April 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Woodson named 2018 Laureate of Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

The honors continue for author Jacqueline Woodson. The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature has now been named the laureate of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2018.

Woodson won the National Book Award winner for Brown Girl Dreaming in 2014, and she was a finalist for that award in 2016 as well. She has written more than 30 books and earned the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the Newbery Honor.

Photo: Marty Umans

The Astrid Lindren Memorial Award, the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature, can go to one or more authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters regardless of language or nationality. A jury selects the laureate(s) from nominated candidates.It was founded in 2002 by the Swedish government and is administrated by the Swedish Arts Council.

Here is the full press release:

Jacqueline Woodson is an American author, born in 1963 and residing in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of more than thirty books, including novels, poetry and picture books. She writes primarily for young teens, but also for children and adults. One of her most lauded books is the award winning autobiographical Brown Girl Dreaming (2014).

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. The award amounts to 5 million Swedish krona (approx. $613,000 or EUR 500 000) and is given annually to a single laureate or to several.

The citation of the jury reads:
“Jacqueline Woodson introduces us to resilient young people fighting to find a place where their lives can take root. In language as light as air, she tells stories of resounding richness and depth. Jacqueline Woodson captures a unique poetic note in a daily reality divided between sorrow and hope.”

Jacqueline Woodson frequently writes about teens making the transition from childhood to adult life. Masterful characterization and a deep understanding of the adolescent psyche are hallmarks of her work. Her books are written in the first person, usually from a female point of view. Racism, segregation, economic injustice, social exclusion, prejudice and sexual identity are all recurring themes. In January she was named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature in the United States.

“It’s important to hold up mirrors for kids to see their experience is legitimate. Too often those mirrors aren’t there for them,” says Woodson.

Woodson made her authorial debut in 1990 with Last Summer With Maizon, the first book in a trilogy about a friendship between two girls. The Dear One, a story about teen pregnancy, came out the same year. After Tupac and D Foster (2008) is a story about the meaning of everything, about freedom and realizing that all is not what it seems. Passionate, lightning-bolt love is portrayed in If You Come Softly (1998). In Beneath A Meth Moon (2012), the fifteen-year-old protagonist must face uncomfortable memories to leave her past behind and break free of a drug addiction.

In Brown Girl Dreaming, a free-verse memoir for which she received the prestigious National Book Award, Woodson not only describes her own childhood in South Carolina and later New York, but also shines a light on African-American history. The young Jacqueline grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, decades marked in the US by civil rights marches, police brutality and violence. The book’s detailed descriptions of characters and settings reveal fault lines in society, pointing out the differences between different groups. Woodson’s most recent novel, Another Brooklyn, published in 2016 and a National Book Award nominee, portrays the fascination and challenges of growing up as a young girl in the Brooklyn of the 1970s.

Her books have been translated into more than ten languages.Woodson’s many honours include the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Newbery Honor Awards.

A complete list of Jacqueline Woodson’s works is at www.alma.se/en under the heading Laureates.

Author Website: www.jacquelinewoodson.com

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award will be presented by H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden in a ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall on May 28, 2018.

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