Children’s book awards point readers in the direction of outstanding books for fiction and nonfiction, picture book and children’s novels. The 2014 award winners will delight, intrigue, and entertain readers of all ages.

“Flora & Ulysses” by Kate DiCamillo, Illustrated by K. G. Campbell, 2013, Candlewick Press, 233 pages, ages 9-12.

Comic book meets novel in this zany adventure of a very special flying squirrel and the young girl who befriends him. Their adventures lead to a search for a place where both girl and squirrel can belong. Soft charcoal paneled illustrations are interspersed among the chapters, giving readers additional insights into the emotions and actions of the characters, including the heroes and villains. 2014 Newbery Medal for distinguished contributions to American literature for children.

“Parrots Over Puerto Rico” by Susan L. Roth & Cindy Trumbore, Illustrated by Susan L. Roth, 2013, Lee & Low Books, ages 6-11.

Puerto Rican parrots, with their flash of bright blue feathers, lived in peace for centuries on the island of Puerto Rico, until humans brought change. On the brink of extinction, humans would also lead the charge to save the parrots. This informational book describes the plight of the Puerto Rican parrots, while also presenting historical events, beginning with the early people who arrived in Puerto Rico centuries ago, and continuing to the present day people and their efforts to conserve and protect the parrots. Captivating bold colors and textured details fill the illustrations created from paper and fabric collage. 2014 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal

“Each Kindness” by Jacqueline Woodson, Illustrated by E. B. Lewis, 2012, ages 5-10.

Each day we can choose to be kind to others or not. In “Each Kindness”, a young girl struggles with her decisions to be unwelcoming to a new student, until she comes to school one day and the new girl is gone, not to return to the school. Sadness and regret are important teachers for the lesson that a chance to show kindness that is untaken will be forever gone. Soft watercolor illustrations display the emotions of longing, loneliness, impatience, and understanding. 2014 Bill Martin Jr. Picturebook Award and 2013 Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

“Locomotive” by Brian Floca, 2013, Antheneum Books, ages 6-10.

The history of locomotives is told through one family’s trek from Omaha to Sacramento in the late 1800’s. On oversized pages, detailed watercolor and ink illustrations combine with a poetic-style text and the use of various fonts, sizes, and color to create a sense of motion and travel. Endnotes by the author present factual information about the impact of the steam locomotive and railroad on travel, commerce, and other aspects of American life. 2014 Caldecott Medal for picturebook illustrations and 2014 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal, Honor Book

Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler