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Catherine Reef 2020 Nonfiction Award Winner

The 2020 Nonfiction Award Committee of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC, is pleased to announce Catherine Reef as the Nonfiction Award Winner for 2020. Reef will be honored at the Children’s Book Guild Award Luncheon on May 30, 2020, from 12 noon to 3 p.m., at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, Washington, DC. Tickets are available through our website.

Through dozens of nonfiction books for young adults and middle school students, Ms. Reef has produced a body of distinguished and award-winning work, notable for impeccable research, insightful interpretations, and writing that keeps readers engaged.

Catherine Reef’s biographies offer an in-depth study of legendary figures who represent different eras and fields of endeavor such as Queen Victoria, Frida and Diego, and Sigmund Freud. Ms. Reef’s carefully hewn character portrayals are evident in all her biographies.  Her ability to weave intricate research into a compelling narrative keeps youthful readers involved in the lives of authors such as E.E. Cummings and Ernest Hemingway.  Her historical studies mainly cover topics in African American history: Buffalo Soldiers, Black Explorers, Civil War Soldiers, Africans in America, and the resettlement of African Americans in Liberia.

Twenty-one of her books written from 1996 to 2018 have all received significant distinctions. For example, her 2018 publication Mary Shelley: The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein’s Creator, received the Junior Library Guild Selection 2018; NOBLE Book Award for Young Adult Nonfiction, 2018; YALSA’s Excellence in Nonfiction, 2019; Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices, 2019; and Bank Street College’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2019.  The number of books honored show Catherine Reef to be a prolific writer who produces highly regarded works.  Her newest book is Sarah Bernhardt: The Divine and Dazzling Life of the World’s First Superstar which will become available in June of 2020.
Nonfiction Award Committee members Liane Rosenblatt, Winifred Conkling, and Rashin Kheiriyeh, and adviser Maria Salvadore marveled at Catherine Reef’s ability to hook readers early and place characters in complex emotional and political contexts.  Many thanks to them for their spirited discussions about Ms. Reef’s books.

Catherine Reef will be honored at the Children’s Book Guild Award Luncheon on May 30, 2020, from 12 noon to 3 p.m., at Clyde’s of Gallery Place, Washington, DC. Please note the date and time and bring family and friends to the Celebration.  Download event flyer.

2019-2020 Lecture Series Schedule.


Debbie Levy

On Thursday evening, March 19, Guild member and award-winning author Debbie Levy will speak at the Cleveland Park Library, following the Children's Book Guild's annual business meeting. Debbie has written more than 25 books of nonfiction, fiction and poetry for young people, including the New York Times best-selling I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award and the National Jewish Book Award. Her book The Key from Spain: Flory Jagoda and Her Music was named a 2020 Sydney Taylor Honor Book. Among Debbie's other books are Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Journey to Justice (a graphic novel-style biography); We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song, a Jane Addams Award Honor Book and Bank Street College Best Book; and The Year of Goodbyes, a Sydney Taylor Notable Book and Kirkus Reviews Best Book.

A former lawyer and newspaper editor, Debbie lives in Maryland with her husband. They have two grown sons. Visit Debbie online at www.debbielevybooks.com. Several of Debbie's books will be available for purchase on the evening of her program.

Members RSVP

2019 Nonfiction Award Photo Gallery

1 Admiring Crystal
Carole Boston Weatherford receives the Award crystal
2 Liz Bicknell
Candlewick Press Editorial Director Liz Bicknell introduces Weatherford


Carole Boston Weatherford Speaking“My books are tailor made for critical literacy.”
Carole Boston Weatherford SpeakingOn growing up in Baltimore: "Living in a port city expands your horizons."


Maria Salvadore and Rhoda TrooboffWeatherford with Nonfiction Award Selection Committee Chair Maria Salvadore and Guild President Rhoda Trooboff
Carole Weatherford Viewing Nonfiction Award Crystal


Carole Boston Weatherford's mother CarolynWeatherford’s mother Carolyn, who received her daughter’s earliest dictated poems
Weatherford’s son, author-illustrator Jeffrey Boston WeatherfordWeatherford’s son, author-illustrator Jeffrey Boston Weatherford


Guild President Rhoda TrooboffGuild President Rhoda Trooboff
Carole signing copies of her new book, The Roots of RapWeatherford signs her newest book, The Roots of Rap




Author Visits

Book Trailers