Tassy Walden Awards, 2011

Last night I attended the 11th annual award celebration for the New Voices in Children’s Literature: Tassy Walden Awards at the beautiful Blackstone Library in Branford, Connecticut. We were treated to a warm welcome by our master of ceremonies, Doe Boyle; inspiring speeches by agent Julie Just, with Janklow & Nesbit, and by author Cat Urbain; and excerpts of the winning entries read by their authors.

My favorite words of wisdom for the evening came from Ms. Just. She told us to cultivate that thing inside of us that is original, that is ourselves. It is worth standing above the fray and not being just like everyone else. That’s what people look for. And as Cat Urbain emphasized, don’t give up: the world will eventually recognize true spark and embrace it.

My hearty congratulations go to:

  • this year’s winners: Anne Kubitsky (illustrated picture book), Betsy Devany MacLeod (middle grade novel), and Steve Parlato (young adult novel);
  • this year’s honorable mentions: Justin Van Deursen (illustrator’s portfolio); and Faith Hough (young adult novel);
  • this year’s finalists: Jordan Fenster, Maribel Girnius, Paula Wilson (picture book text); Jennifer Edwards, Natalie Fifer, Katherine Kopcha (illustrated picture book); Karen Lindeborg, Kate Lynch, Traci Grigg, Heather DiLorenzo (middle grade novel); and Leslie Cahill-Milford (young adult novel).

I look forward to seeing all of your names on bookshelves.

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