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Children’s book awards traditionally have a medal signifying excellence for publishers to place on award-winning book covers. As there is no universally recognized symbol or sign designating disability, it was difficult to create a medal reflecting the purpose of the Schneider Family Book Award. The original jury worked with a graphic designer and responded to publisher feedback to create a circular seal similar in size to other ALA literary awards. Boys and girls holding hands encircling a small world symbolize the ideal of equal treatment for all children everywhere. The colors silver and blue were selected to differentiate this seal from the usual gold of others. The words at the top of the medal, Schneider Family Book Award, are repeated in Braille at the bottom in homage to Dr. Schneider.
-- History of the Medal from the Award Manual
Current Schneider Family Teen Award Winner
This Is My Brain in Love by I. W. Gregorio
Told in dual narrative, This Is My Brain in Love is a stunning YA contemporary romance, exploring mental health, race, and, ultimately self-acceptance, for fans of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and Emergency Contact.
Jocelyn Wu has just three wishes for her junior year: To make it through without dying of boredom, to direct a short film with her BFF Priya Venkatram, and to get at least two months into the year without being compared to or confused with Peggy Chang, the only other Chinese girl in her grade. Will Domenici has two goals: to find a paying summer internship, and to prove he has what it takes to become an editor on his school paper. Then Jocelyn's father tells her their family restaurant may be going under, and all wishes are off. Because her dad has the marketing skills of a dumpling, it's up to Jocelyn and her unlikely new employee, Will, to bring A-Plus Chinese Garden into the 21st century (or, at least, to Facebook). What starts off as a rocky partnership soon grows into something more. But family prejudices and the uncertain future of A-Plus threaten to keep Will and Jocelyn apart. It will take everything they have and more, to save the family restaurant and their budding romance.
Current Schneider Family Children's Award Winner
I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott; Sydney Smith (Illustrator)
What if words got stuck in the back of your mouth whenever you tried to speak? What if they never came out the way you wanted them to? Sometimes it takes a change of perspective to get the words flowing.
I wake up each morning with the sounds of words all around me. And I can't say them all . . . When a boy who stutters feels isolated, alone, and incapable of communicating in the way he'd like, it takes a kindly father and a walk by the river to help him find his voice. Compassionate parents everywhere will instantly recognize a father's ability to reconnect a child with the world around him. Poet Jordan Scott writes movingly in this powerful and ultimately uplifting book, based on his own experience, and masterfully illustrated by Greenaway Medalist Sydney Smith. A book for any child who feels lost, lonely, or unable to fit in.
Current Schneider Family Middle Grade Award Winner
Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte
Deaf author and librarian Ann Clare LeZotte weaves a riveting Own Voices story inspired by the true history of a thriving deaf community on Martha's Vineyard in the early 19th century. Mary Lambert has always felt safe and protected on her beloved island of Martha's Vineyard. Her great-great-grandfather was an early English settler and the first deaf islander. Now, over a hundred years later, many people there -- including Mary -- are deaf, and nearly everyone can communicate in sign language. Mary has never felt isolated. She is proud of her lineage. But recent events have delivered winds of change. Mary's brother died, leaving her family shattered. Tensions over land disputes are mounting between English settlers and the Wampanoag people. And a cunning young scientist has arrived, hoping to discover the origin of the island's prevalent deafness. His maniacal drive to find answers soon renders Mary a "live specimen" in a cruel experiment. Her struggle to save herself is at the core of this penetrating and poignant novel that probes our perceptions of ability and disability. It will make you forever question your own ideas about what is normal.
Current Schneider Family Honor Books
Middle Grade Honor Books
Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! by Sarah KapitIn this epistolary middle grade novel, Vivy Cohen won't let autism stop her from playing baseball--not when she has a major-league pitcher as her pen pal. Vivy Cohen wants to play baseball. Ever since her hero, Major League star pitcher VJ Capello, taught her how to throw a knuckleball at a family fun day for kids with autism, she's been perfecting her pitch. And now she knows she's ready to play on a real team. When her social skills teacher makes her write a letter to someone she knows, she writes to VJ and tells him everything about how much she wants to pitch, and how her mom says she can't because she's a girl and because she has autism. And then two amazing things happen- Vivy meets a Little League coach who invites her to join his team, the Flying Squirrels. And VJ starts writing back.
When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson (Illustrator); Omar Mohamed; Iman Geddy (Illustrator)This remarkable graphic novel is about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a former Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl. Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day. Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It's an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times Bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.
Children's Honor Books
All the Way to the Top by Annette Bay Pimentel; Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins (Foreword by); Nabigal-Nayagam Haider Ali (Illustrator)Experience the true story of lifelong activist Jennifer Keelan-Chaffins and her participation in the Capitol Crawl in this inspiring autobiographical picture book. This beautifully illustrated story includes a foreword from Jennifer and backmatter detailing her life and the history of the disability rights movement. This is the story of a little girl who just wanted to go, even when others tried to stop her. Jennifer Keelan was determined to make a change--even if she was just a kid. She never thought her wheelchair could slow her down, but the way the world around her was built made it hard to do even simple things. Like going to school, or eating lunch in the cafeteria. Jennifer knew that everyone deserves a voice! Then the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law that would make public spaces much more accessible to people with disabilities, was proposed to Congress. And to make sure it passed, Jennifer went to the steps of the Capitol building in Washington DC to convince them. And, without her wheelchair, she climbed. ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP!
Itzhak by Tracy Newman; Abigail Halpin (Illustrator)This picture-book biography of violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman will inspire young readers to follow the melody within themselves. Before becoming one of the greatest violinists of all time, Itzhak Perlman was simply a boy who loved music. Raised by a poor immigrant family in a tiny Tel Aviv apartment, baby Itzhak was transformed by the sounds from his family's kitchen radio--graceful classical symphonies, lively klezmer tunes, and soulful cantorial chants. The rich melodies and vibrant rhythms spoke to him like magic, filling his mind with vivid rainbows of color. After begging his parents for an instrument, Itzhak threw his heart and soul into playing the violin. Despite enormous obstacles--including a near-fatal bout of polio that left him crippled for life--Itzhak persevered, honing his extraordinary gift. When he performed on the Ed Sullivan Show sat only 13, audiences around the world were mesmerized by the warmth, joy, and passion in every note. Gorgeously illustrated with extensive back matter, this picture-book biography recounts Itzhak's childhood journey--from a boy with a dream to an internationally acclaimed violin virtuoso.