Dorothy's List

Heard On 'Vermont Edition'

The Vermont Department of Libraries has decided the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award will be renamed in 2020. Read more about the decision here — VPR will be following news of the update to assess how this program's name may be affected.

This year's winner was Refugee, meaning author Alan Gratz has now won the award two years in a row. And you can catch up on this past season below:

April: The First Rule of Punk, by Celia C. Pérez

March (aired early April): Beyond the Bright Sea, by Lauren Wolk

February (aired early March): Last Day on Mars, by Kevin Emerson

January: Refugee, by Alan Gratz — and we put together a bonus episode about Ban This Book, also by Gratz.

December (aired early January): Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, by Dusti Bowling 

November: The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked and Found, by Martin W. Sandler

October: Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes, by Mary E. Lambert 

September: I'm Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups, by Chris Harris and illustrated by Lane Smith

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What is Dorothy's List?

Dorothy’s List is VPR’s book club for kids! Each month we highlight a book nominated for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award. We visit schools and libraries where the book is being read, check out how young readers are interacting with the book and relay students’ questions to the author.

Dorothy's List is curated and reported by VPR's Amy Kolb Noyes.

The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award

First given in 1957, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award has honored quality literature for children for over 55 years. Each spring, 30 nominees are named to the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Master List. After reading at least five books from the list, Vermont students in grades four through eight vote for their favorite. Learn more here.

Nominated Books

Find more information about the books nominated for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award in recent years:

How to get involved

How does your school or library do Dorothy's List? Let us know! Share an activity or a lesson plan. Tell us what books you’d like to see highlighted on Dorothy’s List and why. And please let us know if you’re interested in participating in a future program!

Want to put up a poster for Dorothy's List in your classroom or library?

Click here for a printable poster or here for a flyer.

Ways to Connect

A student sits at a table in a library holding up a copy of the novel Refugee by Alan Gratz.
Meg Malone / VPR

Each spring, upper elementary students schools in the Mt. Abraham Unified School District travel to the middle and high school library for a Jeopardy!-style trivia competition about the books nominated for Vermont's Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award.

But before the gathered students from the five different elementary schools got to play the game, there was an announcement to be made: the 2019 winner. 

A row of books and a DCF sign hanging below it.
Meg Malone / VPR

The Vermont Department of Libraries will be changing the name of the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award.

A teacher holds an open book and points at it while students look on.
Meg Malone / VPR

A group of fifth- and sixth-graders are in the library of Orleans Elementary School working on making “'zines.” 'Zines are like personal mini magazines, and they're a favorite hobby of Malú, the main character in The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez.

A group of students at Champlain Elementary School's library - some standing, some sitting, some kneeling - looking toward the camera.
Meg Malone / VPR

Beyond the Bright Sea takes place in 1925 on a string of small islands called the Elizabeths, off the coast of Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The novel is a work of historical fiction, but it was mystery and suspense that grabbed — and held — the attention of a group of Dorothy's List readers at Burlington's Champlain Elementary School.

A group of fifth- and sixth-grade students, some standing some sitting on a couch, and looking at the camera
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Mars is a very different place from Earth. But for Liam and his friend Phoebe, the main characters in the science fiction novel Last Day on Mars, the Earth colony on Mars is the only home they have ever known.

Three students sit at a table with a poster of drawn book spines hanging on the wall in the background.
Meg Malone / VPR

In Ban This Book some of 9-year-old Amy Anne Ollinger’s favorite books have started to disappear off her school library's shelves, and she discovers that adults are challenging the books and the school board is banning them from the library.

Dorothy’s List readers at Montpelier’s Kellogg-Hubbard Library had a lot to say about banned and challenged books — especially when they discovered some of their favorite titles have been questioned.

A group of students gather around a laptop computer
Meg Malone / VPR

The historical novel Refugee weaves the stories of three refugee families fleeing their homes in different parts of the world and during different time periods: Germany in the 1930s, Cuba in the 1990s and Syria just a few years ago.

Students at Castleton Village School - from left, Brian Lenox, Leah Reynolds, Jade Traverse and Rosalie Bates - sit holding up the book "Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus" by Dusti Bowling, a nominee for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award.
Meg Malone / VPR

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you had no arms? How would you eat? Or write? Or turn the pages of a book? Those are some of the everyday challenges facing 13-year-old Aven Green, the main character in Dusti Bowling’s novel Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus.

Two teenagers sit at a table looking at a book titled The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked and Found.
Meg Malone / VPR

The real lives of pirates are documented in Martin W. Sandler’s The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked and Found. And after reading the book — nominated for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award — a group of Dorothy’s List readers at Springfield Town Library did some pirate research of their own.

From left: Bailey Boardman, Cadyn Jarvis and Jonathan Cole  work on stacking library books.
Meg Malone / VPR

Author Mary E. Lambert was a master’s degree student in a Vermont College of Fine Arts low-residency program while she was writing Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes — now the novel is nominated for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award.

Third graders Max Becker, Anastasia Moshovetis and Eliza Frehsee, from left, hold up a question about Leo Arden, a character in one of Chris Harris' poems whose parents forgot to teach him the number eight.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

At Guilford Central School, the entire school – kindergarten through sixth grade – gets together for Community Music Time.

Sometimes musicians from the greater community come in to perform. But on the day Dorothy's List was there, it was small ensembles of sixth graders who took the spotlight to highlight a book they'd read.

A wall display at Northfield Elementary School featured the covers of all this year's nominees for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award.
Meg Malone / VPR

Dorothy’s List readers have cast their ballots and the results have been tallied. The winner of this year’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award is the World War II novel Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz!

Eight students sit in a library holding up copies of Firoozeh's Dumas' novel "It Ain't So Awful, Falafel."
Meg Malone / VPR

At the Orchard Elementary School in South Burlington, students come from a variety of cultural backgrounds. In fact, about a third of the students speak a language other than English at home. 

Last fall, a group of Orchard fifth-graders gathered to discuss It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel, a novel about an Iranian-born girl living in California in the late 1970s and early 1980s – much like author Firoozeh Dumas.

Four Westford Elementary students gather around a table in the library.
Meg Malone / VPR

Westford Elementary School students have broken up into small groups, clustered around library tables — but in this case, the tables are figurative life rafts. The students are discovering a nearly-forgotten piece of history, as they dive into the nonfiction book Lost in the Pacific, 1942 by Vermont author Tod Olson.

Elizabeth Atherton and Sally O’Brien work on placing their photos, taken in front of a green screen, into pictures of places from medieval France.
Aym Kolb Noyes / VPR

Readers at the Neshobe School in Brandon are really getting into Adam Gidwitz’s book The Inquisitor’s Tale, which takes place in the Middle Ages — meaning that with the help of imagination and technology, they are literally putting themselves into the narrative.

Students at Dover Elementary School gathered in the library to discuss Kelly Barnhill's novel "The Girl Who Drank the Moon" and posed with the paper birds they made.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Students at Dover Elementary are trying their hands at making origami birds. Paper birds like these play an interesting role in Kelly Barnhill’s fantastical novel The Girl Who Drank the Moon. The birds in the book are magical, and they can be both helpful and vicious.

These Hyde Park fifth graders took a bus ride to the Green Mountain Technology and Career Center to talk about The Littlest Bigfoot with a group of sixth graders. The sixth grade is at GMTCC while Hyde Park Elementary School is undergoing renovations.
Meg Malone / VPR

If you were listening closely a few weeks ago in northern Vermont, you may have heard what sounded like a secret colony of "Bigfoots." But no, it was just a group of Hyde Park Elementary School students acting like the characters in The Littlest Bigfoot.

First and fifth grade reading buddies at Chamberlin School spent time with Sarah Genest and her therapy dog Hobie. The first graders read to Hobie during their visit. The fifth graders read about a dog like Hobie in 'When Friendship Followed Me Home.'
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

A four-legged friend stopped by to spend time with first and fifth grade reading buddies at Chamberlin School in South Burlington — a timely visit, as the older students had recently read about a supportive dog in Paul Griffin's novel When Friendship Followed Me Home.

Meg Malone / VPR

About a hundred students from elementary schools in Swanton, Highgate and Sheldon packed into the children's room of the Swanton Public Library on a recent Friday the 13th — a fitting date to welcome author Marina Cohen to talk about her spooky novel The Inn Between.

Fourth grade students at Northfield Elementary School played a Jeopardy!-style game, led by school librarian Nanette Smith, that featured questions about Peter Brown's novel "The Wild Robot."
Meg Malone / VPR

In the book The Wild Robot, a robot named Roz washes up on a remote island and must learn survival skills.

Northfield Elementary School students recently gathered in their school library to show off what they learned about the book by way of a friendly trivia competition.

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