A first for the Navajo Nation: Luci Tapahonso has been appointed the Navajo Nation’s first Poet Laureate. She will assume her role on May 17, 2013 and serve in that position for two years. The announcement was made by Elmer Guy, president of NavajoTechnical College in Crownpoint, New Mexico, who said that “the goal of designating a chief poet is to encourage other Navajo poets, writers, filmmakers, and artists to realize how important their work is to the continuance and growth of Navajo contemporary culture. Luci represents the best of what it is to be Diné [Navajo], honoring our traditions, while at the same time forming a contemporary voice that speaks beautifully to all people.”
Tapahonso has written five books of poetry and stories, as well as a children’s book—Songs of Shiprock Fair (Kiva Pub., 1999). Saánii Dahataal (1993) and Blue Horses Rush In (1997, both Univ. of Arizona Press) are two of her better known collections. In 1999 she was named Storyteller of the Year by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers.
Take the Challenge—Fight Obesity
Improve kids’ eating habits: A Day without Sugar, or Un Día Sin Azucar in Spanish, is a new initiative that has been launched by Arte Público Press, a U.S. publisher of Hispanic literature. The campaign challenges children to cut back on their sugar intake. Educators, community organizations, and families are encouraged to focus on the health risk of consuming too much sugar by challenging children to go through an entire day without any sugary drinks, candy, cookies, and other foods with added sugar. The initiative has provided free materials, such as a toolkit that outlines fun activities that can be used to teach kids about sugar, low-sugar recipes, coloring pages, fact sheets, and more.
According to an Arte Público news release, “nationally among children ages 6–11, roughly 30 percent are overweight and roughly 15 percent are obese. Among Mexican-American children, roughly 39 percent are overweight and roughly 24 percent are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If current trends persist, half of all Latino children born after 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes during the course of their lives.”
And the Winner Is…
South Asia Book Awards: The Rumor (Tundra; PreS–Gr 4), written by Anushka Ravishankar and illustrated by Kanyika Kini, and Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through a Never-Ending War (Groundwood; Gr 5–12), written by Deborah Ellis, have won the 2013 South Asia Book Award (SABA) for children’s and young adult literature. The award is given annually for up to two outstanding works of literature, ranging from early childhood to secondary reading levels, which “accurately and skillfully portray South Asia or South Asians in the diaspora, that is the experience of individuals living in South Asia or of South Asians living in other parts of the world.”
The titles recognized as Honor Books are: Chained (Farrar; Gr 4–7) by Lynne Kelly; The Elephant’s Friend and Other Tales from Ancient India (Candlewick; K–Gr 4) by Marcia Williams; The Wooden Sword (Whitman; K–Gr 5), written by Ann Redisch Stampler and illustrated by Carol Liddiment; and Same Sun Here (Candlewick; Gr 4–7) by Silas House and Neela Vaswani.
There were also five titles recognized as Highly Commended Books: Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth (Chronicle; PreS–Gr 3) by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes; Michael Morpurgo’s Shadow (Feiwel & Friends; Gr 5–8); The Sweetest Mango (Tulika; PreS–Gr 3), written by Malavika Sherry and illustrated by Ajanta Guhathakurta; Tina’s Mouth: An Existential Comic Diary (Houghton Harcourt; Gr 9 Up), written by Keshni Kashyap and illustrated by Mari Araki; and Veera Hiranandani’s The Whole Story of Half a Girl (Delacorte; Gr 5–8).
The award ceremony will take place on October 19, 2013 at The Madison Concourse & Governor’s Club Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin. The event, sponsored by the South Asia National Outreach Consortium (SANOC), is free and open to the public. Books will be sold at the ceremony and authors will sign copies at the close of the event.
Debut authors and illustrators: Author Karina Wolf and illustrators Ben and Sean Hilts are first-prize winners of the 2013 Marion Vannett Ridgway Award for The Insomniacs (Putnam, 2012). Established in 1993, the award is given each year to first-time children’s book authors or illustrators to celebrate the memory of Ridgway, an artist’s representative who worked in New York City’s publishing community for more than 40 years and encouraged new talent. The honor award was given to illustrator Christian Robinson for Harlem’s Little Blackbird (Random, 2012). The first prize recipient receives $800, while the honor award winner gets $200.
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