By Helen Foster James, Ed.D., Kathleen Krull and Peter Neumeyer, Ph.D.
Since you can't judge a book by its cover, we dove deep inside the pages of dozens and dozens of books to select these winners. From warm baby kisses through first kindergarten steps to middle-school conflict resolution, each of these wonderful books will engage and inspire children.
Gold Award Winners
For Sure! For Sure!, translated by Mus White, illustrated by Stefan Czernecki, August House, 2004, $16.95, www.augusthouse.com. A brisk contemporary retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's story about how news mutates as it gets spread from one gossiper to another. In this case, a chicken plucks a feather … and scandal spreads all around the chicken yard. Bold type and extra bright art make this an excellent choice for sharing.
I Like Myself!, by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by David Catrow, Harcourt, 2004, $16. Vibrant illustrations and rhyming text encourage kids to appreciate everything about themselves inside and out. A serious and silly book for building self-esteem.
My Kindergarten, by Rosemary Wells, Hyperion, 2004, $16.99. Emily and Roger and all their cat, dog, duck and rabbit friends go through the kindergarten year, learning numbers and letters, hearing stories, singing songs, measuring feet, telling time and even adopting a great-granny. A veritable treasure chest to be read over and over.
Spicy Hot Colors: Colores Picantes, by Sherry Shahan, illustrated by Paula Barragán, August House, 2004, $16.95. Nine color words in English and Spanish are introduced in snappy rhyme and complemented by Ecuadoran artist Paula Barragán's hot-and-spicy cut-paper illustrations.
Honors Award Winners
The Daddy Mountain, by Jules Feiffer; Hyperion Books for Children, 2004; $15.95. A child climbs "Daddy Mountain" with great enthusiasm in this simply told and illustrated book. Children and daddies will see themselves in this story that captures a familiar family adventure.
Don't Let the Peas Touch and Other Stories, by Deborah Blumenthal, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering; Scholastic, 2004; $15.95. Sophie is a picky eater, her older sister Annie isn't. Sophie likes to be loud, Annie doesn't. Sophie and Annie fight over what kind of pet to get. Three little stories with a new take on sibling war ... er, rivalry.
Tails, by Matthew Van Fleet; Harcourt, 2004; $12.95. "Tails spiny, tails frisky, tails fluffy, tails stringy" … this is a touch-the-tail, pull-the-tab game book featuring tigers, monkeys and pandas - showing off their tails.
Otto Has a Birthday Party, by Todd Parr; Little, Brown and Co., 2004; $9.95. Otto begins his birthday making a funny cake. Then all sorts of things go wrong. The colors in this book are gorgeous, while the humor is exuberant.
Sunshine on My Shoulders, by John Denver, adapted and illustrated by Christopher Canyon, 2003; $19.95; www.dawnpub.com. John Denver's popular song is presented with a sunshine-yellow pallet and a fresh-faced girl who is certain to charm readers. This heartwarming book comes with an audio CD.
Return to NAPPA 2004 Award Winners: Books to see winning books for other age groups.
See also: NAPPA 2003 Award Winners