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Laura Ingalls Wilder Acceptance Speech

For those of you who haven't had a chance to listen, here's my Laura Ingalls Wilder Award acceptance speech, given in Chicago, Illinois, at the American Library Association's annual conference on June 25, 2017. That's Starr LaTronica, Vermont public librarian, introducing me. She and the selection committee honored me with this deeply appreciated recognition of my contributions to children's and teen literature. Thanks to the ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) for making this available.

Garvey's ChoiceMyra Cohn Livingston Award

What an honor it is to have Garvey's Choice awarded the Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Poetry by the Children's Literature Council of Southern California. I will be accepting the award at their 2017 Fall Gala, along with other award winners, Jennifer L. Holm, K.G. Campbell, Nicola Yoon, Alyson Beecher and Althea Allarey. Steve Sheinkin will be keynote speaker. I am thrilled at the recognition for Garvey.

There Are Some Things You Cannot Imagine

This week I learned that the American Library Association has bestowed its Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal on me for "a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children."

Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal

Laura Ingalls Wilder AwardThe Laura Ingalls Wilder Committee wrote, "Nikki Grimes’s thoughtful and emotionally powerful works acknowledge the complex realities of today’s children. She uses a variety of poetic forms: free verse, tanka, haiku, linked and paired poems reflect the African-American experience while celebrating universal themes of family, identity, empathy, friendship, and community. Her poetry is smart, funny, heart-wrenching, and satisfying. It is empowering, nurturing readers’ imagination, and encouraging children to find their own means of self-expression."

The day I learned this news, I shared on Facebook, "There are some things you can imagine, and others you simply cannot. Winning the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal is one of the latter. I am shaking. I am stunned. I am deeply honored. I feel God smiling on me, this morning. I thank you all for sharing in my joy."

I'd like to thank Committee chair Starr La Tronica and Committee members Julie A. Corsaro, Robin L. Gibson, Luann Toth, and Virginia A. Walter for naming me to this august group of children's authors and illustrators.

Thank you as well to all of the people who have been beside me all along the way, reading my books, encouraging me, mentoring me, offering friendship and support. I am truly grateful.

Garvey's ChoiceWhat an Honor!

My sincere thank you to the Pennsylvania Center for the Book and Penn State University Libraries and the committee who selected Garvey's Choice as an Honor Book for this year's Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award. They chose Jose Argueta's book “Somos como las nubes/We Are Like the Clouds” for the Award. Garvey is in excellent company!

Here's the criteria for this award: "Good poetry is imaginative. It deals with emotion and has significance beyond the act of creation. It uses figurative language, yet is compact in thought and expression. Good poetry has an element of beauty and truth which appears unstable outside of the poem. The book which wins the Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for Children’s Poetry must be accessible to children and its presentation must serve the poem or poems in an attractive and appropriate manner."

You can see why it's a thrill to have Garvey's Choice honored in this way.

New Covers for Two Favorite Books

Mary Rudine, Sam, and Ishmael are getting some extra love from Barnes & Noble. HarperCollins, my publisher, designed new covers for their books, A Girl Named Mister and Dark Sons. Aren't they appealing? Look for special displays of these two books in your nearest Barnes & Noble. Thanks to everyone for recommending these teen stories, told in verse, to your favorite readers.

A Girl Named Mister Dark Sons

A Girl Named Mister

Mary Rudine, called Mister by almost everyone, has attended church and sung in the choir for as long as she can remember. But then she meets Trey. His long lashes and smooth words make her question everything, and one mistake leaves her hiding a growing secret.

Another Mary is excited about her upcoming wedding, and has done everything according to Jewish law. So when an angel appears and tells her—a virgin—she’ll give birth, Mary can’t help but feel confused, and soon finds herself struggling with the realities of God’s blessing.

While feeling abandoned, Mister is drawn to Mary’s story, and through reading begins to understand the future laid before her.

Dark Sons

A guy whose father ripped his heart out too.

You and me, Ishmael, we’re brothers, two dark sons.

Destroyed, lost, and isolated, the perspectives of two teenage boys—modern-day Sam, and biblical Ishmael—unite over millennia to illustrate the power of forgiveness.

Garvey's ChoiceGarvey's Choice Makes the News!

Five starred reviews! Booklist gave it a starred review and so did Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Media Connection, and School Library Journal. Very proud that it's been selected for the Junior Library Guild.

In addition, Garvey is showing up on Best Book lists for 2016:

ALA Notable Book
Booklist Top 10 Contemporary Middle Grade Novel
Booklist: Top 10 Diverse Fiction List
Chicago Public Library Best Books of 2016
Cybils 2016 Poetry finalist
Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award selections 2018-2019
Junior Library Guild
Kansas State Reading Circle Best of the Best
Kirkus Reviews Best Middle Grade Books of 2016
NCTE Notable Verse Novels 2017
Notable Books for a Global Society
School Library Journal Best Middle Grade Books of 2016
YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

I'm so glad you like Garvey's story.

Learn more about Garvey's Choice.

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A Girl Named Mister Dark Sons