failures in the end.
Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots
by Michael Rex
Understanding the difference between facts and opinions is essential knowledge, especially now in our world of fake news and viral memes. And it’s a fact that nothing could be more fun than a group of silly robots introducing the idea. Wait---or is it an opinion?