Jack Gantos to Receive 2014 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature

TULSA LIBRARY TRUST WILL PRESENT THE 2014 ANNE V. ZARROW AWARD FOR YOUNG READERS’ LITERATURE TO JACK GANTOS Newbery Medal-winning author Jack Gantos is the winner of the Tulsa Library Trust’s 2014 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature. He will accept the award at a public presentation at Hardesty Regional Library’s Connor’s Cove, 8316 E. 93rd St., Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. He will present the 2014 Young People’s Adult Creative Writing Contest awards at 10 a.m., Aug. 23 in Connor’s Cove. His visit is the culmination of the 2014 children’s and teen summer reading programs. Gantos is being recognized for writing more than 40 books for children, teens and adults, many of which were recognized with distinguished national awards. In 2012, he received the John Newbery Medal for his book “Dead End In Norvelt.” His 2002 memoir, “Hole In My Life,” won Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert honors. He also is widely known for the “Rotten Ralph,” “Jack Henry” and “Joey Pigza” series. By his own admission, Gantos didn’t start out as a voracious reader. At 7-years-old his family moved to Barbados where there was strong emphasis on reading and writing. He recalls the teachers were friendly and made reading fun. Gantos’ family moved to Florida when he was in the sixth grade, where he discovered students were not as interested in his newfound love of books. He found solace in an abandoned bookmobile, with three flat tires, parked behind the school’s baseball field. As a library helper in school, he would shelve books and dream of having his own book one day among others in the “G” section. He carried a hardback notebook and wrote his observations, everything from seeing an alligator eat his dog and witnessing a plane crash in his neighborhood to accidently breaking his brother’s arm. Once every page was full he titled it “Jack’s Black Book,” created a fake library call number, included a due-date card and shelved it appropriately in the “G” section. Weeks went by without so much as a budge, until one day he noticed his book was gone. A month later he found it returned in the book drop box. On the last page he asked whoever read it to include their thoughts about his stories. “Whoever wrote this book should seek help,” read the inscription. He did seek help, but not from a doctor, from his English teacher. She taught him how to better organize his thoughts and encouraged him to keep reading more books. Using these two guides, Gantos was on his way honing his creative writing skills that would guide his career to the best-seller lists. His career as a professional writer began in 1976 with the publication of “Rotten Ralph,” which he wrote with his illustrator friend, Nicole Rubel. While continuing to publish books at a rapid pace, he also taught creative writing, literature and publishing classes at Emerson College from 1978-96. Gantos also has instructed creative writing, literature and other writing-related topics, ranging from introductory classes to graduate-level seminars, at various universities. Gantos’ books are available for checkout through any Tulsa City-County Library branch. Visit the library’s website at TulsaLibrary.org to request a copy or call 918-549-7323 for more information about the Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature. The Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature gives formal recognition, on behalf of the Tulsa County community, to a nationally acclaimed author who has made a significant contribution to the field of literature for young adults. The award, presented by the Tulsa Library Trust, consists of a $7,500 cash prize and an engraved crystal book. It is presented as the culmination of the children’s and teen summer reading programs. Past winners include: Jim Murphy (2013), Jacqueline Woodson (2012), Kathryn Lasky (2011), Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (2010), Christopher Paul Curtis (2009), Louis Sachar (2008), Kate DiCamillo (2007), Sharon Creech (2006), Avi (2005), Susan Cooper (2004), Russell Freedman (2003), Richard Peck (2002), E.L. Konigsburg (2001), Jerry Spinelli (2000), Jane Yolen (1999), Cynthia Voigt (1998), Gary Paulsen (1997), Walter Dean Myers (1996), Lois Lowry (1994), Katherine Paterson (1993), Madeleine L’Engle (1992) and S.E. Hinton (1991). For more information on the Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature or library programming, call the AskUs Hotline, 918-549-7323, or visit the library’s website, www.tulsalibrary.org. # # #

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