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NCTE Conference and Charlotte Huck and Orbis Pictus Book Awards

Charlotte Huck Award winner Jonathan Auxier (left) and Orbis Pictus winner Sandra Neil Wallace (right). Photo courtesy of Jen Bryant.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children and the Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction! Mary Ann and Erika have just returned from the annual conference, having served as chairs of the two committees. The past five days have been filled with great conversations, wonderful books, and inspiring ideas. We’ll use this post to share the winners and some highlights.

The winner of the Orbis Pictus award is Sandra Neil Wallace and BryanBetween the Lines Collier’s Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery, published by Simon and Schuster Books for Children, which Katie blogged about here on The Classroom Bookshelf back in March. In September, Grace blogged about teaching with Orbis Pictus Honor recipient Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germian, written by Cheryl Bardoe, illustrated by Barbara McClintock, and published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.




The winner of the Huck award is Jonathan Auxier’s Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster, published by Amulet books. This immersive and atmospheric story is set in Victorian London and tells the tale of Nan, a determined orphaned girl, her monster who has grown from a fireplace ember into a Golem, and a band of young climbing boys (child chimney sweeps).  Back in October, Mary Ann blogged about Charlotte Huck Honor recipient Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina, published by Candlewick Press.

Build Your Stack, a new initiative developed by incoming NCTE president Franki Sibberson, rolled out at the conference this year. In the center of the exhibit hall, a largeBuild-Your-Stack-web-header gathering area with a stage was created. The space had the feel of a cafe, with tables, armchairs, and refreshments. Throughout the conference, authors, illustrators, publishers and educators spoke about the titles they love. The goal of this initiative is “ helping teachers build their book knowledge and their classroom libraries.”  IMG_5422

Several Huck committee members participated, sharing book talks about the 2018 Huck award winners. The conversations generated by books through this initiative are ongoing – be sure to check out the Build Your Stack Blog , which shares thematic listings of recommended titles. 

Another initiative this year was the reinvention of the Orbis Pictus IMG_2929 Committee presentation format. Members of the committee focused on teaching thematically with the 2018 Orbis Pictus titles. You can use the QR codes below to access the presentation, handout, and the book reviews for the 2018 titles.


QR Codes

As we close out our terms on these important committees, we’d like to encourage you to consider applying to serve. Applications for the Orbis Pictus Committee and the Charlotte Huck Committee are open to NCTE members and are due on December 1st. We have loved the opportunity to be fully immersed in reading such a range of titles, culling through to identify those that have the greatest potential to impact students’ learning. WIth the sheer volume of titles published each year, awards such as these support teachers to make strong choices for their students. Each committee focuses on creating a list of winning titles that represent diverse voices and diverse experiences as well as the highest quality of writing and illustration. Participating on these committee has been tremendously rewarding as a professional development experience. We’ve had the joy of learning from our committee members who bring multiple perspectives and great knowledge of the field of children’s literature.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll blog about more of the Orbis Pictus and Huck award winners. In the meantime, we wish you and your loved ones a joyous and peaceful Thanksgiving week. We close with the Cherokee word for “We are Grateful,” from one of our Orbis Pictus Honor recipients: Otsaliheliga!

Mary Ann Cappiello About Mary Ann Cappiello

Mary Ann is a professor of language and literacy at Lesley University. A former public school language arts and humanities teacher, she is a passionate advocate for and commentator on children’s books. Mary Ann is the co-author of Teaching with Text Sets (2013) and Teaching to Complexity (2015) and Text Sets in Action: Pathways Through Content Area Literacy (Stenhouse, 2021). She has been a guest on public radio and a consultant to public television. From 2015-2018, Mary Ann was a member of the National Council of Teachers of English's Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction (K-8) Committee, serving two years as chair.


  1. Mary Ann Scheuer says

    Such a great collection of books! Please correct incoming NCTE president’s name: Franki Sibberson