Honor Books

Recommended Books

Award Details

Nomination Deadline:  October 15

Purpose: 

The NCTE Orbis Pictus Award® was established in 1989 to promote and recognize excellence in the writing of nonfiction for children. Orbis Pictus commemorates the work of Johannes Amos Comenius, Orbis Pictus—The World in Pictures(1657), considered to be the first book actually planned for children.

Eligibility:
Books must have been published or distributed in the United States during the calendar year. Nominations of individual books may come from publishers, NCTE membership, and from the educational community at large. Any title of nonfiction literature which has as its central purpose the sharing of information may be nominated. This includes biography, but excludes textbooks, historical fiction, folklore, or poetry.

Nonfiction books are defined as those written, designed, and organized to interpret documentable, factual material for children. Books must be an original work.

The following are ineligible: traditional literature (e.g., folktales), poetry, and book reissues.

Award Criteria:
Each nomination should meet the following literary criteria:

  • Accuracy—current and complete facts, balance of fact and theory, varying point of view, avoidance of stereotypes, author’s qualifications adequate, appropriate scope, authenticity of detail
  • Organization—logical development, clear sequence, interrelationships indicated, patterns provided (general-to-specific, simple-to-complex, etc.)
  • Design—attractive, readable, illustrations complement text, placement of illustrative material appropriate and complementary, appropriate media, format, type
  • Style—writing is interesting, stimulating, reveals author’s enthusiasm for subject; curiosity and wonder encouraged, appropriate terminology, rich language

In addition, each nomination should be useful in classroom teaching grades K-8, should encourage thinking and more reading, model exemplary expository writing and research skills, share interesting and timely subject matter, and appeal to a wide range of ages.

Award Specifics:
The award is presented annually by the Chair of the Orbis Pictus Award Committee at the Children’s Book Awards Luncheon during the NCTE Annual Convention.

  • The award-winning author and/or illustrator receive a plaque and are the featured speaker(s) at the luncheon.
  • The honor book author(s) and/or illustrator(s) are recognized, receive a certificate, and are invited to present at a session following the luncheon.

Deadline:
Nominations must be submitted to the Award Committee by October 15. One copy of each book nominated should be sent to the committee members for examination. Advanced copies or galley proofs are acceptable and encouraged, especially for books published after October 15. Contact elementary@ncte.org for award committee member information to nominate a book.

Judging:
Members of the Orbis Pictus Award Committee select the award recipient and up to five honor books annually. Although only one title is singled out for the award each year, up to five honor books are also recognized. Eight additional recommended books can be named.

Learn more about the Orbis Pictus Award Committee and apply to be a member.

Orbis Pictus Award seals are available to accompany winning books and their future printings. The seals serve to endorse the excellence of the books and distinguish them from among the thousands of books published each year. Seals are $.20 each and available in gold for winning books, silver for honor books, and bronze for recommended books.

To place an order, please call our customer service department toll-free at 1-877-369-6283.

2017 Orbis Pictus Awards

 

2017 Winner

Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White,
written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)

 

Honor Books:

  • Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Animal Infographics by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)
  • The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial written by Susan E. Goodman, illustrated by E. B. Lewis (Bloomsbury)
  • Giant Squid by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann (Roaring Brook Press)
  • I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
  • ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! Descubriendo el bosque nublado / Olinguito, from A to Z: Unveiling the Cloud Forest by Lulu Delacre (Children’s Book Press)

Recommended Books:

  • Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer by Diane Stanley, illustrated by Jessie Hartland (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
  • Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
  • Comics Confidential: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box compiled and edited by Leonard Marcus (Candlewick Press)
  • Dive! World War II Stories of Sailors & Submarines in the Pacific by Deborah Hopkinson (Scholastic)
  • How to Build a Museum: Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture by Tonya Bolden (Viking Books for Young Readers)
  • Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber by Sue Macy, illustrated by C. F. Payne (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
  • Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson (Carolrhoda)
  • Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness by Donna Janell Bowman, illustrated by Daniel Minter (Lee & Low Books)

 

Past Orbis Pictus Award Winners 2010-Present

Past Orbis Pictus Award Winners 2000-2010

Past Orbis Pictus Award Winners 1990-2000