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Steve Jenkins mixes whimsy with fact to share what he calls the elegance of science with young readers. His work is "distinguished by richly textured, vibrantly colored illustrations on well-composed pages to accompany clear text on a variety of topics," according to Maria Salvadore, who chaired this year's Nonfiction Award Committee. "Young readers are engaged by the presentation and the respect accorded both subject and potential reader."
The annual Nonfiction Award is presented to "an author or illustrator whose total body of work has contributed significantly to the quality of nonfiction for children". Jenkins is the 27th winner of the award. Past awards have been given to George Ancona, Jim Murphy, Diane Stanley, Isaac Asimov, Jean Craighead George and Jean Fritz. The Award winner is selected by a committee of Children's Book Guild members.
Jenkins said in his acceptance speech for the 1999 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award (for Top of the World: Climbing Mount Everest) that "children don't need anyone to give them a sense of wonder; they already have that. But they do need a way to incorporate the various bits and pieces of knowledge they acquire into some logical picture of the world. For me, science provides the most elegant and satisfying way to construct this picture." The New York Times agreed, noting that the cut-paper artwork in Jenkins' newest book, Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution "engenders amazement at the earth's incredible biodiversity."
Among Jenkins other works are Biggest, Strongest, Fastest and Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest. Jenkins has also illustrated a number of books by other authors. He lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and three children. He will receive his award at the annual Children's Book Guild Luncheon on November 15, 2003, when he will be joined at the podium by author Andrew Clements and illustrator James Ransome.