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Catherine Reef 2020 Nonfiction Award Winner

The 2020 Nonfiction Award Committee of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC, is pleased to announce Catherine Reef as the Nonfiction Award Winner for 2020. Reef will be honored at the Children’s Book Guild Award Luncheon on May 30, 2020, at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, Washington, DC. Tickets are available through our website.

Through dozens of nonfiction books for young adults and middle school students, Ms. Reef has produced a body of distinguished and award-winning work, notable for impeccable research, insightful interpretations, and writing that keeps readers engaged.

Catherine Reef’s biographies offer an in-depth study of legendary figures who represent different eras and fields of endeavor such as Queen Victoria, Frida and Diego, and Sigmund Freud. Ms. Reef’s carefully hewn character portrayals are evident in all her biographies.  Her ability to weave intricate research into a compelling narrative keeps youthful readers involved in the lives of authors such as E.E. Cummings and Ernest Hemingway.  Her historical studies mainly cover topics in African American history: Buffalo Soldiers, Black Explorers, Civil War Soldiers, Africans in America, and the resettlement of African Americans in Liberia.

Twenty-one of her books written from 1996 to 2018 have all received significant distinctions. For example, her 2018 publication Mary Shelley: The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein’s Creator, received the Junior Library Guild Selection 2018; NOBLE Book Award for Young Adult Nonfiction, 2018; YALSA’s Excellence in Nonfiction, 2019; Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices, 2019; and Bank Street College’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2019.  The number of books honored show Catherine Reef to be a prolific writer who produces highly regarded works.  Her newest book is Sarah Bernhardt: The Divine and Dazzling Life of the World’s First Superstar which will become available in June of 2020.
Nonfiction Award Committee members Liane Rosenblatt, Winifred Conkling, and Rashin Kheiriyeh, and adviser Maria Salvadore marveled at Catherine Reef’s ability to hook readers early and place characters in complex emotional and political contexts.  Many thanks to them for their spirited discussions about Ms. Reef’s books.

Catherine Reef will be honored at the Children’s Book Guild Award Luncheon on May 30, 2020 at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, Washington, DC. Please note the date and bring family and friends to the Celebration.

2019-2020 Lecture Series Schedule.

Simon Boughton  to Speak to the Guild on October 17th

Simon BoughtonSimon Boughton will discuss his illustrious career in children’s books with details and publishing goals of his most recent venture as the Publishing Director of the new imprint of W. W. Norton, Norton Young Readers.

"I like to be surprised; to open a book and hear a voice I haven’t heard before," Simon Boughton has said. That delight in the fresh and new spurred him to pursue an impressive career in children’s publishing.

Boughton, who held his first publishing job at London-based Kingfisher books, moved to the United States in 1986 and worked as an editor at Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers and, subsequently, Crown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. In 1994 he was made publishing director of Alfred A. Knopf and Crown Books for Young Readers.

He left Random House in 2000 to start Roaring Brook Press, where books he acquired, edited and published included, among others, the Caldecott Medal winners My Friend Rabbit, by Eric Rohmann, and The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, by Mordicai Gerstein; Caldecott Honor books by Lane Smith; Printz Medal and Honor books by Marcus Sedgwick; and National Book Award finalists by Steve Sheinkin. He oversaw the launch of the First Second graphic novel imprint and in 2009 was made publishing director of the newly created Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, where he continued as publisher of the Farrar Straus & Giroux for Young Readers, First Second and Roaring Brook Press imprints until leaving in 2017.

In 2018, Boughton joined W. W. Norton & Company, the country’s oldest and largest independent, employee-owned publishing house, to develop Norton Young Readers, a new children’s and young adult publishing program. On Thursday, October 17, he will speak to the Children’s Book Guild about the process, challenges and choices involved in starting a new publishing business in today’s market.

RSVP now!

2019 Nonfiction Award Photo Gallery

1 Admiring Crystal
Carole Boston Weatherford receives the Award crystal
2 Liz Bicknell
Candlewick Press Editorial Director Liz Bicknell introduces Weatherford


Carole Boston Weatherford Speaking“My books are tailor made for critical literacy.”
Carole Boston Weatherford SpeakingOn growing up in Baltimore: "Living in a port city expands your horizons."


Maria Salvadore and Rhoda TrooboffWeatherford with Nonfiction Award Selection Committee Chair Maria Salvadore and Guild President Rhoda Trooboff
Carole Weatherford Viewing Nonfiction Award Crystal


Carole Boston Weatherford's mother CarolynWeatherford’s mother Carolyn, who received her daughter’s earliest dictated poems
Weatherford’s son, author-illustrator Jeffrey Boston WeatherfordWeatherford’s son, author-illustrator Jeffrey Boston Weatherford


Guild President Rhoda TrooboffGuild President Rhoda Trooboff
Carole signing copies of her new book, The Roots of RapWeatherford signs her newest book, The Roots of Rap




Author Visits

Book Trailers