JENNIFER BERNE - Reviews & Awards




Kirkus Reviews – Starred Review

“This moving tribute to the great nautical observer is shot through with an authentically childlike sense of adventure and thrill of discovery.” 
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Booklist – Starred Review

“’Bubbles rising through the silence of the sea, silvery beads of breath… a manfish swimming, diving into the unknown.’ Atmospheric poetry begins this luminous picture-book biography about Jacques Cousteau.”
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New York Times – Sunday Book Review

"You can see Cousteau soaring in “Manfish,” by Jennifer Berne… [a] picture-book biography that [has] arrived ahead of his 100th birthday next year… a timely gift to the children — and many parents — who are too young to know the adventures of Captain Cousteau and his ship, Calypso."
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Kirkus Reviews – Starred Review


"The irresistible story of a proud bookworm will put smiles on the faces of readers of all ages... The illustrations are wildly original and full of funny details... the starlings are endearingly comical. Between its heartwarming story and quirky illustrations, this tale should be a staple among book-loving families... for years to come."
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Publishers Weekly


"In a lively children's book... Bendis contributes gouache cartoons that bring action and droll wit to Berne's story about valuable experiences to be found both inside and outside books... Regular doses of humor in the text and art happily keep the story from migrating into sentimentality."

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Reviewed By Mom —


"This book is charming and fun and I LOVE the message here....being different is not a bad thing and can, in fact, provide very useful! This book also contains one of the sweetest lines I have ever read to my children...'His books took him to places his wings never could. And his heart fluttered with excitement'... The illustrations, by Keith Bendis, are superb and give real life to Calvin and his flock of family members... The positive message and the exciting story line will have your child asking for it again and again. You can't miss with this one."
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Kirkus Reviews


"A starling gets spectacular specs... Merciless teasing ensues from his scoffing flock, but Calvin doesn’t mind, recalling bespectacled luminaries he’s read about... Later, on a forest walk, he’s accidentally pinned under a huge rock. Calvin remembers reading about how Archimedes once used mirrors to reflect sunlight and save lives. Applying this principle, Calvin reflects sunlight with his glasses and successfully sends a distress signal to which his flock responds. Afterward Calvin recounts his adventure and how his glasses effected his rescue. Surprise: All the birds want glasses, too, in order to be cool like Calvin."
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Smart Books for Smart Kids


"Calvin, Look Out! has such a unique and clever ending that teaches readers that creative problem solving is a really cool thing – almost as cool as wearing glasses. All children get teased about something, and Calvin shows them they are not alone and more importantly that there can be a happy ending despite the taunting."

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Wondrous Reads


"Keith Bendis has done a brilliant job with the illustrations, and they compliment Jennifer Berne's story perfectly... Calvin, Look Out! is an important picture book for any child needing glasses... Calvin's story will make anyone happy with their spectacles, and I'm sure lots of kids will benefit from knowing they're not alone with their bad eyesight. Calvin is one cool bird! "
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Kirkus Reviews

A young tot in mauve footed pajamas tucks into bed with a good book. So begins this off-to-bed journey that provides glimpses of sleepy animals around the world.


Rhyming couplets introduce both familiar and somewhat exotic creatures preparing to sleep in their cozy habitats. Moose in Maine, a Bahamian iguana, prairie dogs in Utah, Peruvian scarlet macaws, Galapágos turtles... Australian kangaroos, Malaysian tigers, walruses in Russia and African chimpanzees all appear quite cuddly in soft smudgy acrylics and pencil as they share each page with the child and her tiny white dog. Calm blue-hued backgrounds cue the coming nighttime. A soothing refrain adds a lullabylike quality... As the bedtime tale comes to a close, the final spread shows the menagerie of animals—imaginary or toy—surrounding the sleeping child in her bed. They “send a nighty-night kiss to their sleepy friend…You.”





Kirkus Reviews - Starred Review

"A splendid introduction to a man who never stopped questioning."

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Publishers Weekly — Starred Review

"Einstein's lifelong curiosity sings through every page."

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Booklist — Starred Review

"A book as special as its subject."
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School Library Journal — Starred Review & Pick of the Day

"Richly imagined, beautifully designed, impressionistic biography."
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The Horn Book — Starred Review

"Truly amazing."

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Library Media Connection — Starred Review

“A must for any library collection.”


New York Times — Editors' Choice

"Beautifully done... whimsical... What dreams can do."





Kirkus Reviews - Starred Review

"Adroitly incorporating language and imagery from Dickinson’s poems as well as whole lines and stanzas, the neatly hand-lettered, lyrical text appropriately focuses on how Emily’s rich inner life crystallized into her remarkable poetry… Splendid illustrations… captures the poet’s enigmatic spirit… Stunning."

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Publishers Weekly — Starred Review

"Berne’s finely chosen words echo Dickinson’s poetic proclivities…  Lines from Dickinson’s poems punctuate Berne’s text, reflecting themes of nature, wonder, and joy. Stadtlander’s modern folkloric gouache and watercolor illustrations seamlessly merge realism and fantasy."

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Shelf Awareness — Starred Review

"With gentle reverence and eloquence, Jennifer Berne introduces young readers to Emily Dickinson in this winsome picture book biography. Alternating between the poet's work and her own lyrical prose… vivid imagery and an empathetic subject invites young minds… The combination of Berne's writing and Stadtlander's paintings emphasizes the magic of poetry as it represents the life of a master of the art… On Wings of Words is a visually stimulating introduction to an amazing poet."

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BookPage  — Starred Review

"The life of Emily Dickinson is in good hands with picture book biographer Jennifer Berne… a reverent tribute to Dickinson’s singular contributions to the world of poetry… conveying a sense of wonder for her subject, Berne emphasizes Dickinson’s love of nature and literature and, later, her earnest search for answers to life’s sorrows… Becca Stadtlander’s detailed, folk art-style illustrations capture Dickinson’s world and bring shape to the metaphors Berne employs to signify Dickinson’s growth as a poet."

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Jama’s Alphabet Soup — Review with excerpts and illustrations

"On Wings of Words beautifully captures Emily’s essence, and helps to demystify her reputation as that strange, enigmatic woman in white who was preoccupied with death. It’s a good way for young readers to meet Emily; no doubt they’ll be able to relate to her open-hearted embrace of every small miracle, her ongoing communion with the natural world, and perhaps see why she was inspired to write about her discoveries. They can better understand the path she chose for herself and even applaud her originality and nonconformity."

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AEP Ed Press Award “For Excellence in Educational Publishing” for Nick Jr. Magazine story “Water Works”





Nick Jr. Magazine Best Books of 2008
Society of Illustrators' Best Children's Books
Book Links' Best New Books for the Classroom 2008
Junior Library Guild Main Selection
Booklist Online: Top 10 Sci-Tech Books for Youth 2008
Booklist Starred Review 2008
Kirkus Starred Review 2008
NY Public Library Recommended Reading Selection 2008
Cybils Award Nominee 2008
Wilde Award Best Picture Book Biographies 2008
IRA Children's and Young Adult Book Award 2009
IRA Teacher's Choice 2009
Maine Chickadee Award Nominee 2009-2010
Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award Nominee 2009-2010
Beehive Book Award Nominee 2010

Great Lakes Great Books Honor Award 2009–2010

2012 Read Manfish at the Library of Congress
by invitation of the Earth Day Network





2010 “Book of the Week” — Politics & Prose

2010 Cybils Awards – Picture Book Nominee

2011-2012 Chickadee Award 3rd Place Winner

2012 Grand Canyon Reader Award Nominee

2011 Barnes & Noble “Educator Favorites”

15 BOOKS – Student Choice Picture Book Award Nominee

2012-2013 Kids' Wings Award Book

2012 New Hampshire Ladybug Award Nominee




Junior Library Guild Selection 2013

Kirkus Reviews – Starred Review

School Library Journal – Starred Review

Horn Book – Starred Review

Publisher’s Weekly – Starred Review

Booklist – Starred Review

Library Media Connection – Starred Review

Broke record: Most Starred Reviews of any Chronicle Children’s Book

New York Times – Editors’ Choice

2013 School Library Journal – Book of the Day

SLJ – Best Books of 2013

Wilde Award 2013 – Picture Book Biographies

ABA – Best Books for Children 2013

Best Children’s Books of the Year – Kirkus Reviews

London Times – Children’s Book of the Week

ALSC – Notable Children’s Books

Society of Illustrators – The Original Art 2013

Booklist – Top 10 Science Books of 2013

Booklist – Editor’s Choice

Kirkus– Best Picture Books of 2013 to Take You Outside the Box

NPR – 2013’s Great Reads

2013 Nerdy Award Winner

Horn Book Fanfare 2013

New York Public Library – 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2013

Kid Lit Reviews – Top 10 Books of 2013

Book Page – Best Children’s Books of 2013

Redbook – The 15 Best Children’s Books of 2013

ALA Book Links – 2013 Top 30 Titles for Classroom and Libraries

Horn Book – Best Non-Fiction Books of 2013

2014 National Reading Recovery Literacy Conference – Top 40

Eric Carle Museum "Best of the Best" 2014

Capitol Choices – Notable Books 2014

ALA – Notable Children’s Books 2014

NCCS & CBC – Notable Social Studies Books for Young People

2014 Maryland Blue Crab Young Readers Award – Non-Fiction Honoree

State Book Award Nominee – Michigan, Kansas, Georgia

CCBC Choices 2014 – Best of Year List

Bank Street College of Education – 2014 Best Books of the Year




A Mighty Girl — 2020 Books of the Year

White Raven 2021 International Youth Library Selection

Capitol Choices 2021

2021 English Association Award

Bank Street — Best Children’s Books 2021

Kids Book Explorer — Best Children’s Books 2021