For Christopher Paul Curtis, writing books for children is no chore.
“I’m one of the luckiest people in the world, doing something I love,” said Curtis, the winner of the Southern Miss Medallion, presented to him at the recent Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival. The award is given annually at the event, held at The University of Southern Mississippi, in honor of an author or illustrator who has made significant contributions to children’s literature.
Curtis is the author of Bud, Not Buddy for which he was awarded the Newberry Medal and Coretta Scott King Author Award, the only book to receive both highly sought honors. His first book was the highly acclaimed The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963.
“I was thrilled when they (Children’s Book Festival organizers) called to say I was the recipient of this year’s award,” Curtis said. “So many other authors that I admire have won it before.”
Curtis said he was honored to spend time with all of those who attended the festival, including teachers and librarians. “They hold the future of our children in their hands,” he said.
The prestigious Ezra Jack Keats Award winners were also announced at the festival. The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the Southern Miss de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection announced the following winners of the 28th annual awards, which recognizes and encourages new writers and illustrators in the genre. The winners received a gold medallion and an honorarium of $1,000.
Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award Winner: Ame Dyckman for Tea Party Rules -- Published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA)
Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award Winner: Christian Robinson for Rain! -- Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Ezra Jack Keats Honor Book Award Winners:
2014 New Writer Honor
*Pat Zietlow Miller for Sophie’s Squash (published by Schwartz & Wade, a division of Random House)
*Linda Davick for I Love You, Nose! I Love You, Toes! (published by Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division)
2014 New Illustrator Honor
*K.G. Campbell for Tea Party Rules (published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group [USA])
*Aaron Meshon for Take Me Out to the Yakyu (published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
*Marta Altés for My Grandpa (published by Abrams Books for Young Readers)
For more information about the Kaigler Children Book Festival, visit www.usm.edu/childrens-book-festival; for more information about the Keats Foundation, visit http://www.ezra-jack-keats.org/; for information about the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, visit http://www.lib.usm.edu/legacy/degrum/public_html/index.shtml.