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1. Why Don’t Books About Women Win Awards?

Novelist Nicola Griffith has analyzed the winning books of six major book awards over the last 15 years and has come to the conclusion that both women authors and story’s written from a woman’s perspective are less likely to win awards.

Griffith looked at data from the Pulitzer Prize, Man Booker Prize, National Book Award, National Book Critics’ Circle Award, Hugo Award and Newbery Medal. She found for instance that men were more likely to get a Pulitzer Prize. While women authors had won the award, it was only for works in which the narrative was from the man’s perspective or at least both a man and woman’s perspective. (No narratives written soley from a woman’s perspective won the award). Here is more from Griffith’s blog:

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that, when it comes to literary prizes, the more prestigious, influential and financially remunerative the award, the less likely the winner is to write about grown women. Either this means that women writers are self-censoring, or those who judge literary worthiness find women frightening, distasteful, or boring. Certainly the results argue for women’s perspectives being considered uninteresting or unworthy. Women seem to have literary cooties.

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2. Five Authors Share Their Favorite Writing Prompts

New Voices Award sealThis year marks our sixteenth annual New Voices Award, Lee & Low’s writing contest for unpublished writers of color.

In this blog series, past New Voices winners gather to give advice for new writers. This month, we’re talking about writing prompts and what gets the creative juices flowing.

Linda Boyden, author of The Blue Roses, New Voices Winner 2000

Prompts are all around us. When I do school visits, I refer to the place where our imaginations live as the “Cosmic Goo,” and urge them to wander outside looking and listening to the wonders that spark our imaginations to awake. Nature is a never-ending source of writing inspirations. Because I am a voracious reader, I glean phrases from the books I devour. Since the Espresso Shotend of 2011, I have written a poem a day as the means to jump-start my prose writing. I use many of the phrases I’ve underlined in the books I own for my daily poetry prompt.

Paula Yoo, author of Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds, New Voices Winner 2003

My favorite writing prompt is to write from the point of view of an animal. It’s a writing exercise I teach in my writing classes as well. I love this writing exercise not only because I’m an animal lover and Crazy Cat Lady (ha) but because it forces you to think from the point of view of someone who is definitely NOT YOU. You have to know and embody the nature and physicality of the animal character, and it forces you to look at story and emotion with a new perspective. It’s a great exercise for point of view writing, and it helps me when I do write another children’s book because I am very conscious of writing from a child’s perspective, which is so different from mine as an adult.

Glenda Armand, author of Love Twelve Miles Long, New Voices Winner 2006

I don’t need much to prompt me to write. Usually I have the opposite problem. I need to a compelling reason to stop writing:

It’s past midnight and I have to substitute teach in the morning.

Clothes are mildewing in the washer.

The fridge would be empty if not for egg whites and ketchup.

On the other hand, a writing prompt for me would be an early morning after a good night’s sleep: My mind is clear.

My thoughts are flowing.

My coffee is steaming.

My computer is calling.

I answer the call.

Pamela Tuck, author of As Fast As Words Could Fly, New Voices Winner 2007

I don’t really write from prompts, but what I try to use as a guideline for all my writing is the use of sensory details: Seeing, Hearing, Feeling, Smelling and Tasting. It’s not always relevant to include all of these details, but it’s good to include at least 3 within a scene. If I feel that I can’t move forward in a story, I’ll “step inside” my character and try to figure out what “I” am seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling or tasting at that point. If my character is neutral, then it’s time to rewrite the scene.

Jennifer Torres, author of Finding the Music, New Voices Winner 2011

I enjoy finding and thinking about interesting writing prompts, but I don’t have a favorite. I have to confess, when it comes to writing prompts, I usually don’t get past the “thinking about it” stage. However, I used to work for a daily newspaper, and I learned from that experience how valuable it can be to cultivate a habit of writing – in a structured way – every day. And I turn to newspapers, sometimes, when I’m stuck or need a place to start. Headlines can make for some pretty great prompts. Direct quotes are even better – like an overheard piece of conversation. Here’s one that helped me pull FINDING THE MUSIC into focus: “He wanted to rest in peace, but with music.”

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3. BINC Reveals Higher Education Scholarship Winners

The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation has revealed the winners of its 2015 Higher Education Scholarship Program. The foundation has awarded $200,000 to 53 students to help fund their continuing education.

The winners were chosen from a group of 128 applicants. From PhDs in sociology to degrees in teaching, theater and library science, the scholarships will help fund the education of industry booksellers/owners or their dependents or former Borders employees or their dependents. Follow this link to see a complete list of winners.

The awards were broken down in denominations of $10,000, $5,000 and $3,500. The scholarships can be used toward tuition, school fees, books and supplies, as well as room and board.

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4. ‘Song of the Sea,’ ‘Over the Garden Wall’ Win Reubens

The National Cartoonists Society has recognized the Irish animated feature and the Cartoon Network mini-series for outstanding achievement in animation.

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5. Roz Chast wins the Reuben Award

image

The Reuben Awards were given out over the holiday by the National Cartoonists Society, and Roz Chast won the Reuben Award, a once in a lifetime trophy only bestowed on the finest cartoonists. Chast is only the third woman to win the Reuben—Lynn Johnston won in 1985 and Cathy Guisewaite in 1993—and she beat out Hilary Price and Stephen Pastis for the honor, mostly on the strength of her graphic novel Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant, a book that has racked up a ton of awards and acclaim for Chast, along with a $250,000 prize.

The rest of the divisional winners are as follows:

Magazine Feature / Magazine Illustration
Tom Richmond

Newspaper Illustration
Anton Emdin

Greeting Card
Glenn McCoy

TV Animation
Patrick McHale, Creator (Over The Garden Wall)

Feature Animation
Tomm Moore, Director, (Song of the Sea)

Advertising / Product Illustration
Ed Steckley

Book Illustration
Marla Frazee (The Farmer and the Clown)

Magazine Gag Cartoon
Liza Donnelly

Graphic Novel
Jules Feiffer (Kill My Mother)

Comic Book
Jason Latour (Southern Bastards)

Online Comics – Short Form
Danielle Corsetto (Girls with Slingshots)

327

Online Comics – Long Form
Minna Sundberg (Stand Still, Stay Silent)

Newspaper Panel Cartoon
Hilary Price (Rhymes with Orange)

Editorial Cartoon
Michael Ramirez

Newspaper Comic Strip
Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine)

The Reuben Award
Roz Chast

Special honorees this year were Mort Drucker and Jeff Keane. The kudos were handed out at the annual NCS dinner, held this year in Washington DC, and Michael Cavna was there to record the scene, which like just about everything else in comics, was notable for featuring six female winners, a record!

On Saturday night, in a ballroom holding hundreds of top cartoonists, the organizers might as well have piped in Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” because for only the third time in the event’s six-decade-plus history, a woman — the New Yorker’s Roz Chast — received the group’s big honor, the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year. And her trophy capped what may well be the event’s winningest night ever for female writers and artists, as six women won in the 16 competitive categories.

Tom Spurgeon has a little commentary on the winners here, and notes that the NCS has to move forward, just as newspapers make up less and less of the cartooning world, hence the awards for animation and graphic novels and webcomics, while still battling a bit of “old skool” sensibilities as an organization. I would say that Girls with Slingshots is exactly the kind of webcomic that you’d expect the NCS to honor—but it’s also a webcomic deeply deserving of recognition. So despite the changing of the guard nature  of the awards they kind of turned out okay.

 

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6. #NLLD15 First Time Attendee

So, at some point in February, I decided that I would apply for YALSA’s travel stipend to attend #NLLD15.  I was hopeful and I received the award.  So, I planned my trip, contacted my state coordinator, packed my bag, and was off to Washington.

dupont circleI arrived at 12:30 on Sunday at Ronald Reagan International Airport.  I took Southwest and was able to get a pretty economical ticket.  I found my way to the METRO station, purchased a Smart Ride Card, and hopped on the Metro toward Dupont Circle.  I was on my way to the First Time Attendee Session at the ALA Washington Office.

I stopped for a quick photo on Dupont Circle.  I think Annette Bening made a bigger deal out of it in the “America President” than it was.  Three quick blocks and I stopped at Kramer Books & Afterwords Café for Lunch.  They have an amazing brunch/luncheon menu on Sundays and it is a restaurant attached to a bookstore. Nirvana!  I had the crab cake open faced sandwich.  ( I found it on Urban Spoon.)ala office

After lunch, I walked the 2 blocks to the ALA Washington Office.

The meeting for first time attendees was amazing.  We worked on techniques for speaking with Senators and Representatives.  We talked about “the ask”.  I even managed to take a selfie with the presenter, Stephanie Vance.

Working on your asking skillsThe training was inspiring.  We had the opportunity to meet other librarians and media specialists from across the country.

I headed back to the host hotel after the meeting to meet up with my state delegation for dinner.  We went to a local restaurant and talked about our goals and appointments for the next day.  Oops!  I was supposed to make some appointments!

The next morning, we had a full day of sessions on the different issues and pieces of legislation affecting libraries at the host hotel.  Our state coordinator found a few minutes to have a pastry.Florida delegationCharlie takes a break

Since, I hadn’t made any appointments the day before, I took the list of representatives that were not yet contacted from Florida and made some calls to set up appointments with their staffers.  I managed to contact all but two and schedule appointments throughout the next day.

 

In the evening, we attended a reception for the librarians at the Dirksen Building, where some of the Senate Committees meet.  I met the YALSA President and the Director and we were photobombed during a selfie.  I also managed to photobomb the President of ALA during a speech to the delegates.

YALSA prez director and me           Working on my testifying

After a quick breakfast the next morning, we were off to the Capitol to visit and discuss the issues.  As usual Southern charm rules and the Florida delegation was warmly received by the staffers of our Representatives and Senators.  Our delivery was professional and I believe our message was heard.  I was encouraged that most were interested in us because we were their constituents in the districts.

It was an interesting experience that I would love to have the chance to repeat.

office visit1

After a quick bite in the underground cafeteria, I was off to the METRO for one last ride to the Airport.  Thank you, YALSA for the opportunity to #act4teens and represent the interests of Florida libraries in Washington.

Grand Central Station           Metro seal

 

======

Vandy Pacetti-Donelson is a Library Media Specialist. She is a library advocate and board member for the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME). Find her online at www.eliterateandlevelingup.com or follow her on Twitter @VandyPD.

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7. ‘Song of the Sea’ Wins Top Prize at Irish Academy Awards

Cartoon Saloon's latest animated feature goes up against live-action features and wins!

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8. ‘Waves ’98′ Beats Out Live-Action Shorts For Cannes Palme d’Or

An animated project wins the top short film prize at Cannes.

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9. Awards and School Visits

If your book receives awards, will that increase your school visit invitations?

http://coolschoolvisits.com/2015/04/30/will-awards-net-you-more-author-visit-invitations/

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10. Orion Book Award Finalists Revealed

Orion, the bimonthly magazine that publishes writing that explores the connection between nature and culture, has revealed the finalists for the 2015 Orion Book Award.

The books were chosen based on their ability to “deepen the reader’s connection to the natural world through fresh ideas and excellence in writing.” Five fiction finalists and five nonfiction finalists were selected.

The five fiction finalists for the 2015 Orion Book Award are: “The Bees” by Laline Paull (Ecco); “Divine Animal” by Scott Russell Sanders (Earth Works Publishing); “Invisible Beasts” by Sharona Muir (Bellevue Literary Press); “The Land of Love and Drowning” by Tiphanie Yanique (Riverhead Books); and “Long Man” by Amy Greene (Alfred A. Knopf).

The five nonfiction finalists include: “A Country Called Childhood” by Jay Griffiths (Counterpoint); “Feral” by George Monbiot (The University of Chicago Press); “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert (Henry Holt and Company); “Windfall” by McKenzie Funk (The Penguin Press); and “Zoologies” by Alison Hawthorne Deming (Milkweed Editions).

The winners will be announced in the second week of June.

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11. Children’s Book Wins Australian Book Awards Book of the Year

“The 52-Storey Treehouse” by Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton has won book of the year at the 2015 Australian Book Industry Awards. The book’s publisher, Macmillan Pan Macmillan Australia, won the publisher of the year.

The book follows the adventures of two the two creators as they try to build a massive tree house. Here is more from the book’s description:

Andy and Terry’s incredible, ever-expanding treehouse has 13 new storeys, including a watermelon-smashing level, a wave machine, a life-size snakes and ladders game (with real ladders and real snakes), a rocket-powered carrot-launcher, a Ninja Snail Training Academy and a high-tech detective agency with all the latest high-tech detective technology, which is lucky because they have a BIG mystery to solve – where is Mr Big Nose???

“Lost & Found” by Brooke Davis won the award for best general fiction book. “Foreign Soil” by Maxine Beneba Clarke won the award for best literary fiction book. “Where Song Began” by Tim Low won the prize for best general nonfiction book of the year.

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12. PEN Center Emerging Voices Fellowship Seeks Submissions

PEN Center USA is looking for submissions for its 2016 Emerging Voices Fellowship. The literary fellowship exists to help launch literary careers for writers that lack the tools and access to do so on their own.
Writers can find applications at this link. The deadline for submissions is August 10, 2015. Fellows that are selected will earn a $1,000 grant and will participate in an eight month professional mentorship program. This includes courses donated by UCLA Writers’ Extension Program, being a part of hosted Author Evenings with authors and several public readings in Los Angeles.Fellows will be paired with mentors. In the past, Sherman Alexie, Aimee Bender, Chris Abani, Héctor Tobar, Ron Carlson, Jerry Stahl, Susan Straight and Harryette Mullen have all served as mentors.

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13. Advocating for School Libraries – a Primer

“What?  I need to do what?  But what does that mean?”  These are exactly the words that flashed through my mind when I attended my first annual conference and heard a keynote speaker say,  “It is our responsibility to advocate for our students, our programs and our profession.”  After what I consider a compulsory moment of internal panic, [inside voice:  I have a new responsibility.  No one told me about it.  I don’t even know how!  This did not happen in library school. What?]  I began to calm myself.  [It is a brand new day and I can do this, I think.  Ok, but first, I will read the new Neal Shusterman book.]

Now, several years later, as I stare at the four stools behind my circulation desk and feel their lonely state, I now understand that is is my responsibility to advocate for my students, my program, and my profession.

AASL provides the best definition:

Advocacy is the ongoing process of building partnerships so that others will act for and with you, turning passive support into educated action for the library program.

WHY ADVOCATE

When we advocate, we are building partnerships and educating others to act on behalf of our students and programs.  I don’t know about you, but I can always use the extra help. Part of being effective is seeking the resources needed for your program.  If you want help, you must ask.  (It is not WWII, the volunteer generation has left the building.)  Trust me, relying on the collective memories of library experiences from your stakeholders to drive them to act is a bad idea.  You must share your vision in order to offer opportunities for investment.

WHAT I CAN DO NOW

  1. STAY POSITIVE.  No one likes to hear about the downfall of the library or your fear about losing your job or your program.  This is negative branding and you let them know you are expendable.  Worse, no one is comfortable, so they avoid the media center.  Post your positive message where you can see it every day, the message you will share when others ask how are things are going.

Exa.  “Hey, did you know the new Florida Teens Read List was just announced.  So many of the books look so good!  I can’t wait to read them.”

Exa.  “I am just arranging the new college and career section!  Isn’t it great!”

Exa.  “Oh, these kids are keeping me busy, busy, busy!”

  1. COLLABORATE.  Stop acting like it is somebody else’s job to come find you to seek your collaboration.  Email, visit, call.  What they get comfortable with, they will seek out.  Make teachers comfortable with your assistance.

Exa.  “Oh, Mrs. Teacher, what are you working on now with your students?  I would love to share some ideas with you.”

  1. SHARE.  With students and staff--Use a bulletin board in the media center to share information and another one on campus.  With parents--Place information from your program in the school’s newsletter.  If you don’t have a page on your school’s website, ask for one.  With the entire community--Make your own media center website.  Develop your use of Twitter and use a unique hashtag for messages from your program.
  2. GIVE GOOD PROGRAMS.  Good library programs grow programs.    Good programs encourage us all to be excited about visiting the library or media center.
  3. LEARN.  Participate in webinars.  Attend conference.  Learn from more experienced professionals about their successful library efforts.

WHAT I CAN DO SIX MONTHS FROM NOW

  1. TAKE YOUR POSITIVITY TO THE NEXT LEVEL.  Share it with others.  Join a professional association and find ways to connect with other media specialist and librarians.
  2. PLAN NEW COLLABORATIONS.  Find ways that your programs can add value to what is already happening in your school or community.  Exa.  Blood drive and book fair or blood drive and fine forgiveness program.
  3. SHARE MORE.  Shout out to your helpers, mentors, sponsors, and contributors in your email, your newsletter, your local newspaper, on your website, and on Twitter and Facebook.
  4. PLAN AND GIVE ONE OR TWO EPIC PROGRAMS PER YEAR.  Author visit, local official acts as librarian for a day, book fairs, comic con, Dia de los Muertos, etc.  Let your community interests be your guide.
  5. LEARN WHAT WORKS.  Track your attendance and usage connected with programs.  Do more of what works in your community.

WHAT I CAN DO A YEAR FROM NOW

  1. POSITIVITY FOR ALL.  Write an article about something you do. Present at a conference or meeting.  Speak with lawmakers about your programs and what they do for the community.
  2. FIND COMMUNITY PARTNERS.  From ladies club to sewing club to car club, there is a club out there that wants to be involved with your patrons.  Find them and let them in.
  3. SHARE THE RESULTS.  Pictures are the only evidence that matters in the community.  Make picture taking a part of every program, activity, and event.
  4. LEARN FROM YOUR PROGRAMMING.  What doesn’t work does not often have to be tossed.  Survey your patrons. Maybe your just missing one small element that can change the focus.
  5. LEARN something new that inspires you!  Only the inspired continue to be creative and we are in the business of creativity.  You don’t have to jump on every band wagon, but an occasional “ride around the park” can add a fresh perspective.

BONUS ROUND

  1. Share what you do and how it affects your community by advocating for libraries and the profession on National Legislative Library Days in Washington or Legislative Days in your state.

“Oh, the things that you can do…”
======
Vandy Pacetti-Donelson is a Library Media Specialist. She is a library advocate and board member for the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME). Find her online at www.eliterateandlevelingup.com or follow her on Twitter @VandyPD.

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14. 2015 Glyph Comics Award winners announced, led by Shaft

The 2015 Glyph Awards, recognizing the best in African American comics, were presented over the weekend, and here are the winners:

TNShaft01CovACowan

STORY OF THE YEAR
SHAFT; David F. Walker, Writer; Bilquis Evely, Artist

BEST WRITER
Keef Cross; DAY BLACK

BEST ARTIST
Nelson Blake 2; ARTIFACTS

BEST COVER
OFFSET #1 – THE MAN WHO TRAVELS WITH A PIECE OF SUGARCANE; Tristan Roach

BEST MALE CHARACTER
Bass Reeves; BASS REEVES: TALES OF THE TALENTED TENTH ; Joel Christian Gill, Writer and Artist

BEST FEMALE CHARACTER
Ajala Storm; AJALA: A SERIES OF ADVENTURES; Robert Garrett, Writer; N Steven Harris and Walt Msonza Barna, Artists

RISING STAR AWARD
Alverne Ball and Jason Reeves, Writers; Lee Moyer and Ari Syahrazad, Artists; ONE NATION: OLD DRUIDS

BEST COMIC STRIP OR WEBCOMIC
KAMIKAZE; Alan and Carrie Tupper, Writers and Artists; Havana Nguyen, Artist

BEST REPRINT PUBLICATION
TECHWATCH; Chameleon Creations

FAN AWARD FOR BEST WORK
ONENATION: SAFEHOUSE; Jason Reeves, Writer; Samax Amen and Deon De Lange, Artists

day_blackI had the pleasure of reading some of these as a judge for the Dwayne McDuffie award and all are worth checking out. Shaft has gotten a lot of positive support here there and everywhere. I’d also like to note that Day Black comes out from Rosarium  and it’s a very well written vampire story about a slave who is turned and is a tattoo artist in the present day. It has a very unusual style.

 

Congrats to all the winners!

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15. The Children’s Book Council Wins BEA’s Industry Ambassador Award

BookExpo America (BEA) has selected the Children’s Book Council to receive the Industry Ambassador Award.

The honor recognizes innovators and creative business leaders in the book industry.  The fifth year in existence, this is the first time the award is going to an organization rather than to an individual. Steven Rosato, Show Manager of BEA, will present the award to Jon Colman, Executive Director of CBC, at a ceremony at BookExpo America on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 4:00pm.

“I could not be happier than to be honoring the Children’s Book Council this year,” stated Steve Rosato, Show Manager for BookExpo America. “They are supreme advocates for literacy fostering relationships and partnerships with other important organizations such as the unPrison Project, We Need Diverse Books, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.  They are a tireless book industry advocate which makes them especially suited to receive this award which was specifically created to recognize industry leadership.   They are true leaders.”

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16. Redeployment Takes 2015 Chautauqua Prize

philklayPhil Klay‘s National Book Award-winning book Redeployment has won the 2015 Chautauqua Prize.

The prize includes a $7,500 award, as well as a week long summer residency at  Chautauqua for himself and his wife. At the residency, Klay will host a public reading of his book and a book signing on Saturday July 25 at the Hall of Philosophy. “I’m thrilled to come to the original Chautauqua,” stated Klay. “I’m incredibly honored by this, and looking forward to meeting folks there.”

A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Klay explores the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in this short story collection.

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17. 2015 National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award

The Zula B. Wylie Public Library has been chosen as a 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award (NAHYP) finalist by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and its partner agencies, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.   The library was chosen as one of 50 finalists from 335 nominations, for its successful youth after-school and out-of-school arts and humanities learning programs.

The Zula B. Wylie Public Library is a cultural center for the community and provides diverse programming in the arts and humanities.  These highly professional activities include storytelling for youth, piano keyboarding and African drumming classes, art contests with local schools and author signing and book talks.  A themed annual Summer Reading Program is conducted for all ages with a variety of activities designed to encourage reading during the summer. The library also provides support services such as homework help, access to tutoring, and mentoring, career skill development workshops and readers advisory.

IMG_3114

One of the highlighted after school programs that the award winning library provides is the youth storytellers program for students in 3rd through 6th grades.  Approximately 60 students have participated in the storytelling program which was started in 2009 by professional storytellers Traphene Hickman and Toni Simmons.  Storytelling is an age old tradition, not only for entertainment, but to teach lessons, values and morals, to motivate and innovate and to pass on culture and heritage.  Storytelling provides the opportunity for oral expression of ideas, teaches public speaking skills and exposes students to a wide variety of literature from different cultures.

For more information regarding the Zula B. Wylie Public Library’s youth after-school and out-of-school programs please visit www.cedarhilllibraries.org.

 

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18. Submit Your Picture Book Manuscript to the New Voices Award!

New Voices Award sealSummer is almost there! That means that the sixteenth annual NEW VOICES AWARD is now open for submissions. Established in 2000, the New Voices Award was one of the first (and remains one of the only) writing contests specifically designed to help authors of color break into publishing, an industry in which they are still dramatically underrepresented.

Change requires more than just goodwill; it requires concrete action. The New Voices Award is a concrete step towards evening the playing field by seeking out talented new authors of color who might otherwise remain under the radar of mainstream publishing.

NEW VOICES AWARD submissions we have published include Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story, It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw, and Bird.

The contest is open to writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a children’s picture book published.

The deadline for this award is September 30, 2015.

For more eligibility and submissions details, visit the New Voices Award page and read these FAQs. Spread the word to any authors you know who may be interested. Happy writing to you all and best of luck!

 

 

 

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19. Marcia Brown

by Janet A. Loranger

Thirty-seven years ago, Marcia Brown published her first picture book for children: The Little Carousel.* On June 28, 1983, she received her third Caldecott Medal for Shadow. Those years from 1946 to 1983 have encompassed one of the most distinguished careers in American children’s books. That her latest book has received such a signal honor and that she is the first illustrator to be awarded the medal three times are evidences of the undiminished vitality and richness of her contribution to the field. It is an uncommon achievement.

The nourishment of such a gift and such an achievement comes from many sources. Marcia grew up in several small towns in upstate New York, one of three daughters in a minister’s family. Everyone in the household loved music and reading, and her father also passed along to her, especially, his joy in using his hands. From childhood Marcia was allowed to use his tools and learned to respect and care for them. And from her own workbench and tools, in later years, have come the wood blocks and linoleum cuts that illustrate such handsome books as Once a Mouse… (1961), How, Hippo! (1969), All Butterflies (1974), and Backbone of the King (1966). Marcia feels that the most important legacy her parents gave her was a deep pleasure in using her eyes — for seeing, rather than merely for looking. Her keen delight in the details of nature and her acute observation of them are evident in all her books — most dramatically, perhaps, in the beautiful photographic nature books Walk with Your Eyes, Listen to a Shape, and Touch Will Tell (all Watts, 1979).

As a college student, Marcia was interested in botany, biology, art, and literature. During summer vacations she worked in Woodstock, New York, at a resort hotel and studied painting with Judson Smith, whose criticism and inspiration have remained an important influence in her life and art. After graduation she taught high school English, directed dramatic productions for a few years, and worked in summer stock. Some years later, she became a puppeteer in New York City and also taught puppetry for the extra-mural department of the University of the West Indies.

When Marcia moved to New York City, her interest in children’s book illustration drew her to work in the Central Children’s Room of The New York Public Library, where she gained invaluable experience in storytelling and an exposure to the library’s large international and historical collections. Here, too, she received encouragement from such outstanding children’s librarians as Anne Carroll Moore, Helen A. Masten, and Maria Cimino.

Marcia’s particular interest in folklore and fairy tales is apparent to anyone familiar with her books. Marcia believes strongly that the classic tales give children images and insights that will stay with them all their lives. To each of these stories she has brought her own special vision, her integrity, and a vitality that speaks powerfully and directly to children.

A very important influence in her life and in her books has been the stimulus of travel — that mind- and eye-stretching jolt out of the usual. Marcia has traveled widely in Europe, Great Britain, Russia, East Africa, the Middle East, and the Far East, including China. If she has a “home away from home,” it is Italy, the country with which she has felt most profoundly in tune. She lived in Italy, off and on, for four years, spending much of her time painting. Felice (1958) and Tamarindo! (1960) are books that grew out of her love for that country and her friendships with Italians. Marcia still writes to friends there, in Italian, and is able to converse with them in the language when she calls them on special occasions. France, too, has a special place in her life, and she spent over a year there; while living in Paris, she studied the flute with a member of the Paris Conservatory Orchestra. On a speaking trip to Hawaii she was so overwhelmed by the incredible beauty of the islands that she returned to spend many months and to do the research that was the basis for one of her most powerful books, Backbone of the King, a retelling of a great Hawaiian hero legend.

In the late 1960s Marcia gave up her long-time residence in New York City and moved to a small town in southeastern Connecticut. For the first time she was able to design and build a studio to fit her needs. It is a large room with a balcony at one end, a high ceiling with two skylights, and areas for doing painting, woodcuts, drawing, photography, sewing, and flute playing. The house is surrounded by hemlocks, and the woods nearby are filled with possums, raccoons, deer, squirrels, and birds. Not far from her property is the small river that provided the inspiration and the evocative winter photographs for her only filmstrip, The Crystal Cavern, published by Lyceum Productions in 1974. The plants, trees, wildflowers, and animals — and the changing seasons — are a constant source of stimulus and delight. Her greatest problem is finding time for all the interests she wants to pursue at home and also for going to New York to attend operas, ballets, concerts, and museums — and for traveling.

Most days, Marcia gets up early and spends some time reading while she has her breakfast. Just now, she is interested in the recently published book about a journey through the byways of America, Blue Highways, by William Least Heat Moon (Atlantic-Little). She finds many of the conversations the author had with residents of small, out-of-the-way villages the stuff of living folklore. Later, she might go to her studio and practice Chinese brush painting, a technique which first interested her in 1977 and which she began to study seriously, with a teacher, two years ago. Her paintings of lotuses, bamboo, plum blossoms, birds, and dramatic landscapes fill the walls of her living room and studio. She has begun to exhibit, along with other artists practicing the technique, and has sold several paintings.

If she has a sewing project, as she often does, Marcia will spend time on the studio balcony, where she has set up a sewing area. And each day, she faithfully practices her flute. She feels very fortunate to be studying with John Solum, a much-esteemed concert flutist, who lives in a nearby town. When she sews or paints, or works on illustrations, there is always music — as necessary to her as food. Her love of music and the dance and her deep understanding of them perhaps account, in part, for the grace, rhythm, and strength of her writing and illustration. Most certainly they are profound influences. Because her work requires solitude and long stretches of concentration, she often does not see as much of her friends as she would like to, but she accepts this fact as a price that must be paid.

Marcia Brown’s books have unquestionably stood the test of time. Nearly all of them are still in print — a certain proof of their enduring hold on generations of children. Never has Marcia been interested in passing fashions in children’s book illustration. She has worked in many media but not for the sake of variety; rather, she has always let the story and her feeling for it determine the medium and the style. Her particular vision and her uncompromising integrity have been rewarded in the past: two Caldecott Medals (for Cinderella in 1955 and for Once a Mouse… in 1962), six Caldecott Honor books, two nominations for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for Distinguished Service to Children’s Literature, and the Regina Medal. Now, after so many years of creating memorable children’s books, Marcia stands in a unique position — one abundantly deserved. It is gratifying that the children’s librarians of America, the dedicated people who bring children and books together, have honored her in so special a way.


 

*Except where another publisher is indicated, all books mentioned are published by Scribner.

From the August 1983 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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20. American Academy of Arts and Letters Names Atwood & Calasso as Members

Authors Margaret Atwood and Roberto Calasso have been elected as foreign honorary members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The authors were named along with three composers. The recipients were chosen by vote of the 250 members of the Academy.

In addition, William H. Gass‘ novel “Middle C” was honored with the William Dean Howells Medal for the best novel published in the last five years. Louise Gluck was given the Gold Medal for Poetry.

These honors will be given out at a ceremony in May, after which an exhibition featuring art, architecture, books, and manuscripts will be on display from May 21 to June 14.

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21. Bunjevic, Fitzgerald, Willumsen and Ting win 2015 Doug Wright Awards

Although I live tweeted the ceremony with its grandeur and tradition, I neglected to list the WINNERS of the 2015 Doug Wright Awards which honor the finest in Canadian cartooning. The awards were presented Saturday night during TCAF in a ceremony enlivened by beloved antics from Seth, David Collier and author Don McKeller. The winners were:

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Best Book
Fatherland by Nina Bunjevac (Jonathan Cape/Random House)

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Doug Wright Spotlight Award:

Meags Fitzgerald, for Photobooth: A Biography (Conundrum Press)

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Pigskin Peters Award:

“Swinespritzen” by Connor Willumsen

The Giants of the North Hall of Fame prize went to 93-year-old Merle “Ting” Tingley.

While there really would have been no combination of winners that would have been bad, I was especially pleased to see this line-up. Willmsen was a FOUR TIME nominee in this “experimental comic” category and rather than turn him into the Roger Deakins of comics, it was high time to recognize his growing body of bold and groundbreaking work. “Swinespritzen” is a particularly fitting breakthrough since he apparently drew most of it overnight while sitting on a park bench prior to last year’s Comic Arts Brooklyn festival.

Bunjevic’s Fatherland won out over the better known This One Summer, and while that book has won a ton of much deserved awards, Fatherland didn’t really get any attention her ein the US and it should. It’s a tense, dark memoir about a family torn apart by passions and politics, as a mother has to make a bold move to save her family from a danger coming from inside the family. Bunjevid’s dense, crosshatched art style is perfect for the story. I’m told it got some attention in Canada, but hopefully this award gets it more in general.

Fitzgerald’s Photobooth is another daring, innovative book mixing a history of the humble photobooth with the obsession that Fitzgerald and a small band of fans have for the vanishing technology, and once again, for a debut graphic novel it’s an amazingly accomplished piece.

US comics fans are probably not familiar with Ting’s work, but Seth’s speech about him made it clear why he was deserving of the award, and a video of the cartoonist—both mentally and physically incapacited— receiving an award from Seth inspired genuine emotion in the audience…so much so that as the next preseter Lynda Barry came up she had to wipe away tears.

The DWA ceremony is the one awards that you can’t miss, and this is part of the reason. The entire ceremony was lovely and wonderful, as are the winners.

The winners were decided by a jury that included Fiona Smyth, Zach Worton, and Conan Tobias.

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22. 2015 Jane Addams Book Awards

JANE ADDAMS CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARDS ANNOUNCED

Recipients of the 2015 Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards were announced today by the Jane Addams Peace Association. Since 1953, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award annually acknowledges books published in the U.S. during the previous year. Books commended by the Award address themes or topics that engage children in thinking about peace, justice, world community and/or equality of the sexes and all races. The books also must meet conventional standards of literacy and artistic excellence.
Winner in the Books for Younger Readers Category

Separate is Never Equal, written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers. When Sylvia Mendez and her siblings enrolled in a new school system, they were told they must attend an inferior “school for Mexicans” because they were dirty, uneducated, and didn’t speak English –despite that all of these things were demonstrably untrue. Sylvia’s family worked tirelessly to unite the Latino community and bring an end to the segregation. Separate is Never Equal brings the story to life with illustrations done in a style meant to echo Mayan codex figures.

Winner in the Books for Older Readers Category

The Girl From the Tar Paper School by Teri Kanefield, also published by Abrams Books for Young Readers. Sixteen year old Barbara Rose Johns, a high school student, led a student walk out to protest racial inequality in the school system. It was the first public protest of its kind, and one of the cases that helped end segregation as part of Brown vs. the Board of Education.

Honor Books in the Younger Reader Category


Whispering Town, written by Jennifer Elvgren, illustrated by Fabio Santomauro, and published by Kar-Ben Publishing, tells the story of a young child in a small town in Nazi-occupied Denmark that united to smuggle Jews out of the country. Perfectly balancing the dread of the situation with the heroism of the townspeople, this book is an excellent introduction to the subject matter for young children.

Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914, by John Hendrix, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, tells the story of the Christmas Truce in the trenches of WWI. The powerful story conveys the futility of war and the powerlessness of individual soldiers who are nonetheless united in eking out a moment of shared humanity amid chaos.

Honor Books in the Books for Older Children category

Revolution, by Deborah Wiles, published by Scholastic Press, uses a unique format that incorporates primary source documents and song lyrics from the 1960’s with more conventional novel narration to tell the story of Freedom Summer through the eyes of young people whose worlds are turning upside down. Primarily told through the voice of Sunny, a young white girl, depth and perspective are added to the narrative through Raymond, a black boy, and a third-person narrator.

Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal, by Margarita Engle, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is a complex book that uses free verse poetry to give a voice to the many lives touched by the creation of the Panama Canal including the workers from the Caribbean, indigenous people, employees from the U.S., and even the jungle itself, conveying a story of profound injustice and inequality – and a fight for basic human rights.

A national committee chooses winners and honor books for younger and older children. Members of the 2015 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Committee are Marianne Baker (VA), Kathryn Bruce (TN), Ann Carpenter (chair, MA), Julie Olsen Edwards (CA), Susan Freiss (WI), Lani Gerson (MA), Jacqui Kolar (IL), Lauren Mayer (WA), Beth McGowan (IL), Mary Napoli (PA), Heather Palmer (MN), Ilza Garcia (TX), Sonja Cherry-Paul (NY). Regional reading and discussion groups of all ages participated with many of the committee members throughout the jury’s evaluation and selection process.

The 2015 Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards will be presented on Friday, October 16, 2015 in New York City. Details about the award event and about securing winner and honor book seals are available from the Jane Addams Peace Association (JAPA). Contact JAPA Executive Director Linda B. Belle, 777 United Nations Plaza, 6th Floor, NY, NY 10017-3521; by phone 212.682.8830; and by email japa@igc.org.
For additional information about the Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards and a complete list of books honored since 1953, see www.janeaddamspeace.org.

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23. Volunteer for 2017 Award Committees and 2016 YA Services Symposium Planning Taskforce!

Thank you to all who ran for positions on the 2017 Edwards, Nonfiction & Printz Award Committees and congratulations to those who were elected!

These award committees are partially filled by elected spots and partially filled by appointed spots, so now through June 15th, YALSA is collecting volunteer forms for the 2017 Edwards, Nonfiction and Printz Award Committees that will begin work Feb. 1st, 2016 and for the 2016 YA Services Symposium Planning Taskforce that will begin work later this year .

If you are interested in one of these committees or the Symposium taskforce, the first thing to do is learn all about what the expectations are for members of these groups.

These resources can help:

YALSA is seeking individuals with the highest ethical standards, a passion for YALSA's mission and expertise in evaluating YA literature to serve on these awards committees.

If you feel you have met the criteria and have the time available to serve on one of these YALSA award committees or the symposium taskforce, you are encouraged to fill out the Committee Volunteer Form between now and June 15th at http://www.ala.org/CFApps/Committee/volunteerform/volunteerform2.cfm?group1=YALSA

In order to be eligible to serve on a YALSA committee, you must be a current personal member.

To learn more about membership, or to join, go to http://www.ala.org/yalsa/join.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me at candice.YALSA@gmail.com

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24. Gill Lewis Wins the 2015 Little Rebels Book Award

Scarlety Ibis, by Gill Lewis (OUP, 2014) - winner of the Little Rebels Book Award 2015

Gill Lewis has won this year’s Little Rebels Book Award for her book Scarlet Ibis (OUP, 2014). The announcement was made at the London Radical Bookfair last … Continue reading ...

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25. Yale Publishing Course Winners Revealed

The Yale Publishing Course has revealed the winners of the inaugural \"Innovative Leader Scholarship\" to this summer’s Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media and Leadership Strategies in Book Publishing programs.

Tarek El-Elaimy, Marketing Manager for North America, American University in Cairo Press (New York, USA) has won the domestic award. Deborah Ahenkorah, Executive Director & Co-Founder, Golden Baobab and Founder, African Bureau for Children’s Stories (Accra, Ghana) has won the international award. These financial awards are aimed at helping emerging leaders enhance their educational experiences.

“This year’s pool of applicants included a wonderfully diverse group of outstanding innovators,” stated Tina Weiner, Director of the Course. “Their professionalism, enthusiasm, and desire to improve their leadership skills and become better prepared to meet the challenges of the digital future reflect the mission of our program. It was a difficult task to choose the winners, but I am confident that the four recipients will be great additions to the class of 2015.”

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