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Golden Kite Awards for A VISITOR FOR BEAR and LAST NIGHT

By Mary Smith

bearvisitor_200The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the world’s largest children’s writing organization, distributes the annual Golden Kite Award for excellence in children’s literature. Chosen by a jury made up of a writer’s peers, the Golden Kite Award is testament to the SCBWI’s mission to increase and improve communication between writers, editors, publishers, librarians, and educators. This year the award for Picture Book Text goes to A Visitor for Bear written by Bonny Becker and illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton.

Depicting the relationship between a persistent mouse and an inhospitable bear, Becker examines the difficult yet meaningful experience of making friends. I loved reading the story because as Bear becomes more frustrated with the mouse for coming into his house, the text’s font size becomes larger. In contrast to Bear’s growing anger, the mouse’s voice sounds small and intimidated yet unnervingly persistent. In Bear’s final surrender, he says, “I give up . . . You win, I am undone.” This dramatic yet all too familiar feeling of being changed by friends is both humorous and sentimental. The story ends with a lesson about letting a mouse in your house; of letting friends into your life. It is very charming indeed.

There is also a Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Illustration, which was given to Hyewon Yum for his book Last Night. Yum’s wordless story about a girl who refuses to eat her dinner portrays the effects of hunger on the unconscious. When the little girl’s teddy bear becomes a full-grown black bear and in effect her dreamscape tour guide, the reader is led through the forest, to the edge of the sea, and back again. Last Night is a wonderful articulation of dreams; mute, bizarre, and emotional. My favorite page shows the bear eating an entire fish while the little girl watches in amazement. This story lets readers, young and old, imagine their own storyline by stringing together all of Yum’s beautiful prints. I love this book!

A Visitor for Bear
By Bonny Becker
Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
$16.99 Candlewick Press

Last Night
By Hyewon Yum
$15.95 Frances Foster Books

Mary Smith is a freelance writer who lives on the West Side of Providence. She will be roller- skating on July 17 at the Bank of America Skating Center for Providence Roller Derby.

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