Monday, January 18, 2010

Third American Indian Youth Literature Awards announced by American Indian Library Association

The American Indian Library Association  (AILA), an affiliate of the American Library Association, announced the recipients of its American Indian Youth Literature Awards...

Best Picture Book is Thomas King's A Coyote Solstice Tale, illustrated by Gary Clement, published by Groundwood Books, 2009. Louise Erdrich, author of Birchbark House, says that A Coyote Solstice Tale is:

"The perfect book to read in the Birchbark Loft.  This is a wonderful coyote sweet and funny book, a gentle anti-Christmas craziness story that resonated with me and will, I think, with every mother and father whose children's visions of sugar plums require them to visit a crowded mall.  It made me want to drink hot chocolate and curl up with a good book."
You can get the book from her shop, Birchbark Books.


Best Middle School Book is Meet Christopher: An Osage Indian Boy from Oklahoma. Written by Genevieve Simermeyer, with photographs by Katherine Fogden, Meet Christopher is published by the National Museum of the American Indian, in association with Council Oak Books, 2008. It is the fourth book in the "My World: Young Native Americans Today" series, in which each book is written and photographed by Native contributors.

It is available from the National Museum of the American Indian. The website includes this excerpt from the book:

One of my favorite activities outside of school is Osage language class. I go to the language class at the public library one evening a week with my mom, dad, and Geoffrey. The class is special because I’m learning a language that could disappear soon if no one works to keep it going. About 130 years ago, Osage children—like other Native kids—were sent away from their families to live at boarding schools, where they were supposed to speak only English. Over time, a lot of people forgot their language. Most boarding schools for Native children were shut down in the 1930s, but today not many people can speak Osage fluently. In my family, people stopped speaking it when Iko’s [Christopher’s grandmother] grandmother died. Her mom was still a little girl when her grandfather told all of his children that they needed to learn to speak English, since they didn’t have a mother to take care of them anymore.


AILA's choice for the Best Young Adult Book is Lurline Wailana McGregor's Between the Deep Blue Sea and Me: A Novel, published by Kamehameha Publishing, 2008.

The book is available from Kamehameha Publishing, where you can also read an extensive interview with the author.  Joy Harjo, author of The Good Luck Cat and For a Girl Becoming, worked with McGregor on development of the screenplay that evolved into this book. On her blog, Harjo said:
"Though this is a particularly Hawaiian story, the issues, characters, and sensibilities are similar to indigenous people all over the world."


Winners of the AILA Youth Literature Award receive a cash award and a beaded medallion featuring the AILA awards logo.Winners will receive their award and medallion at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday, June 28th.