Although I have published short stories, poetry, picture books and novels for young readers, I am mostly known for my nonfiction books for children and teenagers.
I am often asked if I write the books I do to show kids today how good they have it.
I hope that my work gives my readers courage — courage to question and to think critically about history; courage to consider and respond to their social, political, and existential responsibilities; and, most of all, courage to stand up.
Listed below are some of the awards and honors my books have won:
2009 – Washington Post-Children’s Book Guild Award for Body of Nonfiction Work, awarded annually for distinguished writing, clarity, accuracy, and literary distinction in nonfiction
Newbery Medal, given by the American Library Association (ALA) to the most distinguished American children’s book. Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow (Honor, 2006)
Sibert Medal, awarded annually by the ALA to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in English during the preceding year. Black Potatoes: The Great Irish Famine, 1845 to 1850 (Winner, 2002), Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow (Honor, 2006)
Orbis Pictus, award annually by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), through the committee of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, for excellence in the writing of nonfiction for children. Black Potatoes: The Great Irish Famine, 1845 to 1850 (Winner, 2002), Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow (Honor, 2006)
Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, given annually by the Jane Addams Peace Association to a children’s book that effectively promotes the cause of peace, social justice, world community, and the equality of the sexes and all races as well as meeting conventional standards for excellence. Growing Up in Coal Country (Winner, 1997), Kids on Strike! (Honor, 2000)
Golden Kite – Nonfiction, given annually by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators to recognize excellence in children’s literature. Black Potatoes: The Great Irish Famine, 1845 to 1850 (Winner, 2003), Growing Up in Coal Country (Honor, 1997)
Parents Choice Award, granted annually by the nation’s oldest nonprofit program to award the best media material for children. Growing Up in Coal Country (Gold Winner, 1997), Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow (Gold Winner, 2006)
Carolyn W. Field Award, awarded annually by the Youth Services Division of the Pennsylvania Library Association to the most distinguished book for young people by a Pennsylvania author. The Boy Who Dared (Winner, 2009), Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler’s Shadow (Winner, 2006), Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine (Winner, 2003), Kids on Strike! (Honor, 2000), Growing Up in Coal Country (Winner, 1997),