Four books for children and teens have won the American Library Association’s 2016 Schneider Family Book Awards, which honor an author or illustrator for the artistic expression of the disability experience, according to a news release.
Recipients are selected in three categories: birth through grade school (ages 8 and younger), middle grade (ages 9-13) and teens (ages 14-18). Winners will receive $5,000 and a framed plaque, which will be presented in June during the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Fla.
The winner in the young children category is “Emmanuel’s dream: The true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah,” written by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls.
In the story, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, born with only one strong leg, sets out to ride a bike 400 miles across Ghana to raise awareness for the disabled. With the message of “being disabled does not mean unable,” the stunning mixed media art supports this uplifting and inspiring story, according to the release.
“Thompson and Qualls’ biographical picture book proves that ‘One leg is enough to do great things — and one person is enough to change the world,’” award chairwoman Alyson Beecher said in the release.
The book is published by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York City.
The book’s main character, Ally, moves through multiple elementary schools without learning to read by using her strengths in math and art along with some behavior distractions, according to the release. When a new teacher learns Ally has dyslexia, he uses patience and sensitivity to build up Ally’s confidence and her ability to read.
“Mullaly Hunt portrays a modern classroom with a diverse cast and challenges featuring a character to cheer for and a teacher everyone should have,” Beecher said in the release.
Set during World War II, the book features Ada, a resourceful character who slowly and believably makes accommodations for her untreated club foot. Her growth as a character, her acceptance by the villagers, and the home she and her brother make with Susan, their sponsor, are both heartfelt and powerful, according to the release.
“Bradley’s gripping portrayal of a World War II evacuee with a disability demonstrates even the most challenging times can provide an opportunity for a better life,” Beecher said in the release.
The teen award winner is “The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B” written by Teresa Toten and published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.
Readers enter 13B, where a support group for young adults with obsessive compulsive disorder meets each week. Here an unlikely band of “superheroes” led by their own “Batman,” Adam, works together to confront their personal struggles and discover the inner strength to keep moving forward, according to the release.
“With humor and poignancy, Toten introduces us to Adam, an endearing teen, facing first romance, parent issues and the daily challenges of OCD,” Beecher said in the release.
The ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world with more than 55,000 members. The organization works to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship to enhance learning and ensure everyone has access to information, according to the release.