Patrick McDonnell’s picture book about chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall as a child depicts her as a curious, scientific-minded young girl whose favorite stuffed animal was a chimpanzee named Jubilee. She took the stuffed chimp everywhere as she explored and carefully observed the natural world of her childhood . . . and dreamed of someday going to Africa. McDonnell’s spare, skillful, and superbly paced text balances a sense of playfulness with purpose as he conveys Goodall’s focus and determination. Me … Jane was edited by Andrea Spooner and published in the United States in 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
The 2012 Zolotow Award committee named three Honor Books:
- Apple Pie ABC, written and illustrated by Alison Murray, edited by Stephanie Lurie, and published by Disney/Hyperion;
- Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm, written and photographed by Jon Katz, edited by Sally Doherty, and published by Henry Holt; and
- Naamah and the Ark at Night, written by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, illustrated by Holly Meade, edited by Katie Cunningham, and published by Candlewick Press.
The 2012 Zolotow Award committee also cited ten titles as Highly Commended:
- All the Water in the World, written by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by Katherine Tillotson (ARichard Jackson Book / Atheneum)
- Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Houghton Mifflin)
- Fortune Cookies, written by Albert Bitterman and illustrated by Chris Raschka (Beach Lane Books)
- Nothing Like a Puffin, written by Sue Soltis and illustrated by Bob Kolar (Candlewick Press)
- Samantha on a Roll, written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Christine Davenier (MargaretFerguson Books / Farrar Straus Giroux)
- Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature, written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes (Houghton Mifflin)
- These Hands, written by Margaret H. Mason and illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Houghton Mifflin)
- Three by the Sea, written and illustrated by Mini Grey (Alfred A. Knopf)
- Tía Isa Wants a Car, written by Meg Medina and illustrated by Claudio Muñoz (Candlewick Press)
- The Twins’ Blanket, written and illustrated by Hyewon Yum (Frances Foster Books / Farrar Straus Giroux)
The Charlotte Zolotow Award is given annually to the author of the best picture book text published in the United States in the preceding year. Established in 1998, the award is named to honor the work of Charlotte Zolotow, a distinguished children's book editor for 38 years with Harper Junior Books, and author of more than 70 picture books, including such classic works as Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present (Harper, 1962) and William's Doll (Harper, 1972). Ms. Zolotow attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison on a writing scholarship from 1933-36 where she studied with Professor Helen C. White.
The award is administered by the Cooperative Children's Book Center, a children's literature library of the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Each year a committee of children's literature experts selects the winner from the books published in the preceding year. The winner is announced in January each year. A bronze medallion is formally presented to the winning author in the spring during an annual public event that honors the career of Charlotte Zolotow.
Members of the selection committee are appointed to a two-year term by the CCBC professional staff based on an individual's knowledge of children's books, a demonstrated ability to evaluate children's books and discuss them critically, and/or direct experience working professionally with children from birth through age seven. A CCBC librarian serves as one of the five members. Members are appointed to staggered, two-year terms.