The Sibert and NCSS Awards

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The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is an annual word for authors and illustrators of informational books. In 2000 the book Blizzard! The Storm That Changed America by Jim Murphy was a Sibert Honor recipient. The National Council for the Social Studies, grants the Carter G. Woodson book awards. This award recognizes outstanding social sciences books that treat topics related to ethnic minorities and relations sensitively and accurately. Both awards recognize the importance of education; the Sibert award valuing learning from informational books, and the Carter G. Woodson award highlighting voices that have often been silenced. Both these awards are for books that can teach us about cultures around the world and how they interact with each other.

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The Carter G. Woodson award is for a much more specific type of book. For example, Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh, details a young American girl of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent fighting along with her parents after she’s denied access to a “whites only” school. The author is known for his very specific style of art, and combined with a very important topic in history, one can see why he was granted this award. As for Sibert award winners, such informational books like Blizzard! The Storm That Changed Everything, the focus could be on any point in history and doesn’t necessarily have to contain diverse experiences. Blizzard! The Storm That Changed Everything is a bit denser than Separate is Never Equal, and, although there are illustrations, they’re much less vibrant and eye catching than Tonatiuh’s are. Both awards are important in recognizing the importance in learning from history.

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