The Story Power Award
LitWorld presents The Story Power Award each year at our spring gala. Our honorees exemplify LitWorld's mission and values in their capacity to effect change through the power of words and stories and as advocates for children.
Tonyna McGhee, Nikeya Stuart & Michael Robles of the Children's Village
Tonyna McGhee, Nikeya Stuart and Michael Robles embody the spirit of LitWorld through their work each and every day at the Children's Village Community Center at the Polo Grounds Towers in Harlem, New York City. They strive every day to share the power of story with the children there through empowerment and understanding. Their attention and care make the Community Center at the Polo Grounds Towers thrive as a vibrant, multi-generational center that provides children and families with a place to call their own. Since January 2010, The Children’s Village has worked with residents to develop programs that support families, children, and teens as they grow into the future leaders of the community. As a center point in the Polo Grounds Towers, home to more than 4,000 low-income New Yorkers, the Community Center helps an already strong community grow even stronger by opening a world of possibilites to our friends and neighbors.
Carmen Agra Deedy
Carmen Agra Deedy has been writing for children for over two decades. Born in Havana, Cuba, she came to the US as a refugee in 1964. Her book about her life stories Growing Up Cuban in Decatur, Georgia has won numerous awards. Her children's books include The Library Dragon which received various children's state book awards and has sold near half a million copies. The Yellow Star was the recipient of the 2001 Jane Addams Peace Association Book Award (Honor), presented to Ms. Deedy at the United Nations by Kofi Annan.
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach was presented with the Bank Street 2008 Best Children's Books of the Year Award. Deedy's recent book 14 Cows for America, is based on an astonishing gift Americans received from a Maasai village in Kenya, following the events of 9/11.
Deedy has spent the past twenty years writing and telling stories. Over a span of twenty years, Deedy has told stories to hundreds of thousands of school children.They remain her favorite audiences.
Inspired by his grandmother's quilting when he was a child, Bryan Collier developed his unique trademark style of watercolor and collage technique and has since then gone on to build a successful career as a full-time author/illustrator.
In recent years, Bryan Collier has illustrated more than 20 children's books. His debut offering, Uptown, which he both wrote and illustrated, won both the Coretta Scott King Award and the Ezra Jack Keats Award. In the same year, A Freedom River won the Coretta Scott King Award as well.
In 2001, Martin's Big Words was awarded a Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award and Visiting Langston won the Coretta Scott King Honor for illustration. In 2006, Rosa was awarded a Caldecott Honor and the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration. Just this year, Bryan Collier's Dave the Potter won the Caldecott Honor as well as the Coretta Scott King Award.
Naomi Shihab Nye
"[Naomi Shihab Nye] is just a remarkable voice in our time." Bill Moyers
For traveling poet, author and visiting teacher, Naomi Shihab Nye, the similarities and differences between cultures are recurring themes in her work. She has written numerous prize-winning poems, stories and essays for readers of all ages.
Walter Dean Myers
"Ultimately, what I want to do with my writing is to make connections -to touch the lives of my characters and through them, those of my readers." -Walter Dean Myers
Walter Dean Myers has written more than 70 published books of fiction, nonfiction and poetry for children and young adults, including the New York Times bestseller, Monster, the first recipient of the Michael L. Printz award, two Newbery Honor books, two National Book Award Finalists and five Coretta Scott King award books. He is the first recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. According to Jessica Fenster-Sparber, the library coordinator of Passages Academy, "Students have told me both in words and in writing that if not for Mr. Myers's books, they would not read." His most recent novel is Lockdown.
At the age of 38, Marcus Samuelsson has received more accolades than many chefs receive in a lifetime. A graduate of the Culinary Institute in Gothenburg, Samuelsson apprenticed in Switzerland, Austria, France and the U.S. In 1995 he was hired as Aquavit's Executive Chef. Just 3 months later, Aquavit received a three-star review from The New York Times.
Samuelsson was honored with James Beard Foundation Awards in 1999, 2003 and 2007. Crain's New York Business recognized him in their annual “40 under 40”, and he was celebrated as one of “The Great Chefs of America” by The Culinary Institute of America. Samuelsson has been featured in numerous national publications and television programs; he was the third chef to write for The New York Times' “Chef's Column,” is the author of 4 cookbooks, and starred in his own cooking show, Inner Chef, on the Discovery Home Channel. Samuelsson serves on the Board of Directors of Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP). In 2005, Samuelsson was appoint¬ed Visiting Professor of International Culinary Science at the Umeå University School of Restaurant and Culinary Arts, and received an honorary degree from Johnson & Wales University as Doctor of Culinary Arts in 2006.
Samuelsson has been a UNICEF Ambassador since 2000. He is highly supportive of the organization's immunization programs. Samuelsson works with UNICEF on its “Believe in Zero” campaign to bring the number of children dying every day from preventable causes, including malnutrition and unclean water, from 25,000 a day to zero. He has created menus for UNICEF's annual Snowflake Gala, worked with UNICEF on the Tap Project, and spearheaded the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF partnership with Gourmet magazine.
"Anyone can fly. All you need is somewhere to go that you can't get to any other way.” –Cassie Louise Lightfoot in Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
Faith Ringgold began her artistic career in the early 1960s as a painter. Today, she is best known for her painted story quilts, art that combines painting, quilted fabric and storytelling, and her illustrated children's books. Her first book, Tar Beach, was a Caldecott Honor Book and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, among numerous other honors. Ringgold has illustrated fourteen children's books, eleven of which were also written by her. She has exhibited in major museums in the USA, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. She is in the permanent collection of many museums including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Faith Ringgold Children's Museum of Art and Storytelling in Harlem is scheduled to open in 2010.
Ringgold has received more than 75 awards, fellowships, citations and honors, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship for painting, two National Endowment for the Arts Awards (for painting and sculpture) and nineteen honorary doctorates, one of which is from her alma mater The City College of New York. Faith Ringgold is married to Burdette Ringgold and has two daughters, Michele and Barbara Wallace; and three granddaughters, Faith, Theodora and Martha. Ringgold is professor emeritus at the University of California in San Diego, California and is represented by ACA Galleries in New York City.