Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Joseph Marshall's Acceptance Speech for the 2016 American Indian Youth Literature Award

Photo courtesy of Aaron LaFromboise
American Indians in Children's Literature is pleased to bring you Joseph Marshall III's acceptance speech. He won the 2016 American Indian Youth Literature Award, middle school category for In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse. As is traditional amongst our communities, he was given a blanket.

It is an outstanding book (see AICL's review) and I'm thrilled to learn, by email with Marshall, that he is working on a second book featuring Jimmy and his grandfather. Kids learn a lot of history by reading Marshall's In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse. I wonder what history we'll learn in the new book?

Here is Marshall's speech:


Good afternoon. I can’t think of a better reason for my first ever trip to Orlando, than to accept this award from the American Indian Library Association. Thank you to AILA President Aguilar, and of course to the members of the 2016 American Indian Youth Literature Award jury. I am honored to receive this very special recognition, one that I will always treasure because it comes from my peers, and, of course, native librarians.

Those of us who are native writers know that our purpose is to inform the non-native community about native history and culture, as well as our place in the world today. But just as importantly, if not more, we need to reconnect native young people with their own cultures. This award helps to further that effort.

Thank you, of course, to my friends at Abrams and Amulet Books for publishing my book, to all of you who worked on it. I sincerely appreciate your contributions and your talents which definitely added to what this book is.

The people who were the greatest influence on me, and taught me the art of storytelling, were primarily my maternal grandparents. So the front story in In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse is a glimpse into my childhood on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation, and of my wonderful relationship with my grandparents, but especially to my grandfather.

Three special “thank yous,” the first to my editor Howard Reeves—my new best friend—for liking the concept for my book, but especially for your patience Howard. In the middle of working on the manuscript I had to ask for a delay when my wife became seriously ill. Howard was kind enough to grant a deadline extension.

Another “thank you” to the phenomenally talented artist for his work on the book’s cover and inside illustrations—my good friend and fellow Lakota, Mr. Jim Yellowhawk.

Finally, to the love of my life, my wife Connie, who was also my literary agent. It was she who insisted on the format for the book. Connie left us for the Spirit World on Valentine’s Day, three years ago, after putting up a valiant fight against colon cancer. Please know that, with this award, you are honoring her as well.

So, as we say in my part of the world: Lila pilamayayapelo. Thank you, very much.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

That's a beautiful speech. Thank you for posting it.