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Winter Is Coming Wins 2015 Bock Book Award

Winter Is Coming
2015 Bock Book Award

Neumann University has selected Winter Is Coming, written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Jim LaMarche, as the recipient of the 2015 Frances and Wesley Bock Book Award for Children’s Literature. The award will be presented on Thursday, October 1, at 10:30 a.m. in the Neumann University Library.


This book tells the story of a girl who regularly visits the woods near her home from September through November to watch the wonders of nature. She sits in a tree, silently and carefully observing the sights and sounds around her, as she sketches what she sees.


The forest eventually reveals its mysteries and secrets – a red fox, rabbits, deer, and many other creatures. It takes time and patience for the girl to see the changes that occur around her until winter comes with a light dusting of snow.


The illustrations are nuanced and inviting, drawing readers into the fall environment with colors and scenes so universal they seem like memories.

Johnston is the author of more than 100 books for children and won the 2014 Bock Book Award for The Cat with Seven Names. LaMarche is the award-winning illustrator of Donna Jo Napoli’s Albert, which was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book.

Wesley Bock was co-owner of Kilner’s, a store in north central Philadelphia that provided equipment, clothing, and supplies to religious institutions. As a sales representative to the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, he grew to be quite fond of the Sisters and began making contributions to the order.

When Wesley passed away, his wife Frances continued the contributions. When she passed away, the estate passed to their nephew, who, in consultation with the library, established the Bock Book Award in their memory.

The award acknowledges Franciscan values in children’s books and gives each year’s winner a prize of $750, a plaque, and a gold emblazoned emblem for the book. Criteria for the award include text that is values-oriented, interesting and stimulating for ages 3-8 years, and pleasing and aesthetic. The illustrations should provide support for interpreting the story, instill a reverence for and compassion for all creation, and depict creation in all of its diversity. Both the text and illustrations should promote a moral attitude and/or action.

Previous winners include The Cat with Seven Names by Tony Johnston, 2014; The Sandal Artist by Kathleen T. Pelley, 2013; The Ocean Story by John Seven, 2012; Mama The O Miti by Donna Jo Napoli, 2011; Felina’s New Home by Loran Wlodarski, 2010; Zen Ties by Jon Muth, 2009; We Are One by Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell, 2008; Brother Juniper by Diane Gibfried, 2007; Daniel and His Walking Stick by Wendy McCormick, 2006; Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming, 2005; The Boy with a Wish by Harry B. Knights, 2004; In the Blink of an Eye by Dieter Wiesmuller, 2003; Where does God Live? by Holly Bea, 2002; Each Living Thing by Joanne Ryder, 2001; and Saint Francis and the Christmas Donkey by Robert Byrd, 2000.



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