Center for Children’s Literature

Irma Black Award

The Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature (Irma Black Award) goes to an outstanding book for young children—a book in which text and illustrations are inseparable, each enhancing and enlarging on the other to produce a singular whole. The Irma Black Award is unusual in that children are the final judges of the winning book.

Irma Black Award Voting Form

We will send you the voting links in March. We hope you and your students enjoy the books. Please contact for more information.

Irma Black Award Ceremony

Thousands of children in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, the UAE and Latin America will participate in the voting.  The winner and honorees will accept their awards on Thursday, May 14, 2020. The event will be open to the public. Caldecott winner, Sophie Blackall will be the keynote.  If you are not able to attend, check back here for the KidLit TV URL of the livestream of the event.

2020 Irma Black Award Contenders

Rocket Says Look Up

Hair Love

The Crayon Man

The Most Terrible of All
  • Rocket Says Look Up by Nathan Bryon; illustrated by Dapo Adeola (Random House Publishers)
  • Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry; illustrated by Vashti Harrison (Kokila Press)
  • The Crayon Man: The Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons by Natascha Biebow; illustrated by Steven Salerno (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • The Most Terrible of All by Muon Thi Van and Matt Myers (Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster)


2019 Irma Black Award Winner

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates
by Ryan T. Higgins (Disney/Hyperion)

Honor Books

  • Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster)
  • Sun! One in a Billion by Stacy McAnulty, illustrations by Stevie Lewis (Henry Holt/Macmillan)
  • The Wall in the Middle of the Book by Jon Agee (Dial/Penguin Books for Young Readers)