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Virginia Hamilton AwardWe authors work in secret but, sometimes, God rewards us in the open.  Today, he blessed me with a gift bearing the name of my brilliant friend, the late Virginia Hamilton. I know both she and Arnold Adoff would share my joy over winning the 2022 Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award! What an honor.

balloons to celebrate Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award

My agent, Elizabeth Harding, sent these balloons in celebration of my Coretta Scott King Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award! Notice the "C" has a mind of its own. Just like me!

The 2022 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award nominations were announced, and I am deeply grateful to be among those nominated from the United States.

It is an extraordinary honor to be considered for this prize, and the nomination, alone, is something to be celebrated.

The representation from the U.S. is remarkable. Congratulations to one and all!

Tulsa Library Trust

Award from the Tulsa Library Trust

I have been graced with the Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature, which "gives formal recognition, on behalf of the Tulsa County community, to a nationally acclaimed author who has made a significant contribution to the field of literature for young adults. The award, presented by the Tulsa Library Trust, consists of a $10,000 cash prize and an engraved crystal book." I am deeply touched by this Award, which I will accept on Friday, May 6, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.

One Last WordVOYA 2018 Nonfiction Honor Winner

So pleased to find this article by Judith Hayn, "Fantastic Nonfiction YA! VOYA 2018 Nonfiction Honor Winners," published in Dr. Bickmore's YA Wednesday. A long-time reviewer for VOYA, Judith had this to say:

"However, my favorite winner is literary in scope. Nikki Grimes’ One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance features the works of poets of that era. She uses the “golden shovel” technique by creating her own poems using the original words from the classics as her last lines or words. 

​"The artwork by contemporary African American young adult/children’s artists adds emotional impact. Language arts teachers should grab this multiple award winner whether teaching the Harlem Renaissance or not, powerful and inspirational tool."

Thank you, Judith! I hope teachers will feature this book in their classrooms and libraries, too!

Garvey's ChoiceSo Honored

I received wonderful news today that The Lion and the Unicorn has bestowed its Award for Excellence in North American Poetry 2017 on Garvey's Choice.

Thank you to the committee members for selecting Garvey to receive your distinguished accolade.

One Last Word 2018 International Youth Library White Ravens List

I am delighted to learn that One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance is a White Raven 2018. It has been selected for the annual catalogue of book recommendations in the field of international children’s and youth literature. This year’s White Ravens catalogue contains 200 titles in 38 languages from 59 countries.

The 200 short reviews are available in the White Ravens database on the White Ravens website.

The printed catalogue will be launched at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2018. At the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2019 next April, all the 200 White Ravens books will be on display at the International Youth Library’s stand.

A Pocketful of Poems to Be Available in Paperback

Haiku poetry has long been one of my favorite forms, and A Pocketful of Poems gave me an opportunity to share the love with young readers. Over the years, scores of teachers and librarians have made this book their go-to when sharing poetry with their young charges, and I couldn't be more pleased. Now this popular mentor text will enjoy an extended life in paperback! Nice.

A Pocketful of Poems

One Last Word2018 Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Poetry

I was recently notified that One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance has won this award that resonates strongly with me. Anush Balayan from the Children Literature Council wrote to notify me: "As Chair of the 2018 Children’s Literature Council of Southern California Awards Committee, it is my great pleasure to inform you that you have been named the recipient of the Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Poetry for One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance. We want to thank you for writing this beautiful work of poetry that not only brings the work of the great poets of the Harlem Renaissance to life for young readers, but also inspires a love for poetry."

There will be a Gala held at Luminarias restaurant in Monterey Park, California, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on October 27, 2018. Margarita Engle will be the guest speaker. Join us for the celebration!

One Last Word2018 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award

From the Penn State press release:

“The Penn State University Libraries and the Pennsylvania Center for the Book have announced the 2018 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, presented annually to an American poet or anthologist for the most outstanding new book of poetry for children published in the previous calendar year. This year’s winner is One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance, written by Nikki Grimes and published in 2017 by Bloomsbury.

“In One Last Word, Grimes looks afresh at the poets of the Harlem Renaissance by combining their work with her own original poetry. Using “The Golden Shovel” poetic method, Grimes has written a collection of poetry that is as gorgeous as it is thought-provoking. The book features art by Grimes and Cozbi Cabrera, R. Gregory Christie, Pat Cummings, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, E.B. Lewis, Frank Morrison, Christopher Myers, Brian Pinkney, Sean Qualls, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, Shadra Strickland, and Elizabeth Zunon.

Grimes will accept the award and the $1,000 prize, courtesy of Lee Bennett Hopkins, on July 12, near Penn State’s University Park campus.

“‘One hundred years from now readers will be enjoying One Last Word,” the judges wrote. “Grimes’ work showcases not only a lesser-known poetic form (the Golden Shovel) but the poets of the Harlem Renaissance and the work of African-American artists. Grimes' poems in response to the poems of the Harlem Renaissance capture the power of each, then create riffs on those poems that provide hope for young people searching for their own identities.’

“‘Grimes not only celebrates the poets and poems of a time gone by, but builds on those works, transforming them into new, powerful poems that will resonate with a new, powerful generation of young people. One Last Word connects the struggles and challenges in our world today with the struggles and challenges of the past. ‘The past,’ as Grimes writes in the final poem of the book, ‘is a ladder that can help you keep climbing.’ Young people will return to this book again and again for inspiration, consolation, and, above all, hope.’”

My thanks to the committee and Lee Bennett Hopkins for recognizing One Last Word with this significant award.

Read the rest of the press release ...

One Last Word2018 Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for Middle Readers

I am honored to join the list of extraordinary poets who have received this award. 

My thanks to Kent State University, the host of these awards and the Virginia Hamilton Conference, where the awards are announced. As their website states, "The purpose of the awards is to highlight the power of poetry, encourage publishers to publish works of poetry from a variety of perspectives, commend poets for various student populations, and encourage the reading of poetry."

Learn more about this award and the Virginia Hamilton Conference, which will be held on October 11-12, 2018, at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, in conjunction with the Kent State Annual Reading Conference.

One Last WordWORLD Picture Book of the Year Award for The Watcher

All of my books are close to my heart, but this book is dear to me. The recognition from WORLD Magazine is welcome. Susan Olasky, announcing the award, wrote:

"The Watcher deals thoughtfully with heavy subjects—bullying, loneliness, love for the outcast, doing the hard thing, putting to death pride. But its focus is in the title—God—and it ends on a hopeful note."

Thank you to the publishers and readers of WORLD Magazine!

One Last WordClaudia Lewis Award for One Last Word

My thanks to the shining stars at Bank Street College for recognizing One Last Word with their Claudia Lewis award!

The Claudia Lewis Award, given for the first time in 1998, honors the late Claudia Lewis, distinguished children's book expert and longtime member of the Bank Street College faculty and Children's Book Committee. She conveyed her love and understanding of poetry with humor and grace. The award is given for the best poetry book of the year.

I am so honored to receive this award!


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 (renamed the Children's Literature Legacy Award) on me for "a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children."

Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal

The Children's Literature Legacy Award 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 Children's Literature Legacy Award 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.

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A Girl Named Mister Dark Sons