I must admit I was surprised when I heard which book won this year's Texas Bluebonnet Award. Postcards from Camp was not one I had read and didn't seem to be one of the biggest contenders. I hate to admit that I hadn't even noticed that it was written & illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Simms Taback! :/
When Postcards from Camp was announced as the winning title, I finally took the time to read it. What a clever book! It is composed of letters exchanged between a father and son when the son is away at camp. Michael's first time at camp does not start well. He sends many pleas to Dad requesting to be rescued. :) Dad replies with humor and encouragement; as the book progresses, Michael discovers that camp has a lot to offer after all.
Taback's distinctive artwork adds personality and whimsey to the book. Many of the letters are folded and placed in envelopes which readers enjoy pulling out and exploring. The letters from both father and son are hilarious. After finally opening this book, it is easy to see its strong kid (and grown kid!) appeal and why it was this year's Texas Bluebonnet Winner.
Unfortunately, Simms Taback passed away in 2011 and will not know of the book's love among Texas students. The story was inspired by his daughter's first time at camp; she will surely be touched to know that her father's legacy lives on as young readers continue to connect with his special books. Below is the video announcement of the award which includes some words from Taback's editor (if you have trouble viewing, click here to view directly from Adobe Connect.)
In my former middle school, I purchased several of the Bluebonnet titles every year but we didn't participate in voting as a school since we just had one eligible grade. Now that I work in a library that serves students in grades 5-8, I have the chance to become more involved in Bluebonnets again. I am excited about this and plan to be much more prepared and aware next year! :)