Augusta – Nearly 350 librarians and educators from public and school libraries from around Maine converged on Augusta today for the 25th Annual Reading Round Up conference promoting reading and literature for children and young adults. One of the highlights of the event was an award ceremony honoring books, authors and illustrators representing excellence in the field of children’s and young adult literature.
Four titles received recognition through the 2014 Lupine Award honoring living authors or illustrators who are residents of Maine or who have created a work prominently featuring Maine. The award was first given in 1989 and is sponsored by the Maine Library Association.
Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian and The Water Castle by Meg Blakemore received awards in the Lupine Award juvenile and young adult category. Out of Nowhere is set in the fictional Maine town of Enniston, a community struggling to bridge cultural differences with a new population of Somali war refugees. The Water Castle is a mystery that brings together three unlikely companions in search of the secrets of a castle estate.
Lupine Award winners in the picture book category were The Secret Pool by author Kimberly Ridley and illustrator Rebekah Raye and Brave Girl by author Michelle Markel and illustrator Melissa Sweet. The Secret Pool reveals the diversity of life within vernal pools and the changes that occur through the seasons. Brave Girl is the true story of a young Ukrainian immigrant who fought for better working conditions for garment workers in the early 20th century.
Anne Sibley O’Brien, children’s book illustrator and author of fourteen picture books, received the 2014 Katahdin Award from the Maine Library Association. Established in 1999, the award recognizes lifetime achievement and an outstanding body of work of children’s literature in Maine. O’Brien’s books involve multiracial, multicultural and global subjects, an interest she attributes to her bilingual and bicultural childhood in Korea as the daughter of medical missionaries.
Author David Shannon received the 2014 Chickadee Award for his recent work, Jangles: a Big Fish Story. The award is given to by the Maine Children’s Choice Picture Book Project to honor works created in the picture book category for children in kindergarten through fourth grade. The book features the legendary big fish, Jangles, and a boy’s fishing encounter with him.
Wonder, a 2013 children’s novel by R.J. Palacio, received the 2014 Maine Student Book Award. The story centers on 10 year old August (Auggie) Pullman, a 10 year old boy born with a facial deformity, and his transition into school life starting in fifth grade. The award recognizes works selected by students in grades 4-8 and is sponsored by the Maine Library Association, Maine Association of School Libraries, and Maine Reading Association.
The Reading Round Up conference offered a number of workshops focused on the past, present and future of children’s literature including sessions featuring a look back at literature from the last 25 years, exploring of the role of e-reader devices for young readers, and discussing the best books of 2013.
Anita Silvey, renowned author, editor, and literary critic, kicked off the conference with keynote remarks highlighting the origins of children’s library services and talking about the influence of children’s books on the lives of notable Americans. Ms. Silvey has written and spoken widely about children’s literature and recently published Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac.
Reading Round-Up is sponsored by the Maine State Library and organized by a statewide committee of librarians dedicated to promoting literacy and love of reading in children and young adults. More information can be found online at: http://www.maine.gov/msl/libs/services/rru.