Carole Boston Weatherford
2019 Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award Winner
The Children’s Book Guild of Washington, D.C., has selected Carole Boston Weatherford as its 2019 Nonfiction Award Winner. The award, given annually since 1977, honors authors or illustrators whose total work has contributed significantly to the quality of nonfiction for children.
Weatherford’s books introduce individuals and subjects through careful research, often using different poetic styles to engage young readers. While some of her books tell the stories of famous figures such as Lena Horne and Billie Holiday, she also brings lesser known people such as photographer Gordon Parks and race car driver Wendell Scott to a wider audience. Though she writes on many topics, Weatherford’s work often showcases the breadth and depth of African-American history, from the 1700’s to the present day.
Weatherford has won numerous honors for her individual books. Freedom in Congo Square won a Charlotte Zolotow Award for best picture book text. Weatherford also won a Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor for Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement and the 2018 Walter Dean Myers Award for Schomberg: The Man Who Built a Library.
Nonfiction Award Committee member Cecilia Cackley was particularly impressed by the text in Weatherford’s picture books. “Whether she is writing in rhyming poetry, free verse or rhythmic prose, she has great respect for the child audience and doesn’t talk down to the reader, even when writing about difficult topics.”
Weatherford will be honored at a Children’s Book Guild Award Luncheon on May 11, 2019, at Clyde’s Restaurant of Gallery Place, 707 7th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Tickets are $35 ($36 when paid on line via PayPal). RSVP and pay.
Claudia Bedrick from Enchanted Lion Books To Speak to the Guild on Thursday, November 15th
Claudia Bedrick was raised by publishers. Her father, Peter Bedrick, was executive vice president of the German-Jewish Schocken Books before founding Peter Bedrick Books with his wife, Muriel Bedrick, in 1983. The company published high-quality illustrated nonfiction for children. In 2003, after selling the successful enterprise, the couple founded Enchanted Lion Books with two of their daughters, with a similar focus. Claudia and her sister Abigail entered the family business as managing editor and sales and marketing manager, respectively.
Claudia Bedrick’s interest lay in translating notable international children’s books for the American market, a direction she pursued after her father’s sudden death in 2004. Now the publisher, editor and art director of this small-but-mighty house—it publishes about 18 to 20 picture books per year—Bedrick seeks out books from foreign countries for translation and originates books with authors and artists in many different countries, all with the goal of offering something fresh and moving, both visually and verbally, to readers here. She also keeps an eye on titles worthy of bringing back into print and has reissued books from the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
An Enchanted Lion brochure describes the program this way: “We are sharing these books with you in the humanistic spirit of seeking out reality and bearing witness. These stories are rich and complex. They do not silence or whitewash, lie or build walls…There are worrying details about climate change, the loss of home, and the facts of war. Sometimes, confusing, even frightening, words are said. But nothing is presented in a way that fails to respect the emotional lives of children and youth. And there is abundant hope here, too, in the willingness to risk, dream, and act in the name of Life.”
Collecting stars and accolades, titles such as My Father’s Arms Are a Boat, by Stein Erik Lunde, Bear and Wolf, by Daniel Salmieri, and Seasons, by Blexbolex, hint at the range and depth of this publishing house. What qualities does Bedrick look for when searching for her next project? How would she compare European picture books to American titles? What experiences influenced her eye? What advice does she have for authors and illustrators? On November 15, bring your questions to the conversation between Bedrick and Wendy Lukehart, coordinator of youth collections at DC Public Library.