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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.  Download event flyer.

2019-2020 Lecture Series Schedule.

Ellen Oh Spoke to the Guild on January 16th, 2020

Ellen OhOn January 16, Ellen Oh spoke to the Children's Book Guild about her journey as an author and advocate for diversity in children's literature.  Ellen Oh is a former adjunct college instructor and lawyer with an insatiable curiosity about ancient Asian history. She loves martial arts films, K-pop, K-dramas and cooking shows, and she is a rabid fan of The Last Airbender and Legend of Lorra series. She is a co-founder of We Need Diverse Books (WNDB), a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing diversity in children's literature. WNDB has been extremely influential in helping identify and promote authors, illustrators and editors from diverse backgrounds.

Oh is the author of the middle grade novels The Spirit Hunters and Spirit Hunters 2: Island of the Monsters and the YA fantasy trilogy The Prophecy Series. She is the editor of WNDB's middle grade anthology Flying Lessons and Other Stories and the YA anthology A Thousand Beginnings and Endings. Her work is innovative in the way she weaves her personal background and culture into the characters she creates. Originally from New York City, Oh lives in Bethesda with her husband and three children and has yet to satisfy her quest for a decent bagel in the DMV.

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