Sibert Award

2015 Honor Book

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Sibert Award

  • Given to the author and illustrator of the most distinguished informational book for children

  • Award administered by the ALSC

  • Named in honor of Robert F. Sibert, long-time president of Bound to Stay Bound, Inc., which specializes in binding books for children (who use books hard!)

Definitions and Criteria of the Sibert Award

  • Informational book means that what is presented is documentable and true

  • Must make a significant contribution to children’s literature

  • Must be distinguished, of excellent quality in word and visual presentation

  • Must be sensitive to the interests of children and children must be the intended audience

  • Author and illustrator must be citizens and residents of the U.S., the book must be published first in the U.S., and the book must be in English


  • A large portion of Sibert Award winners and honor books are biographies of individuals not necessarily well known

  • Another large portion of Sibert Award winners and honor books are about specific events, either natural or man-made, in history

  • Award winners and honor books seem to be very specific, not a general or overall resource on a specific subject

Why it Won

  • It’s a great biography of Sylvia Mendez and her family

  • Most people know about Brown vs Board or Education, but less people know about Sylvia’s family’s lawsuit against the state of California that paved the way for the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling

  • The artwork is exceptional (Pura Belpre Award (Honor) for illustrations in this book for this book)

  • It presents the whole factual story in an engaging and understandable format for children

  • It clearly presents steps taken by this family for social justice in schools

My Reaction

  • I loved how the facts in this book were presented in story form. I think that children could really relate to Sylvia. I think that this book would start thinking and possible discussions about steps that have been taken in our history to ensure that children of all colors, race, language and ethnicity can go to school together.

  • Although the pictures in this book are award-winning, they are not my personal preference. The pictures are done in a traditional Mixtec codex art, which reminds me of folk art. They definitely help tell the story, but it’s not my preferred style.

Other Awards

2015 Pura Belpre Award (Honor) for illustrations

2015 Jane Adams Children Book Award


Tonatiuh, D. (2014). Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & her family’s fight for

desegregation. New York, NY: Abrams Books for Young Readers.