Newbery Honor Book-winning author Jacqueline Woodson is the winner of the Tulsa Library Trust’s 2012 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature. She will accept her award at a public presentation at Central Library, Fourth Street and Denver Avenue, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. She will present the 2012 Young People’s Creative Writing Contest awards at 10 a.m., Aug. 25 at Hardesty Regional Library, Connor’s Cove, 8316 E. 93rd St. Her visit is the culmination of the 2012 children’s and teen summer reading programs.
Woodson is being recognized for writing 24 picture and young adult books, many of which were recognized with distinguished national awards. She is best known for “Miracle’s Boys,” which was awarded the Coretta Scott King Award, Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the American Library Association’s Best Book for Young Adults. In 2002, filmmaker Spike Lee made “Miracle’s Boys” into a miniseries. This story follows three brothers, orphaned when their mother dies, and their struggle to create a life together.
She was awarded a Newbery Honor award for “Feathers” and “Show Way.” Her book “Coming on Home Soon” received the Caldecott Honor.
In 1990, she released her first picture book “Martin Luther King Jr. and His Birthday,” illustrated by Oklahoma artist Floyd Cooper. She partnered with Cooper again for “Sweet, Sweet Memory” in 2000.
Other popular books by Woodson include “Behind You,” “Locomotion,” “The Other Side,” “If You Come Softly” and “I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This.”
Growing up, Woodson thought of being a teacher, lawyer or hairdresser. While dreaming of her future profession, she would write on anything she could, from paper bags and sidewalks to the sides of buildings. It thrilled her to see a story take shape as words turned into sentences and paragraphs into stories.
“I also told a lot of stories as a child. Not once-upon-a-time stories but basically, outright lies,” recalled Woodson on her website. “I loved lying and getting away with it. There was something about telling the lie-story and seeing your friends’ eyes grow with wonder.”
In the fifth grade, she wrote a poem about Martin Luther King Jr. that was so good not many people believed she wrote it. The poem was, in fact, original and eventually won her a Scrabble game as well as local acclaim. She realized that her creative storytelling would afford her ample freedom “to sit hunched over the pages of your notebook without people thinking you were strange.”
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: 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.