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CCB Newsletter
February 2012


In this Newsletter…


News and Updates

Eleventh Annual Book Pre-Sale Reservations Now Taking Place

Our Eleventh Annual Book Sale is coming up soon!  Attending our pre-sale is the best time to browse our wide selection of books and make your purchases. To attend the pre-sale, you must make a reservation by either calling the CCB at 217-244-9331 or by emailing us at Contact us now to reserve your place at the pre-sale.  Reservations will be accepted through Monday, February 13.  Only 50 reservations can be accepted, and spots fill quickly. After you receive our confirmation e-mail, please send a $20 (per person) check made payable to the “University of Illinois” and mail to:

Center for Children’s Books
Attn: Pre-Sale
501 E. Daniel St., Rm 24
Champaign, IL 61820

Announcing the 2012 Gryphon Lecture

We are delighted to invite you to our annual Gryphon Lecture, to take place Thursday, March 1 at 7:30pm in room 126 of the GSLIS Building.  Margaret Mackey, professor at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta, will give this year’s lecture.  In a presentation titled “Grounding our Perspectives on Children's Literature,” Mackey will explore the resources that child readers bring to their reading of their literatures.  Their repertoires include their own local understandings of the world and their other encounters with texts, fictional and otherwise.  This presentation will explore how our views of children's literature and children's reading are affected if we take a full 360-degree account of children's textual lives:  their school books, their media experiences, their daily environmental literacies, and the like.  How does our analysis of a literary experience change when we regard it as embedded and embodied?

The Gryphon Lecture is free and open to the public.  Illinois educators are eligible to receive CPDUs for attending. 


February Calendar

Thursday, February 16: CCB Brown Bag with Karla Lucht, 11am-12pm
                                    Developing an Award for Asian/Pacific American Youth Literature

Thursday, February 16: Youth Lit Book Club, 5-6pm
                                    Discussing Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Sunday, February 19: Eleventh Annual Book Pre-Sale, 1-4pm, GSLIS East Foyer

Monday, February 20-Wednesday, February 22: Eleventh Annual Book Sale, 10am – 6pm daily

Thursday, March 1: Gryphon Lecture, 7:30pm, GSLIS Room 126
                              “Grounding our Perspectives on Children's Literature” by Margaret Mackey

Friday, March 2: CCB Brown Bag with Margaret Mackey, 12-1:30pm

Events take place at the CCB unless otherwise noted. For complete descriptions of events, visit the calendar on our website.


New Bibliographies on the CCB Website

Wordsmiths, Cardsharks, & Avatars: Books with Game-Players

Created by Lauren Chenevert


Our Affiliates Out and About

CCB Director Deborah Stevenson will be at Dominican University for The Truth about Choice children’s literature conference Saturday, February 25 in Chicago, acting as a panelist during a discussion entitled “The Reviews Are In: Book Review Truths and Secrets.”


Feature: Awards Season at the CCB

January and February are exciting months around the CCB, as we finally get to release our pent-up excitement over the most outstanding books of the year—the January release of the Blue Ribbons list, and the February announcement of the Gryphon Award.   

The Bulletin’s Blue Ribbons

The Bulletin staff selects approximately thirty titles that represent outstanding fiction, picture books, and nonfiction, published in the preceding year.  Bulletin editor Deborah Stevenson notes that the 2011 Blue Ribbon Fiction features an “intriguing mix, with history, fantasy, and realism all represented,” and a strong showing for younger children’s books, so “readers will find much to delight them even before middle school.”  The 2011 Blue Ribbon Nonfiction titles range in scope from biography to poetry to mythology, with fodder for curricular units and recreational readers alike.  There’s a Blue Ribbon Picture Book for three-year-olds, third graders, and everyone in between (or beyond) to enjoy.  Check out the full list of 2011 Blue Ribbons, and then browse through the Blue Ribbon Archives for previous years’ selections. 

The Gryphon Award of the Center for Children’s Books

We’re pleased to announce the winner of our 2012 Gryphon Award, Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, written by Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell, and published by Amulet/Abrams.  Praised by the Bulletin for “heartfelt, accessible, and energetic” narration, Sternberg’s book captures a sensitive kid’s first experience of loss with tender respectfulness in this story of Eleanor, whose beloved babysitter from birth, Bibi, moves away. 

Three other honor books were also recognized by the Gryphon Award Committee:
The No. 1 Car Spotter, written by Atinuke and illustrated by Warwick Johnson Cadwell (Kane Miller Books, 2011. Gr. 2-4)
 Dear Hot Dog, written and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein (Abrams, 2011. Gr. 2-5)
Waiting for the Magic, written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Amy June Bates (Atheneum, 2011. Gr. 3-5)

The Gryphon Award is presented annually to the author of an outstanding English language work of fiction or non-fiction for which the primary audience is children in kindergarten through fourth grade.  The title chosen best exemplifies those qualities that successfully bridge the gap in difficulty between books for reading aloud to children and books for practiced readers.  For more on the Gryphon Award, see our website

For more on the CCB Award Books:

Be sure to check out the display cases in the Marshall Gallery of the Main Library this month, featuring past and present Gryphon Award winners and a sampling of 2011 Blue Ribbons.  As always, the current year’s Blue Ribbons and Gryphon Award titles are featured in the CCB on the Award Books shelf. 


New Books We Just Had to Read
Every month, the CCB Graduate Assistants highlight books reviewed in the most recent issue of the Bulletin that we were excited to read.  These decisions are based on personal preference, but all books listed are Recommended by the Bulletin. For complete reviews, visit the Bulletin website ( to learn how to subscribe.

Laurel’s Choice: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Reading Level: Gr. 7-10
Pages: 400
Publisher and Year: Feiwel, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-312-64189-4

The world has come a long way from the devastation of World War IV over a century ago, but the emergence of a plague with no known cure and the nefarious, watchful eye of the Lunars, inhabitants of the moon capable of mind-control, may mean the loss of peace on earth. Cinder lives in servitude to her stepmother and two not entirely evil stepsisters due to her second-class cyborg standing. She remembers nothing of her life before her operation at age 11, or the details behind the sudden death of her adoptive father. Her days are spent working as a mechanic at the New Beijing market to support her family. But Cinder’s ordinary life becomes significantly more complicated when she catches the eye of Prince Kaito and when one of her stepsisters is affected by the plague. These events lead Cinder to understand that her mysterious past could hold the fate of not only New Beijing, but also the world. This fresh and futuristic retelling of Cinderella is the first book in a four part series.

Anna’s Choice: Something to Hold by Katherine Schlick Noe
Reading Level: Gr. 4-6
Pages: 250
Publisher and Year: Clarion, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-547-55813-4
Price: $16.99

If any girl is an expert at relocating her life, it’s Kitty Schlick. At eleven years old, her father’s government job keeps Kitty from calling any single place home. In 1962, Kitty and her family find themselves uprooted and resettled across country on the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon, where other non-Indian families are hard to come by. Kitty struggles to overcome racial and cultural barriers at her new school, unlike her brothers who quickly blend into reservation life. Based in part on the author’s own childhood experience growing up on different Indian reservations, this historical work of fiction delves into the challenging history between Native peoples and white peoples, and into the need for understanding. Though slow to build, with much of the action taking place in the last 50 pages, Something to Hold offers glimpses of truth told through the eyes of a young girl discovering injustice and courage for the first time. The novel’s pacing makes for an excellent, age-appropriate introduction to some of the rather dark moments of white American and Native relations in the early 1960s.

Lauren’s Choice: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Reading Level: Gr. 4-6
Pages: 320
Publisher and Year: Harper/HarperCollins, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4
Price: $16.99

The faded billboard outside the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade proudly boasts of The One and Only Ivan, Mighty Silverback, but this once-wild gorilla prefers to be called just Ivan.  The glory days of Big Top Mall are long gone, and now the three-times daily shows struggle to draw crowds.  Housed in a too-cramped domain, thoughtful, sensitive Ivan passes the days of his 27-year-long confinement by drawing pictures, listening to stories told by caged neighbor Stella the elephant, and watching old movies on his TV.  Mack, the owner of Big Top Mall, brings in a new baby elephant in a last-ditch effort to renew interest in the show.  But young Ruby still remembers her life in the wild, and the freshness of her pain brings back old memories for Ivan.  After making a promise to Stella, Ivan decides that the only way to rescue Ruby’s broken spirit is to get her to the local zoo, with its wide-open natural habitats.  Ivan uses artwork to get his message out, and a special friendship with the janitor’s daughter means his message travels further than he ever imagined.  Told in masterfully spare prose, this is a quietly affecting narrative sure to resonate with animal lovers. 


Highlighted Book from Our Wish List

Montgomery, Kathryn. Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce, and Childhood in the Age of the Internet. MIT Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0262134781.

For more book selections or to order this one, visit the CCB’s Amazon Wish List.


CCB Spring Hours and General Information

Monday: 10 am – 5 pm
Tuesday: 10 am – 7 pm
Wednesday: 3 pm – 7 pm
Thursday: 10 am – 7 pm
Friday: 10 am – 5pm

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The Center for Children's Books | Graduate School of Library and Information Science | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
501 E. Daniel St. | Champaign, IL 61820 | 217-244-9331 |