This is old news at this point, but I’ve been so busy that I’m just now FINALLY getting around to posting it here. So, just in case you’ve been too busy to keep up with the news in the children’s literature industry, Emmanuel’s Dream has won the Schneider Family Book Award from the American Library Association! The purpose of this special award is to “honor an author or illustrator for the artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences,” so I’m extremely honored that the committee selected Emmanuel’s Dream.
This and other Youth Media Awards were announced on January 11, 2016, during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Boston and via live stream. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have to get up at 5am to catch them, but it was definitely worth it! The award itself will be presented in Orlando during the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition in June, and both Sean and I are both expecting to be able to attend.
Recipients are selected in three categories: birth through grade school (age 0–8), middle grade (age 9–13) and teens (age 14–18). Emmanuel’s Dream won the award for young children, which was the very first award to be announced in the entire program. Next up was Fish in a Tree, which won a middle-grade award. This only added to my excitement, as it was written by my friend and agency sister Lynda Mullaly Hunt!
Thank you to all of the members of the 2016 Schneider Family Book Award committee, including Alyson Beecher (committee chair), Nancy L. Baumann, Betsy Fraser, Beth McGuire, Elsworth Rockefeller, Joanna Tamplin, Caroline Ward, and Jill Garcia! I’m especially grateful to Katherine Schneider and the Schneider family for sponsoring this important award. It is such a huge honor to receive it, and I hope it will help the book find its way into the hands of more kids who need to hear its message. Thank you also to my fantastic agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette, for believing in this story; to Sean Qualls, for illustrating it so beautifully; and to everyone at Schwartz & Wade/Random House for all of their hard work and dedication, which made it into the book it is today. And look, they even sent me some gorgeous flowers to celebrate!
On the heels of the Schneider Family Award, it was also announced that Emmanuel’s Dream was included on the ALA ALSC’s Notable Children’s Books list. Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children’s books. According to the Notables Criteria, “notable” is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children’s books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways. It’s an incredible honor to see Emmanuel’s Dream on that list of amazing books! Thank you, ALSC!