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  • 2018 Wanda Gág Read Aloud Book Awards

    2018 Wanda Gág Read Aloud Book Award Winner

    Escargot written by Dashka Slater, illustrated by Sydney Hanson, and published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group, 2017.


    Who loves a snail? Do you? After reading the book Escargot, you just might! Escargot, a French snail and the main character, is full of personality and humor. As Escargot leads readers on a journey across the table toward a yummy salad,  he asks them to talk about their favorite animals while also encouraging them to try a “hated” food. The clever French snail with a self-loving attitude and subtle humor makes this a book to be enjoyed by all ages – especially when read with a French accent!     

    Young readers in preschool through third grade enjoyed the opportunity to engage with the text while listening to the story. Reader comments included: “The book was very interactive and asked questions that required a response from the children” and “The children bounced with excitement through the entire story and chattered along as the snail asked questions.” Readers commented that the artwork was phenomenal. Children thought that the realistic art “looked like the snail could just crawl off the page.” Children were also curious and intrigued by the French words sprinkled throughout the text.

    Award-winning author and journalist Dashka Slater’s writing spans the range from children’s picture books to teen and adult novels to news magazines. Her writing career officially began at age 10 with publication of her poetry in Cricket magazine. She went on to receive a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Writing is a family affair for Dashka as her parents were both authors and she collaborated with her six-year-old son in writing the     book, Dangerously Ever After. In Dashka’s words, “I believe you’re never too old or too young to stay up all night reading.”

    Minnesota-born illustrator Sydney Hanson’s beautiful artwork reflects her love of animals. Her career includes work as an animator for Nickelodeon and Disney Interactive. Hanson lives in Los Angeles. [LISA STEIGER]

    2018 Wanda Gág Read Aloud Honor Book

    After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again written and illustrated by Dan Santat, and published by Roaring Brook Press, 2017.

    After the FallHave you ever wondered what COULD have happened if all the king’s horses and all the king’s men COULD have put Humpty together again? This modern day twist on a favorite nursery rhyme classic tells the tale of a legendary egg who faces his fears and triumphs in a surprising and majestic way.

    From the familiarity of the main character, to the appreciation of the illustrations, to the surprise ending, young children thoroughly enjoyed this book. Not only was it an interesting twist on a familiar nursery rhyme, but it also contained agreat message of perseverance which spurred great enthusiasm and discussion about facing fears.     

     Dan Santat is the author and illustrator of numerous children’s picture books and his artwork is featured in both chapter books and middle-grade novels. Santat won the 2015 Caldecott Medal for The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary  Friend and he is the winner of the Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators for Oh No! Or. How My Science Project Destroyed the World. Santat is the creator of the Disney animated series The Replacements. He lives in southern California with his wife, two kids, and many, many pets. (LIZ LYNCH)