Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Barbara Belford  

Pen Name: Bibi Belford

Genre: Fiction

Born: 1954 in Ann Arbor, Michigan

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Illinois Connection

Belford grew up in Wheaton, Illinois, then lived in Aurora and Batavia for 33 years and just recently moved to Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Barbara Belford graduated with a B.A. in English and an education minor from Westmont College in California, then completed a masters of Bilingual Literacy and an ESL endorsement at Northern Illinois University. She has been a teacher in District 131, East Aurora, for her entire career, as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, and literacy coach.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Canned and Crushed
ISBN: 1632204355

Sky Pony Press. 2015

When Sandro Zapote finds out his little sister needs heart surgery, he is determined to help his parents raise the money they’ll need to help her get better. Sandro’s dad is in the states illegally and must work two jobs to support the family. For one, he picks up roadkill for the department of streets and sanitation and gets paid by the carcass. For the other, he collects scrap metal to recycle for cash. Sandro helps his dad with some of the scrap metal heavy lifting, and one headboard, a weight bench, some gutters, and a few car parts later, Sandro has a brilliant idea: can collecting. Save the environment. Save his family. Maybe even save some spending money for the fabulous, fast new bike he’s been coveting.

Well-meaning and with funny inner monologue, Sandro is the kind of person you can’t help but cheer for. He’s a boy who loves drawing, soccer, and his little sister. And whether he’s fishing a fuzzy, dust-coated turtle out from under his sister’s bed or organizing a school-wide can drive all by himself, Sandro is a smart, self-aware hero, who makes just a few mistakes along the way.

Canned and Crushed, by first-time author Bibi Belford, gives Sandro a funny, relatable, readable voice, while being fresh and original. It’s a story that will open its readers’ eyes, dealing with issues of illegal immigration, unemployment, racism and religious persecution, bullying, and more—carefully and with a light and often humorous touch. This is a cross between The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and it’s a book no kid will want to miss.

Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft

stories told with LEGO bricks

books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Crossing the Line
ISBN: 1510708006

Sky Pony Press. 2017

An Award-Winning Middle Grade Novel Inspired by the True Events Leading Up to the 1919 Chicago Race Riots

Some people think there’s a line, and if everybody stays on their side of the line, then we’ll all get along just fine.

That’s what Billy’s da told him, back before he joined up in the Great War. Da said that sometimes, to do what’s right, you gotta cross that line.

Course, that was before the war ended and Billy’s da came home with shell shock. Now it’s up to Billy to be man of the house, to take care of his ma and sisters and work at the docks when he can. He ain’t no coward, and he don’t complain, not even when money troubles mean he has to change schools. It’s hard times for all the Irish―maybe even for all of Chicago.

And it gets harder when Billy becomes friends with Foster, a black boy who loves baseball and whose daddy went to war, too. What seems like just horsing around to them―building a raft, spending time in their secret hideout by the creek―stirs up trouble when the rest of the city gets wind of it.

Soon, the boys’ friendship has triggered a series of events that will change both their lives forever. And with racial tensions in the city coming to a head, Billy must decide once and for all what it means to be courageous, to be a friend, and to truly cross the line.

Another D for DeeDee
ISBN: 1510724060

Sky Pony Press. 2018

Life for Dinora Diaz, DeeDee for short, is full of D’s. Missing her dad, who’s disappeared. Being diagnosed with diabetes. Feeling dumb in fourth grade at her new school, which she transferred into―leaving behind Sandro Zapote and all her other friends in Miss Hamilton’s class―after her family’s trailer burned down. It’s so many D’s that DeeDee’s sure she’ll never really fit in, much less find the perfect best friend she’s always wanted.

Then DeeDee meets River. He’s a lot like her: River loves skateboarding, art, and dancing, just like she does, and he misses his dad, too. But they’re also different: while DeeDee’s still struggling to adjust to life with diabetes and has sworn off her Mexican heritage to get back at her dad for leaving, River seems to have totally adjusted to―even learned to love―being deaf. River promises to help search for DeeDee’s dad and to compete with her in the spring skateboard exhibition at their local skate park. Finally, DeeDee has something to look forward to.

But when River transfers into DeeDee’s fourth grade class, DeeDee makes a huge mistake, putting not just the exhibition, but her entire friendship with River, on the line. Now she has to make a choice: stand up to her classmates and accept being an outsider, or give up her best friend for good? To keep the best friend she’s always wanted, DeeDee will have to learn to love difference―not just River’s, but also her own.


Awards

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