Since I don't have my own blog, I thought I'd use this space to give an update on my recent trip to DC for the Green Earth Book Awards. These awards are the only awards in the country (as far as I know) that focus on environmental themes in children's literature. There are four awards: picture book, children's fiction, young adult, and non-fiction. They are awarded annually to "authors and illustrators whose books best raise awareness of environmental stewardship, and the beauty of our natural world and the responsibility that we have to protect it."
The Green Earth Awards are given by an environmental foundation, the Newton Marasco Foundation, with an incredibly active and enthusiastic board and staff. They also work closely with the dedicated children's literature department at Salisbury University in Salisbury, Maryland.
I think most of the authors in 2K9 would agree that it's the connections you form on school visits, bookstore appearances, and other book events that make them worthwhile. Everyone I met from the Newton Marasco Foundation and the university was warm, encouraging, and more than welcoming. In addition, they helped build the green writing community by generously bringing together the winners: Eileen Spinelli and Anne Kennedy (for their charming picture book, MISS FOX'S CLASS GOES GREEN) and Marge Ferguson Delano (for her stunning EARTH IN THE HOT SEAT: BULLETINS FROM A WARMING WORLD). (Saci Lloyd (THE CARBON DIARIES) was unable to attend.) We met over meals of all kinds, and I got to watch their presentations to school kids, admire Anne's drawing skills, hear about Eileen and Jerry's many, many grandchildren and many, many books, and watch how Marfe put together pictures, texts, and stories for her absorbing National Geographic biographies and non-fiction books.
Not only that, but since I grew up in Maryland, my parents were all able to attend the award ceremony!
Writing can be very solitary, but this chance to connect with such a vibrant writing and environmental community will fill me up for a long time.
HAPPY EARTH DAY!
S. Terrell French
OPERATION REDWOOD, Amulet Books, 2009