2023 Irma Black Award and Cook Prize Winners Announced

The Bank Street College of Education’s Center for Children’s Literature has announced the 2023 winners of the Irma Black Award and Cook Prize, which went to Bathe the Cat by Alice B. McGinty, illus. by David Roberts and Anglerfish: The Seadevil of the Deep by Elaine M. Alexander, illus. by Fiona Fogg, respectively.

Irma Black and Cook Award winning books


The Bank Street College of Education’s Center for Children’s Literature (CCL) has announced the 2023 winners of the Irma Black Award and Cook Prize.

The Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children's Literature (Irma Black Award) is awarded annually to "an outstanding book for young children in which text and illustrations are inseparable, each enhancing and enlarging on the other to produce a singular whole."

The 2023 Irma Black winner is Bathe the Cat by Alice B. McGinty, illustrated by David Roberts (Chronicle).

A family with two dads and three children tries to get the house straightened before the arrival of grandma; however, the cat keeps scrambling the list of chores,” CLC director Cynthia Weill says. “The pencil and watercolor illustrations add to the overall zaniness of the tale. The illustrations and rhyming text complement one another making for a hilarious read-aloud. Even parents will enjoy reading the book over and over.”

Three books were named Irma Black silver medalists: The World Belonged to Us by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Leo Espinosa (Penguin); John's Turn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kate Berube (Candlewick); and The Best Kind of Mooncake by Pearl AuYeung (Page Street Kids).

The Cook Prize honors the best STEM picture book for children aged 8-10. The 2023 Cook Prize gold medalist is Anglerfish: The Seadevil of the Deep by Elaine M. Alexander, illustrated by Fiona Fogg (Candlewick).

There were two Cook Prize silver medalists: Infinity: Figuring Out Forever by Sarah C. Campbell, photographed by Sarah C. Campell and Richard P. Campbell (Astra); and The Mystery of the Monarchs by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Erika Meza (Knopf).

A panel of judges selects finalists, but children from the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia voted to choose the winners.

“Bank Street is a great advocate for experiential and child-centered learning,” says Weil. “The process of choosing these awards helps children sharpen their observational and advocacy skills. It is a very fun critical thinking activity that deepens children's love for and joy in reading.”

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