March 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

McKissack and Dooley Honored with 2012 PEN Awards

Book Cover: Never ForgottenYesterday, young adult author Sarah Dooley and Newbery Honor-winning Patricia C. McKissack were named recipients of the 2012 Pen Literary Awards.

Dooley, author of Livvie Owen Lived Here (2010) and Body of Water (2011, Feiwel & Friends), has won the PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, which awards a $5,000 grant to an author of children’s or young adult literature who has published at least two works. The Fellowship is meant to help a writer finish a work-in-progress. Dooley’s next title Free Verse is already forthcoming from Putnam Children’s Books.

No stranger to accolades, McKissack adds the inaugural PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Never Forgotten (Random/Schwartz & Wade Bks., 2011) to her list of accomplishments. The award celebrates an outstanding text illustrated in a picture book. Also a 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book, it’s about horrors of the Middle Passage and a young boy who is kidnapped and sold into slavery, and is illustrated by the Diane Dillon and her husband, the late Leo Dillon, the first African American Caldecott winner.

Book Cover: Body of WaterThe PEN American Center, celebrating its 90th anniversary, will present 18 awards, fellowships, grants, and prizes, conferring nearly $175,000 to the winners and runner-ups at the 2012 PEN Literary Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, October 23, in New York City.

Speaking about the annual awards, Alice Quinn, PEN Awards Committee Chair, stated: “These awards are particularly meaningful and encouraging to the winners both because of the history and values of this outstanding organization and the achievements of the judges who have chosen them.” The judges for the Phyllis Naylor Fellowship were well-known authors Daniel Handler, Lyn Miller-Lachman, and Neal Shusterman. The judges for the first-ever Steven Kroll Award were Carmen Agra Deedy, Susan Kuklin, and Vera B. Williams.


Shelley Diaz About Shelley Diaz

Shelley M. Diaz ( is School Library Journal's Reviews Team Manager and SLJTeen newsletter editor. She has her MLIS in Public Librarianship with a Certificate in Children’s & YA Services from Queens College, and can be found on Twitter @sdiaz101.