Gryphon Award Archive

The Gryphon Award is given annually in recognition of an English language work of fiction or non-fiction for which the primary audience is children in Kindergarten through Grade 4. The title chosen best exemplifies those qualities that successfully bridge the gap in difficulty between books for reading aloud to children and books for practiced readers.

Below you will find an archive of all past award winners and honor books since the award was first granted in 2004.

20162015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004


2016 Winner

Hatke, Ben. Little Robot; written and illus. by Ben Hatke. First Second, 2015. Gr. 2-4

Wordless sequences along with short bursts of simple dialogue guide readers through this early reader graphic novel that follows our young heroine and her tiny tool belt as she repairs, befriends, and adventures with a goofy but sincere robot. The effective use of silence and panels make the reading experience an interactive one, allowing kids to create their own meaning in various places within the book.

2016 Honor Books

Paschkis, Julie. Flutter & Hum: Animal Poems/Aleteo y Zumbido: Poemas de Animales; written and illustrated by Julie Paschkis. Holt, 2015. 3-6 yrs

This bilingual collection of fourteen animal poems invites a range of early readers to explore either or both English and Spanish text. Playful, short lined verses give more experienced kids opportunities to flex their reading chops, while solo words embedded in the illustrations give younger readers the chance to pick and choose which words they want to tackle

Seltzer, Eric. The Long Dog; written and illus. by Eric Seltzer. Scholastic, 2015. (Level 1 Readers) Gr. K-1

Hot dogs, cold dogs, young dog, old dogs, they’re all here in this rhyming series of canine conditions. Tight structure, comic vignettes, careful patterning, and a touch of wordplay lift this well above the usual beginning reader in its cleverness, and young readers will get a kick out of following the titular long dog as he pops up throughout the book, no end in sight, until the final few pages.

 

2015 Winner

skateboardparty_gryphon15English, Karen. Skateboard Party; illus. by Laura Freeman. Clarion, 2014 (The Carver Chronicles). Gr. 3-5.

English not only knows her grade-school kids but also her grade-school classrooms, and the result is a school and family story that contemporary kids will instantly recognize; the appealing protagonist’s struggle with procrastination is matter-of-factly but sympathetically treated, and it will strike a chord with many readers.

 

 

 

2015 Honor Books

gravity_gryphon15Chin, Jason. Gravity; written and illus. by Jason Chin. Porter/Roaring Brook, 2014. 4-7 yrs.

Chin’s straightforward scientific text is clear and accessible to novice readers, and they’ll be supported and intrigued by the complementary narrative in the illustrations that turns the simple facts of gravity into a kid’s dramatic adventure when gravity suddenly fails.

 

theslug_gryphon15Gravel, Elise. The Slug; written and illus. by Elise Gravel. Tundra, 2014. Gr. 1-4.

The Disgusting Critters series is a triumphant blend of grossness, information, and goofy humor in text and art; our choice for its best representative is The Slug, whose starring mollusc offers animatedly commentary in the illustrations as the main text cheerfully explains slug habits, slug biology, and, of course, slug slime.

 

maddykettle_gryphon15Orchard, Eric. Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch; written and illus. by Eric Orchard. Top Shelf, 2014. Gr. 2-4.

This galloping fantasy adventure in graphic novel form provides a level of action unusual in a book for early readers; the sophisticated and atmospheric visuals will especially draw movie-loving kids, and they effectively partner the accessible, dialogue-only text.

 

 

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2014 Winner

battlebunny_gryphon14Scieszka, Jon and Mac Barnett, and Alex. Battle Bunny; illus. by Matthew Myers but mostly Alex. Simon, 2013. Gr. 1-3.

Both a sendup of saccharine period picture books and a tribute to kid invention, this deliciously comic outing follows young Alex’s savage textual and illustrative transforming of a treacly bunny tale into a saga of a thwarted attempt at world rabbit domination.

 

 

 

2014 Honor Books

yearofthejungle_gryphon14Collins, Suzanne. Year of the Jungle; illus. by James Proimos. Scholastic, 2013. 5-7 yrs.

Sophisticated cartoonish illustrations lend both accessibility and emotional heft to this subtle, poignant tale of a young girl’s difficulty in dealing with her father’s absence in the Vietnam War.

 

luluandthedog_gryphon14McKay, Hilary. Lulu and the Dog from the Sea; illus. by Priscilla Lamont. Whitman, 2013. Gr. 2-3.

The second book in this early chapter series is a classic chapter book that hits all the right notes from its high-spirited heroine to its breezy sentence structure to its kid-friendly plot, making this tale of pet rescue one to recommend.

 

 

 

bugjuice_gryphon14Sternberg, Julie. Like Bug Juice on a Burger; illus. by Matthew Cordell. Amulet Abrams, 2013. Gr. 2-3.

As young Eleanor struggles adjusting to summer camp, her tentative yet heartfelt voice is deftly conveyed in Sternberg’s ragged right prose, and this compassionate but pragmatic look at a familiar kid experience will find an appreciative audience with young homebodies.

 

 

 

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2013 Winner

island_gryphon13Chin, Jason. Island: A Story of the Galápagos; written and illus. by Jason Chin. Porter/Roaring Brook, 2012. Gr. 2-5.

Gorgeous watercolor illustrations are composed in full-page spreads and helpful thumbnail panels to guide young readers through the scientific study of an ecosystem and evolution.

 

 

 

2013 Honor Books

littledoglost_gryphon13Carnesi, Mônica. Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic; written and illus. by Mônica Carnesi. Paulsen/Penguin, 2012. 3-7 yrs.

Simple, immediate text paired with pale, chilly illustrations tell the riveting true story of poor Dog, who was caught on an ice floe in a river that’s heading out to sea, and the humans who saved him.

 

binkandgollietwoforone_gryphon13DiCamillo, Kate and Alison McGhee. Bink and Gollie: Two for One; illus. by Tony Fucile. Candlewick, 2012. Gr. 2-4.

The endearing partnership of polar-opposite friends Bink and Gollie is the highlight of this delightful convergence of picture books, graphic novels, and early readers.

 

 

 

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2012 Winner

picklejuice_gryphon12Sternberg, Julie. Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie; illus. by Matthew Cordell. Amulet/Adams, 2011. Gr. 2-3.

Sternberg captures a sensitive kid’s first experience of loss with tender respectfulness in this story of Eleanor, whose beloved babysitter from birth, Bibi, moves away.

 

 

 

2012 Honor Books

no1carspotter_gryphon12Atinuke. The No. 1 Car Spotter; illus. by Warwick Johnson Cadwell. Kane Miller Books, 2011. Gr. 2-4.

Automotive hijinks and boyish mischief are spotlighted in this effervescent chapter book that centers on life in a small African village and the boy who is its “No. 1 car spotter,” Oluwalase Babatunde Benson.

 

 

 

dearhotdog_gryphon12Gerstein, Mordicai. Dear Hot Dog; written and illus. by Mordicai Gerstein. Abrams, 2011 Gr. 2-5.

Over a score of free-verse odes to simple elements of kid life such as the toothbrush, crayons, rain, socks, even air provide accessibility, creativity, and touches of humor, making for an appealing mix to read alone or aloud.

 

waitingmagic_gryphon12MacLachlan, Patricia. Waiting for the Magic; illus. by Amy June Bates. Atheneum, 2011. Gr. 3-5.

A touch of fantasy in the form of talking animals gives this thoughtful tale of family reconciliation wide appeal while the unique formatting makes it eminently accessible to transitional readers.

 

 

 

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2011 Winner

weareinabook_gryphon11Willems, Mo. We Are in a Book! Hyperion, 2010. Gr. K-1.

Elephant and Piggie are at it again, only this time they find themselves pondering the nature of their literary existence in this delightful piece of meta-fiction that remains as accessible as it is funny.

 

 

2011 Honor Books

binkandgollie_gryphon11DiCamillo, Kate and Alison McGhee. Bink & Gollie; illus. by Tony Fucile. Candlewick, 2010. Gr. 2-4.

Lithe, lively illustrations combine with comic, compact text to tell the tale of Bink and Gollie, two very different girls and very best friends.

 

 

 

 

princessposey_gryphon11Greene, Stephanie. Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade; illus. by Stephanie Roth Sisson. Putnam, 2010. Gr. 1-2.

Readers anxiously awaiting a new school year will find a kindred spirit in Posey as she overcomes her entering-first-grade jitters in this appealing early chapter book.

 

 

 

DancingPancake_gryphon11Spinelli, Eileen. The Dancing Pancake; illus. by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff. Knopf, 2010. Gr. 3-6.

Cozy, accessible free-verse poetry adds to the charm of this tale of friendship in the face of adversity as sixth-grader Bindi is forced to deal with her anger over her parents’ separation.

 

 

 

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2010 Winner

adventuresincartooning_gryphon10Sturm, James, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost. Adventures in Cartooning. Center for Cartoon Studies / First Second/ Roaring Brook, 2009. Gr. 2-5.

Through an engaging knight and dragon tale, replete with familiar folkloric elements and surprise twists, the three author/illustrators demonstrate how to transform a promising idea into creative, effective comic book format. Aspiring cartoonists and graphic novel neophytes will embrace this introduction to crafting comics and bridging readers will enjoy putting their literary and visual skills into simultaneous action.

2010 Honor Books

nikkianddeja_gryphon10English, Karen. Nikki & Deja: Birthday Blues; illus. by Laura Freeman. Clarion Books, 2009. Gr. 2-4.

Best friends Nikki and Deja are planning a party for Deja’s eighth birthday, but Deja’s happy anticipation is troubled when Antonia, new girl and nemesis, preempts the birthday guest list with her own “Just Because” same day/same time party. This is a realistic portrayal of the difficult—but often unacknowledged—dilemmas that elementary age children regularly face and negotiate, and the ways in which sympathetic friends and adults (plus a fortuitous party day rainstorm) can make all the difference.

 

 

alvinho_gryphon10Look, Lenore. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters; illus. by LeUyen Pham. Schwartz & Wade Books, 2009. Gr. 2-4.

When dad suggests a family camping trip, Alvin Ho responds with a long list of fears (“I am afraid of everything, especially the woods—they are full of trees”). However, with the help of carefully selected Internet purchases, plus advice from Uncle Dennis (“Secret Tip Number One: Dryer lint can save your life”), Alvin’s anxieties begin to subside—well, sort of subside.

 

 

kitfeeny_gryphon10Townsend, Michael. Kit Feeny: On the Move. Knopf, 2009. Gr. 2-5.

This graphic novel follows Kit Feeny, a comic book aficionado and pizza lover, who is forced to leave his best friend Arnold behind when his family moves. As the new kid in school, he inadvertantly incurs the wrath of “Devon the Bully Comedian” as he searches for a replacement for Arnold. Kit learns that although he cannot replace an old friend, he can find a new one who helps Kit find his own place in his new surroundings.

 

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2009 Winner

frogs_gryphon09Bishop, Nic. Frogs. Scholastic, 2008. Gr. 2-5.

Bishop combines arresting close-up photos with an information-rich text featuring frogs of a range of sizes, colors (including transparent!), and habitats. This fascinating combination of accessible text and brilliant photos could well inspire a whole new generation of frog aficionados.

 

 

2009 Honor Books

badkittygetsabath_gryphon09Bruel, Nick. Bad Kitty Gets a Bath. Roaring Brook, 2008. Gr. 2-4.

Start with the fact that CATS HATE BATHS!!! Add one Bad Kitty, who really really really needs a bath! The result is a hilarious book of instructions and bath disaster slapstick as the good intentions of responsible pet ownership collide with the reality of a bath-phobic cat.

 

 

 

tractionman_gryphon09Grey, Mini. Traction Man Meets TurboDog. Knopf, 2008. Gr. 2-4.

This adventure stars intrepid action toy figure Traction Man, faithful companion Scrubbing Brush, the battery-operated interloper TurboDog, and assorted household objects. both benevolent and fearsome. The text recalls comic book superhero tales, while the action-filled illustrations include the many incidental texts (product labels, cereal boxes, etc.) that comprise the newly literate readers’ world.

 

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2008 Winner

billytartle_gryphon08Townsend, Michael. Billy Tartle in Say Cheese!. Knopf, 2007. Gr. 2-4.

School picture day is fast approaching, and Billy is determined to liven his up. When his mother nixes his dream haircut (“it should have 5 points … oh, and it must be pink”), Billy’s Plan B makes the class picture even more special. This humorous anti-boredom fantasy of the ultimate school picture day is told in an exuberant graphic novel format.

 

 

2008 Honor Books

spiders_gryphon08Bishop, Nic. Spiders. Scholastic, 2007. Gr. 2-4.

The text begins, “Spiders were hunting long before lions and tigers. They were hunting even before Tyrannosaurus rex.” This book is an absorbing account of 15 varieties of spiders illustrated with Bishop’s arresting and colorful photos of spiders in action–crawling, jumping, spinning, capturing, devouring, and other spidery activities.

 

 

rufusthescrub_gryphon08McEwan, Jamie. Rufus the Scrub Does Not Wear a Tutu; illus. by John Margeson. Darby Creek, 2007. Gr. 2-4.

Young would-be football player Rufus is benched by his clumsiness until he makes a bold leap into ballet lessons. He successfully defies his teasing teammates, and skilled instruction and ‘practice practice practice’ help him acquire the agility he needs to make that winning play. Take that, you ballet scoffers!

 

 

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2007 Winner

stellina_gryphon07Pericoli, Matteo. The True Story of Stellina. Knopf, 2006. Gr. 2-5.

Stellina, a little wild finch, is found on a Manhattan sidewalk by the author’s wife. She brings the bird home to her artist husband and the two raise Stellina as their own. This book’s words and pictures tell the true story of Stellina’s eight years with her human family.

 

 

 

 

2007 Honor Books

seahorse_gryphon07Butterworth, Chris. Sea Horse: The Shyest Fish in the Sea; illus. by John Lawrence. Candlewick, 2006. 4-8 yrs.

With its detailed and muted illustrations of wood block prints and watercolor washes, this book introduces and describes the life and life cycle of the elusive seahorse.

 

rubylu_gryphon07Look, Lenore. Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything; illus. by Anne Wilsdorf. Scholastic, 2006. Gr. 2-4.

In this second tale of Ruby Lu, Flying Duck, Ruby Lu’s cousin from China, comes to stay with the family. This initially wondrous news to Ruby Lu is tempered by the reality of her cousin’s presence and his lack of interest in knuckling under to her strong will and activity preferences. Adventures follow.

 

 

 

goodboyfergus_gryphon07Shannon, David. Good Boy, Fergus!. Blue Sky Press, 2006. 3-6 yrs.

Fergus, star of this boldly illustrated picture book, is a mischievous yet good-natured young dog who is just looking for some fun. His journey takes him from potted plants (edible) to dog food with a whipped cream topping (very edible) and culminate in a cat chase (not edible but still entertaining).

 

 

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2006 Winner

stinkysternforever_gryphon06Edwards, Michelle. Stinky Stern Forever. Harcourt, 2005. Gr. 2-4.

Stinky Stern is the bully of the second grade class, but one afternoon he is suddenly gone, killed in a car accident. His stunned classmates share their mixed feelings of loss and bewilderment as they respond to Stinky’s death in this sensitive and honest story. How do you grieve for someone you didn’t always like?

 

 

 

2006 Honor Books

babymouse_gryphon06Holm, Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm. Babymouse: Queen of the World!. Random House, 2005. Gr. 2-4.

This black-white-and-pink graphic novel tells the story of Babymouse, a young mouse with an attitude, who is tired of the monotony of her life (get up, go to school, return overdue library books—boring!). She’d really rather be queen of the world! Failing that, she’ll settle for an invitation to Felicia Furrypants’ super-cool slumber party.

 

 

chameleon_gryphon06Cowley, Joy. Chameleon, Chameleon; illus. with photographs by Nic Bishop. Scholastic, 2005. Gr. 1-3.

The informative text and full-color, close-up photographs depict the life of a chameleon, who journeys through the tropical forest in search of a new home: climbing, jumping, grabbing a snack, crawling, averting danger, and grabbing a snack.

 

jigsawpony_gryphon06Hass, Jessie. Jigsaw Pony; illus. by Ying-Hwa Hu. Greenwillow, 2005. Gr. 2-4.

Twins Fran and Kiera are the proud owners of their very own pony, Jigsaw. The two girls must work together learn the necessary skills to care for Jigsaw in this chapter book devoted to the joys and responsibilities of having an equine pet.

 

 

 

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2005 Winner

littleratrides_gryphon05Bang-Campbell, Monika. Little Rat Rides; illus. by Molly Bang. Harcourt, 2004. Gr. 2-3.

Little Rat wants to ride a horse, just like her daddy, but horses are so BIG! Her initial jitters are eased when she finally meets, mounts, and rides Pee Wee, a “mountain on four legs,” and the two prepare for the Big Event—the Fourth of July horse show.

 

 

 

2005 Honor Books

PB_COVER_Smarter Than Squirrels.qxdNolan, Lucy. Down Girl and Sit: Smarter Than Squirrels; illus. by Mike Reed. Marshall Cavendish, 2004. Gr. 2-4.

Best friends and neighbors Down Girl and Sit are “smarter than squirrels” dogs with the seemingly simple task of keeping their neighborhood safe from intruders. However, when Here Kitty Kitty moves in, the two dogs meet unexpected challenges.

 

 

 

youread_gryphon05Hoberman, Mary Ann. You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together; illus. by Michael Emberley. Little Brown, 2004. Gr. 2-3.

Classic fairy tales (The Three Bears, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc.) are succinctly retold in conversational rhymes designed to be read aloud by pairs of readers—adult/child or child/child. A well-arranged and color-coded text, plus humorous, cartoon-like illustrations, will attract reluctant and fluent readers alike.

 

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2004 Winner

bowwowmeowmeow_gryphon04Florian, Douglas. Bow Wow Meow Meow: It’s Rhyming Cats and Dogs. Harcourt, 2003. Gr. 2-4.

In this collection of witty dog- and cat-inspired poetry, watercolor collage paintings face each poem. The art enhances the humorous qualities of the poetry (for example, the puzzling ocelot has spots made of question marks) and visually highlights the textual puns for young readers.

 

2004 Honor Books

snowedin_gryphon04Fenner, Carol. Snowed in with Grandmother Silk; illus. by Amanda Harvey. Dial, 2003. Gr. 2-4.

Ruddy is not looking forward to spending Halloween with his stuffy Grandmother Silk. But when an early snowstorm hits, leaving his grandmother’s rural home without water, electricity or telephone, the two of them must work together to keep themselves warm and fed. In the days they spend waiting for the power to return, they also become friends.

 

 

lunchwalksamongus_gryphon04Benton, Jim. Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist: Lunch Walks among Us. Simon & Schuster, 2003. Gr. 2-5.

Franny K. Stein is not like the other kids. A skilled mad scientist of unlimited mad talent, she succeeds in masking some of her geekiness in order to fit in with her classmates. But when the students inadvertently create a Giant Monstrous Fiend—which promptly kidnaps the teacher and takes her to the top of the school flagpole a la King Kong—Franny must reclaim her identity and save the day.

 

 

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