ESQUIVEL! Audiobook Wins Odyssey Honor Award

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Exciting news from Seattle this morning, where the American Library Association held its Youth Media Awards, the Oscars of the children’s literature world: the audiobook of my Esquivel! Space-Age Space Artist won an Odyssey Honor Award

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The Odyssey is bestowed for the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults; the selection committee may also select honor titles. The Odyssey Award is jointly given and administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), divisions of ALA, and is sponsored by Booklist magazine. This year’s Odyssey Award winner is Sadie, written by Courtney Summers, and my fellow Odyssey Honor winners are Du Iz Tak, by Carson Ellis; The Parker Inheritance, by Varian Johnson; and The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo. Whew—some pretty amazing company!

From the award selection committee: "The work of innovative composer Juan Garcia Esquivel is uniquely portrayed in this picture book biography by Susan Wood. Brian Amador’s narration, combined with tracks of space aged music and sound effects, presents a carefully orchestrated experience, with each element of the illustrations perfectly represented in stereo sound."

It’s funny, seven years ago I was an unagented writer with a quirky manuscript for kids about an obscure Mexican bandleader. In an amazing bit of serendipity that still blows my mind, the editorial director at the first house I sent it to just happened to be a vocalist with the world's only orchestra playing solely Esquivel's music (yes, really!). At the 2017 ALA YMAs, the book won a Pura Belpré Honor Award (thanks to illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh), and today, this (thanks to Live Oak Media, Brian Amador, and Rosi Amador—and they even let me voice my author's note)! It’s my little book that could. Seriously.

And I am so very grateful. 


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Honored and delighted to have Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless, She Persisted, my picture-book biography of the first woman senator from Massachusetts and 2020 presidential hopeful, featured at author Cheryl Holloway’s terrific blog An Author Writes. Be sure to take a look!

Thanks so much for the great questions, Cheryl!

SKYDIVING BEAVERS Named CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People

SkydivingBeavers Jacket

Delightful news! 

Just learned that The Skydiving Beavers: A True Tale, my picture book about the daring 1948 rehoming by airdrop of an Idaho beaver colony, has been honored as a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People

How are such books chosen? According to the National Council for the Social Studies’ website, which creates the annual list of such titles, the books are "evaluated and selected by a Book Review Committee appointed by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and assembled in cooperation with the Children’s Book Council (CBC). NCSS and CBC have cooperated on this annual bibliography since 1972. Books selected for this bibliography were published in 2017 and were written for children in grades K-12. The Book Review Committee looks for books that emphasize human relations, represent a diversity of groups and are sensitive to a broad range of cultural experiences, present an original theme or a fresh slant on a traditional topic, are easily readable and of high literary quality, have a pleasing format, and, where appropriate, include illustrations that enrich the text.”

Such an honor; thank you NCSS and CBC!

© Susan Wood 2022