By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2
‘Just How Important These Stories Are’The University of Oklahoma’s World Literature Today, has announced the shortlist of finalists for the $25,000 2017 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature. An offshoot of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the biennial NSK Prize serves to celebrate the importance of children’s and young-adult literature and the impact it has on children’s minds.
“NSK” comes from the first names of the program’s three benefactors: Nancy Barcelo, Susan Neustadt Schwartz, and Kathy Neustadt.
The nominees for the 2017 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature are:
- Alma Flor Ada, Gold Coin and Tales Our Abuelitas Told
- Lynda Barry, Ernie Pook’s Comeek
- Lori Marie Carlson, Cool Salsa
- Candace Fleming, Professor Fergus Fahrenheit and His Wonderful Weather Machine
- Marilyn Nelson, The Homeplace and The Fields of Praise
- Ema Wolf, El turno del escriba
- Jacqueline Woodson, Miracle’s Boys and Brown Girl Dreaming
The finalists were chosen by members of a nine-person jury panel made up of the nominated writers’ peers, fellow authors working and publishing today. The next step is for the jury to convene to discuss the contributions of each of the individual nominees to children’s literature and select the 2017 NSK winner.
This is the first time that either the NSK or Neustadt Prize has had an all-female finalist roster.
It’s also the first time for either prize that jury members have nominated the same author three times in the same year: she is Jacqueline Woodson, who was a double nominee in 2011. Jury panelists nominate authors independently, so duplication is possible, although uncommon.
“We are ecstatic to have such a diverse and powerful group of voices representing the NSK Prize this year,” said R.C. Davis-Undiano, executive director of World Literature Today, which sponsors the NSK Prize.
“Children’s literature is a powerful device that both inspires and influences young minds to think in new and creative ways. By recognizing these authors and their works, we take a moment to reflect on just how important these stories are, not just for children, but for society at large.”
In addition to the cash prize, the NSK Prize winner will also receive a silver medallion, a certificate and a literary festival hosted in her honor in fall 2017 at the University of Oklahoma. The event will be free and open to the public.
The winner’s announcement will be made at a banquet ceremony on October 28 during the Neustadt Festival of International Literature and Culture honoring the 2016 Neustadt laureate, Dubravka Ugrešić.
Since 2003, the NSK Neustadt Prize has been awarded every other year—alternating with the Neustadt International Prize for Literature¯to a living writer or author-illustrator in recognition of significant achievement in children’s or young-adult literature.
Past winners include Mildred K. Taylor, Katherine Paterson, and Meshack Asare.