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Writer and Illustrator Emily Arnold McCully To Speak to the Guild

The Guild’s May 17 luncheon speaker will be author-illustrator Emily Arnold McCully. Raised on Long Island, McCully graduated from Brown University and earned a masters degree in art history from Columbia University. Her career in children’s books dates back to the 1960s, when she did a series of subway ads for a radio station about “children at play.” The ads caught the eye of a children’s book editor who then hired McCully to illustrate George Panetta’s book Sea Beach Express. One assignment led to another, and soon she was creating her own books as well as illustrating for others.

In 1993 MCCully won the Caldecott Medal for her picture book Mirette on the High Wire. This spring a movie version will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Her beautiful picture books often focus on true stories. Clara is about an 18th-century rhino that toured Europe, and Queen of the Diamond is about Lizzie Murphy, the first woman to play in a major-league baseball exhibition game. Other starred titles include Caroline’s Comets, about Caroline Herschel, a musician and astronomer, Dare of the Wind, about sailor Eleanor Prentiss, and Strongheart, about the world’s first movie-star dog. Dare of the Wind and Strongheart were both named Bank Street Best Books. McCully’s background in fine art and history helps her in researching subjects and finding an authentic look from the past.

 McCully has also written several early readers for Holiday House, among them Pete Won’t Eat, Late Nate in the Race and Little Ducks Go. Her young adult biography Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business—and Won! was a finalist for the YALSA Best Nonfiction Book of the Year. A second YA title, A Promising Life, fictionalizes the story of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, who traveled with his mother, Sakakawea, and his father, Toussaint, on Lewis and Clark’s expedition and was then raised by Captain Clark.

An upcoming nonfiction book for middle grade readers, She Did It! 21 Women Who Changed the Way We Think, will be out in the fall from Disney Press. On May 17, McCully will be discussing the American women whose lives she has written about.

RSVP for the luncheon now!

Phillip Hoose
2018 Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award Celebration

2018 Nonfiction Award Winner Phillip Hoose
Photo by Rosalyn Schanzer

“I am so awed by librarians…The smartest people in the world are teachers and librarians,” Phillip Hoose told the Children’s Book Guild audience gathered to honor him with the 2018 Nonfiction Award.  He praised his tenth grade English teacher Grace Hine, whose encouragement he remembers decades later.   He also remembers doing his extensive, scholarly research with card catalogs in the library and interviews on cassette tapes. 

During the April 7 Award Celebration at Clyde’s Gallery Place in Washington, D.C., Hoose shared the backstory of his books, including the selection of young people who worked for positive change at different scales – from family to the world -  in It’s Our World Too. He often waited a long time to find just the right story.  He wanted to tell a civil rights story from a young person’s point of view, but had to wait four years for Claudette Colvin to agree to talk about her decision as a teenager to stay in her seat in a Montgomery, Alabama, bus.  Colvin and Hoose finally met in New York and talked for the whole day. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice is the only nonfiction book that has ever won the National Book Award.  “She took an heroic stand and she was only fifteen-sixteen years old,” noted Hoose. “She still hears the clinking of the key in the jail cell.”

He also wanted a single bird to help tell the story of extinction and survival. He chose the ivory-billed woodpecker (The Race to Save the Lord God Bird) and the tiny red knot that has flown the distance to the moon and halfway back in its annual migration, including a critical feeding stop in Delaware Bay (Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95).  Joined by his wife Sandi on mandolin, Hoose roused the crowd into shouting the tiny bird’s refrain, “We Need Eggs!”

Hoose also shared an endearing musical rendition of Hey, Little Ant, the song he wrote with his young daughter Hannah about a conversation between a Kid about to squish an Ant, and the Ant. The song became his first book in 1998 and it has now sold 11 million copies worldwide!

Just as important as writing in Hoose’s life has been the Children’s Music Network, where Hey Little Ant is praised as a song that “blazed trails by raising issues of bullying and helping children develop compassion for the underdog and respect for all life.” The Children’s Music Network was born in the 1980s when folk singers like Hoose, Pete Seeger and others “took young people seriously yet had plenty of goofy humor.” 

At a time when young people are in the forefront of the national discourse especially on gun violence, Hoose said, “I believe kids are powerful. They have made contributions to history that have been overlooked.”  His books work hard to correct that, including the newest one to be published in Fall 2018, ATTUCKS! Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team that Awakened a City, about basketball in segregated Indianapolis in the 1950s – more examples of “young people who had sacrificed in various ways for racial justice.”

Photo Gallery

(Photos by Rosalyn Schanzer)


2018 Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award Winner Phillip Hoose speaking at the April 7 celebration at Clyde's Gallery Place.

Phil Hoose receives the Nonfiction Award crystal from Guild President Katy Kelly and Nonfiction Award Committee chair Karen Leggett.
Phil Hoose's wife Sandi Ste George
Phil Hoose's wife Sandi Ste George joins him to sing their original song about the tiny red knot, "Delaware Bay Blues" - featured in Hoose's book MOONBIRD (hear the song). 

Phil Hoose Hoose shared an endearing musical rendition of Hey, Little Ant, the song he wrote with his young daughter Hannah about a conversation between a Kid about to squish an Ant, and the Ant. In this photo, he is the Ant! The song became his first book in 1998 and it has now sold 11 million copies worldwide!



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