Five finalists have been chosen for the first annual Anna Dewdney Read Together Award, which honors a superb read-aloud picture book that also sparks compassion, empathy, and connection.
The award, co-sponsored by Penguin Young Readers, the Children’s Book Council (CBC), and Every Child a Reader, commemorates the life and work of children’s book author/illustrator Anna Dewdney and celebrates her commitment to putting books into as many children’s hands as possible.
The five finalists for the Anna Dewdney Read Together Award are:
- Edward Gets Messy, written by Rita Meade, illustrated by Olga Stern (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
- Last Stop on Market Street, written by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)
- Mother Bruce, written and illustrated by Ryan Higgins (Disney)
- Toby, written and illustrated by Hazel Mitchell (Candlewick)
- Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku, written by Lee Wardlaw, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin (Holt Books for Young Readers)
The CBC will announce the winner of the $1,000 prize, to be split between the author and the illustrator, during Children’s Book Week, May 1-7, 2017. In addition, Penguin will purchase $5,000 worth of copies of the winning book, to be donated to the school, library, or literacy organization of the winner’s choice.
A panel of five judges selected the finalists after a two-month open nomination process. The judging panel includes Crystal Soltren, children’s specialist at WORD Bookstore in Jersey City, New Jersey; Berol Dewdney, an early childhood educator in Baltimore, Maryland; Susannah Richards, professor of education at Eastern Connecticut State University in Windham, Connecticut; Cheryl Lee, program coordinator-branch manager at Santa Clara City Library-Northside Branch Library in Santa Clara, California; and Kristine Millard, co-director and youth services librarian at Lodi Public Library in Lodi, Wisconsin.
Dewdney, who died from cancer last year at the age of 50, was a tireless advocate for children’s literacy and the bestselling author and illustrator of the award-winning Llama Llama series. Her other titles include Nobunny’s Perfect, Roly Poly Pangolin, and Grumpy Gloria.