The Bulletin of 

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of the Center for Children's Books

Blue Ribbons are chosen annually by the Bulletin staff and represent what we believe to be the best of the previous year's literature for youth. See the Blue Ribbon Archive for other lists from 1990 through the present. Please feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We ask only that you cite the source.

1998 Blue Ribbons

It is nearly impossible to isolate the specific combination of attributes that makes a book a Bulletin Blue Ribbon. Fortunately, the books that are unanimously selected for the list early in the discussion process (and there are some titles that are unan imously selected, despite the disparate tastes of the committee members) set the tone for what will join them. When we are weary of literary chat and doggedly hanging on to our most treasured titles, someone will invariably say, "But how does this book c ompare to the books already named for the list?" It's a good question, and one that, more often than not, pushes a questionable title one way or the other. Here is the list of Bulletin Blue Ribbon books for 1998, including two late entries from 1997. T here are picture books, fiction, nonfiction, and even a couple of easy readers. We think these titles exemplify those elusive qualities that make a book stand out from the rest, even if the rest are very, very good. Happy New Year.

Janice M. Del Negro, Editor





  • Burleigh, Robert. Black Whiteness: Admiral Byrd Alone in the Antarctic; illus. by Walter Lyon Krudop. Atheneum. (February)

    Excerpts from Byrd's diary are effectively combined with description and windblown oils to evoke the explorer's famous solitary stay.

  • Colman, Penny. Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial. Holt, 1997. (February)

    Colman's personal yet factual approach to death and its aftermath provides a fascinating overview of how the world deals with the inescapable end.

  • Denton, Kady MacDonald, comp. A Child's Treasury of Nursery Rhymes ; comp. and illus. by Kady MacDonald Denton. Kingfisher. (January 1999)

    Expressive characters and an imaginative collection of rhymes familiar and surprising make this a nursery near-necessity.

  • Farrell, Jeanette. Invisible Enemies: Stories of Infectious Disease. Farrar. (June)

    In an account that includes sociology, politics, history, and science, Farrell details humanity's struggle with seven world-altering infectious diseases.

  • Freedman, Russell. Martha Graham: A Dancer's Life. Clarion. (June)

    Stunning photography of Graham on the terpsichorean wing is matched by Freedman's masterly chronicle of the artist's dramatic life.

  • Greenberg, Jan. Chuck Close: Up Close; by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan. DK Ink. (May)

    "Up close" proves to be a rewarding way to meet this important contemporary artist and his portraiture.

  • Lobel, Anita. No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War. Greenwillow. (October)

    The particularity and honesty of Lobel's account of her Holocaust experiences makes this memoir memorable indeed.

  • Mark, Jan, ad. God's Story; illus. by David Parkins. Candlewick. (May)

    Mark's confidential, storytelling tone makes the prickly relationship between God and his human creation come alive in this retelling of biblical legend and midrash.

  • Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. Snowflake Bentley; illus. by Mary Azarian. Houghton. (December)

    Martin's crisp, delicate prose is snowflake-perfect for this gentle biography of self-taught scientist and pioneering snowflake photographer Wilson Bentley.

  • Norman, Howard, ad. The Girl Who Dreamed Only Geese and Other Tales of the Far North; illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon. Gulliver/Harcourt, 1997. (February)

    The formatting and artwork are elegant but the prose is lively and colloquial in this unusual collection.

  • Philip, Neil, comp. War and the Pity of War; illus. by Michael McCurdy. Clarion. (November)

    McCurdy's stark woodcuts set the tone for this selective yet wide-ranging poetry compilation.

  • Solheim, James. It's Disgusting-and We Ate It!: True Food Facts from Around the World-and Throughout History! ; illus. by Eric Brace. Simon. (April)

    High-spirited and new-wavy illustrations add a zany touch to this toothsome and genuinely edifying piece of anthropology.

  • Stanley, Diane. Joan of Arc; written and illus. by Diane Stanley. Morrow. (September)

    The eternally fascinating saint gets the Stanley treatment, with available fact and examination of the legend expanding her story.

  • Wick, Walter. Walter Wick's Optical Tricks; written and illus. by Walter Wick. Cartwheel/Scholastic. (October)

    Brilliantly conceived structures bring apparently impossible images to photographic life in this blend of puzzle book and conceptual exploration.

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    This page was last updated on January 1, 1999.