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.

The 2023 Irma Black Award Ceremony

Thousands of children in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and the United Arab Emirates participated in the voting process in 2023. We will share links to videos from the gold and silver medalists on this page in late May.


2023 Irma S. & James H. Black Award

Bathe the Cat
Gold Medal
John's Turn
Silver Medal

The World Belonged to UsSilver Medal The Best Kind of MooncakeSilver Medal

Gold Medal

Bathe the Cat by Alice B. McGinty; illustrated by David Roberts (Chronicle)

Silver Medals

John’s Turn by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Kate Berube (Candlewick)

The World Belonged to Us by Jacqueline Woodson; illustrated by Leo Espinosa (Penguin)

The Best Kind of Mooncake by Pearl AuYeung (Page Street Kids)

News Coverage

2023 Irma Black Award and Cook Prize Winners Announced
School Library Journal, May 4, 2023

Bathe the Cat Irma Black Gold Medal 2023

2023 Irma Black Award Winner

Bathe the Cat
Author: Alice B. McGinty
Illustrator: David Roberts
Publisher: Chronicle

Honor Books

  • John’s Turn by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Kate Berube (Candlewick)
  • The World Belonged to Us by Jacqueline Woodson; illustrated by Leo Espinosa (Penguin)
  • The Best Kind of Mooncake by Pearl AuYeung (Page Street Kids)