|The Evanston Public Library is pleased to announce that the 2nd Annual Blueberry Awards, recognizing excellence in children’s literature about nature and climate stewardship, will be held live this March 23.
The Blueberry Awards ceremony will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, at the Evanston Ecology Center. Local authors, Evanston climate activists and organizations, and library staff will all be in attendance. In addition to the announcement of this year’s winning books, attendees will vote on an audience choice award, enjoy a bonfire, and take a book walk through the Ladd Arboretum featuring an installation of the new winner. The Ecology Center’s animals will also be on hand to share in the celebration. Seats are limited. Register now!
The Blueberry Awards honor children’s literature that strengthens kids’ connections with nature and fosters action for the planet. The Blueberry List, which features books primarily for children ages 3 to 10, is divided into one overall winner and 25 Honor books, plus eight Changemaker books recognized for their outstanding achievement in rallying kids to climate action.
The Evanston Public Library created the Blueberry Award in 2021 to fill a nationwide vacuum: no other children’s literature awards exclusively celebrate the best nature books that promote climate stewardship.
Last year’s Blueberry Award winner was How to Find a Fox by Kate Gardner, with contributions from photographer Ossi Saarinen. Gardner and Saarinen’s work, for kids 4 to 8 years old, was selected for its stunning visual impact as well as its inspiring and informative language. Find last year’s Blueberry List here.
The Blueberry selection committee is organized by staff at EPL, and it includes not only librarians but also staff who’ve studied science. Library Assistant Martha Meyer, who spearheaded the creation of the Blueberry, says that in a world threatened by climate change and ecological disaster, it’s crucial to give children the chance to form a joyous relationship with the environment and learn from the very best writers, illustrators and photographers in children’s literature. “I am so excited to share the 2022 Blueberry Award winners with Evanston’s families and teachers!” says Meyer.
This year’s committee includes City of Evanston Sustainability Coordinator Cara Pratt, and Ethan Johnson, program instructor at the Evanston Ecology Center, which has partnered to host this year’s awards ceremony.
The Evanston Ecology Center has also promoted How to Find a Fox, last year’s Blueberry Award Winner, in a summer book walk in the Ladd Arboretum along with two nighttime fox programs held on the story walk path. Other Blueberry books were featured in a series of storytimes this winter at the center.
In addition to honoring the books and their authors, the Blueberry Awards committee works to advocate for the books and their environmental themes. Last year, the Blueberry committee supplied book lists to organizations like Chicago Botanic Garden and the Morton Arboretum and worked with Natural Start Alliance to produce a Blueberry Award webinar.
Find last year’s Blueberry List and other book lists for kids, teens and adults at epl.org.