Thursday, March 23, 2000
The best in the eyes of young readers
by: Bob Minzesheimer
Norman Rockwell painted her when she was 6, surrounded by four federal marshals, marching to a New Orleans elementary school in the cause of integration.
Nearly 40 years later, Ruby Bridges turned her memories of that experience into a book for children. Today, Through My Eyes (Scholastic, $16.95) wins an award as 1999's best non-fiction children's book that "advances humanitarian ideals and serves as an inspiration to young readers." It's recommended for readers ages 7 to 12.
It's one of three awards from the Bank Street College of Education in New York. Each year, Bank Street organizes a children's book committee - half adults, half kids. They review 4,000 books and recommend 600 for various age groups.
'The work is shared by 28 librarians, teachers, authors and parents and 28 "young reviewers" (ages 7 to 15) from across the country who have in common a passion for books. Today, the committee issues the new edition of The Best Children's Books of the Year, which costs $8, and awards two others prizes:
- For a book "in which young people deal in a positive and realistic way with difficulties" and "grow emotionally and moraly"- Gina Willner- Pardo for Figuring Out Frances (Houghton Mifflin, $14). It's about a 10-year-old girl who's trying to figure out boys, her mother and a grand- mother who has Alzheimer's. For readers 8 to 12.
- For the best poetry book - to Sonya Sones for Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy (HarperCollins, $14.95). It's about dealing with an older sister's mental breakdown. For readers 12 to 14.
For more information, call 212-8754540 or see www.bankstreet.edu/bookcom.