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Mark your calendars for November 19, at 7 pm, when The Children’s Book Guild will host young adult author Ibi Zoboi and coauthor and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam. They will discuss, among other topics, their recent collaboration on the young adult novel in verse, Punching the Air.  This discussion will be moderated by Guild member Deborah Taylor, and hosted on Zoom.


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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.

Please Note: The Children’s Book Guild Award Luncheon honoring Reef, previously scheduled for May 30, 2020, has been postponed until spring 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.  Those who have purchased tickets for the event will be contacted by email.

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, from 12 noon to 3 p.m., at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, Washington, DC. Please note the date and time and bring family and friends to the Celebration.  Download event flyer.


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