Phil Bildner

Author – Educator – Speaker – Entrepreneur – Changemaker


  • Author of more than twenty-five books for young people
  • Founder and President of The Author Village
  • Former New York City Public Schools teacher

Glenn Burke, Game Changer

An inspiring picture book biography about Glenn Burke, the first Major League Baseball player to come out as gay, and the story of how he created the world’s most recognizable handshake, the high five.

Playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Glenn Burke could do it all—hit, throw, run, field. He was the heart of the clubhouse who energized his teammates with his enthusiasm and love for the game. It was that energy that led Glenn to invent the high five one October day back in 1977—a spontaneous gesture after a home run that has since evolved into our universal celebratory greeting.

But despite creating this joyful symbol, Glenn Burke, a gay Black man, wasn’t always given support and shown acceptance in return.

From acclaimed author Phil Bildner, with illustrations from Daniel J. O’Brien, this moving picture book biography recognizes the challenges Burke faced while celebrating how his bravery and his now-famous handshake helped pave the way for others to live openly and free.

A High Five for Glenn Burke

  • NCTE Charlotte Huck Award Honor Book, 2021
  • Lambda Literary Award Finalist, LGBTQ Children’s/Middle Grade, 2021
  • Bank Street Best Book, 2021
  • ALA Rainbow Book, 2021
  • Starred Review, Booklist
  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Chicago Public Library, Best Books for Older Readers 2020
  • Nerdy Book Award, Middle Grade Fiction, 2020
  • Pennsylvania Young Readers Choice Award, 2021-22
  • Great Lakes Book Award, 6-8 nominee, 2021-22
  • Maine Student Book Award, 2021-22
  • Rhode Island Middle School Book Award nominee, 2022
  • Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award, 4-8 nominee, 2023

Rip and Red Series

  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Nutmeg Book Award Intermediate Nominee (Connecticut), 2018
  • Virginia Readers’ Choice Nominee (Elementary), 2017-18
  • Sunshine State Young Readers Award Nominee (Florida), 2017-18
  • Rhode Island Children’s Book Award Nominee, 2017
  • Maine Student Book Award Nomination, 2016-17
  • Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, 3–5, 2016
  • Cybils Awards Nomination, Middle Grade Fiction, 2015

Marvelous Cornelius

  • Margaret Wise Brown Prize Children’s Literature, Hollins University.
  • Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Illustration, SCBWI
  • Starred Review, Shelf Awareness
  • Best Book of the Month (August) Amazon Editorial Team
  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • 2018 Louisiana Young Readers Choice Award Nominee, Grades 3-5
  • 2017-18 Georgia Picture Book (K-4) Nominee
  • 2017-18 MASL Show Me Nominee
  • 2017 Association of Indiana School Library Educators Read Alouds Too-Good-To-Miss
  • 2016 Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People (Biography)
  • 2016 Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature
  • 2016 International Literacy Association, Teacher’s Choices Reading List
  • 2016 Golden Kite Award Winner, Picture Book Illustration
  • 2016 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, K–2
  • 2016 Bank Street College Center for Children’s Literature, Best Books
  • 2016 Eureka! Silver/Honor Award, Calif. Reading Assoc.
  • 2015 Parents’ Choice Book Awards: Picture Books, Gold
  • 2015 Cybils Awards Nomination, Fiction Picture Books
  • 2015 Nerdy Book Award, Non-Fiction Picture Book

Twenty One Elephants

  • NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award

The Author Village

In 2017, Phil founded The Author Village, an author booking business and speakers bureau grounded in the premise that everyone should have access to powerful and inspirational learning experiences.

Today, the collective features more than eighty forward-thinking and award-winning children’s book creators, educators, librarians, thought leaders, and changemakers committed to creating meaningful and fun educational programs that open hearts and minds and help foster a lifelong love for reading, writing, and the arts.