Penguin Young Readers, the Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader have partnered to launch a picture book prize in honor of the late Anna Dewdney (1965-2016), author and illustrator of the beloved Llama Llama series. The Anna Dewdney Read Together Award will be given annually to a picture book that is both a superb read aloud and also sparks compassion, empathy, and connection. The award commemorates the life and work of author/illustrator Anna Dewdney and celebrates her commitment to reading with young children and putting books into as many little hands as possible.
As a children’s book creator, a literacy advocate, and a parent, Dewdney believed, “A good children’s book can be read by an adult to a child, and experienced genuinely by both. A good children’s book is like a performance. Reading with children makes an intimate, human connection that teaches that child what it means to be alive as one of many beings on the planet. When we read a book with children, then children — no matter how stressed, no matter how challenged — are drawn out of themselves to bond with other human beings, and to see and feel the experiences of others. It is this moment that makes us human. In this sense, reading makes us human.” (Wall Street Journal)
Llama Llama Red Pajama, Dewdney’s tale of a baby llama calling out for Mama Llama at bedtime, is a beloved read-together book. The Anna Dewdney Read Together Award, co-sponsored by Penguin Young Readers, the Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader, will recognize a picture book published within the last five years (2011-2016) in the United States that kids and grown-ups are currently discovering and enjoying together. The winning book will be announced during Children’s Book Week, May 1-7, 2017 — the celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading.
Berol Dewdney, a member of the Anna Dewdney Read Together Award committee and Anna’s daughter, said, “I became an early childhood educator because I wanted to give others what my Mama Llama gave me; she empowered me with the same love and lessons of empathy we see in her books. Her influence led to my professional passion in nourishing the hearts and minds of little people in my own way. As a Pre-K teacher in Baltimore I deeply value the power of children’s literacy and look forward to celebrating it through this award.”
The 2017 Finalists are:
EDWARD GETS MESSY, by Rita Meade; illus. by Olga Stern (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET, by Matt de la Pena; illus. by Christian Robinson (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)
MOTHER BRUCE, by Ryan Higgins; illus. by Ryan Higgins (Disney)
TOBY, by Hazel Mitchell; illus. by Hazel Mitchell (Candlewick)
WON TON: A CAT TALE TOLD IN HAIKU, by Lee Wardlaw; illus. by Eugene Yelchin (Holt Books for Young Readers)
The finalists have been voted on by: Berol Dewdney, Early Childhood Educator, Baltimore, MD; Cheryl Lee, Program Coordinator-Branch Manager, Santa Clara City Library- Northside Branch Library, Santa Clara, CA: Kristine Millard, Co-Director and Youth Services Librarian, Lodi Public Library, Lodi, WI; Susannah Richards, Professor, Education, Eastern Connecticut State University, Windham, CT; and Crystal Soltren, Children’s Specialist, WORD Bookstores, Jersey City, NJ.
About Anna Dewdney
Anna Dewdney was the New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of Llama Llama Red Pajama. Other award-winning books in the series include Llama Lama and the Bully Goat, Llama Lama Time to Share, Llama Llama Misses Mama, Llama Llama Holiday Drama, and Llama Llama Mad at Mama. She was also the author/illustrator of Nobunny’s Perfect, Roly Poly Pangolin, and Grumpy Gloria. Anna worked as a rural mail carrier and taught at a boys’ boarding school for many years before becoming a full-time author and illustrator. Anna was a committed advocate of literacy, speaking regularly on this topic and publishing articles in the Wall Street Journal and other national outlets.
About Penguin Young Readers
Penguin Young Readers Group is one of the leading children’s book publishers in the United States. The company owns a wide range of imprints and trademarks including Dial Books, Dutton, Grosset & Dunlap, Kathy Dawson Books, Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Workshop, Philomel, Puffin, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Viking, Razorbill, Speak, and Frederick Warne. These imprints are home to such award-winning, New York Times- bestselling authors as, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jay Asher, Judy Blume, Jan Brett, Eric Carle, Ally Condie, Roald Dahl, Tomie dePaola, Sarah Dessen, Anna Dewdney, John Flanagan, John Green, Oliver Jeffers, Marie Lu, Mike Lupica, Richelle Mead, Richard Peck, Ruta Sepetys, Jacqueline Woodson and dozens of other popular authors. Penguin Young Readers Group is also the proud publisher of perennial brand franchises such as the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, Peter Rabbit, Spot, the Classic Winnie the Pooh, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Madeline, Mad Libs, the Rangers Apprentice, Skippyjon Jones, Who Was?, and Flower Fairies among many others. Penguin Young Readers Group is a division of Penguin Group LLC, a Penguin Random House company.
About Children’s Book Week
Launched in 1919, Children’s Book Week will commemorate its 98th anniversary in May 2017. It is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country.