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2019 Zarrow Award

2019 Winner Rita Williams-Garcia

The Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature gives formal recognition, on behalf of the Tulsa County community, to a nationally acclaimed author who has made a significant contribution to the field of literature for young adults. The award, presented by the Tulsa Library Trust, consists of a $7,500 cash prize and an engraved crystal book.

Williams-Garcia is being recognized for writing bestselling novels for young adults that inspire imaginations, dreams and pride in all ages. Her books encourage cultural awareness and the importance of believing in yourself. 

As a kindergartener, Williams-Garcia remembers asking for a pencil and paper to write stories while her classmates colored pictures. By 12-years-old she was sending short stories for publications consideration, only to be “politely rejected.”

Not long after that though, at age 14, she sold her first short story to Highlights Magazine. As a 20-year-old student at Hofstra, she sold her second story to Essence Magazine.

Studying at Hofstra with authors Richard Price and Sonia Pilcer, she began writing about Joyce, a character in her first book Blue Tights, which was eventually published when she was 30.

“It was so important to me to tell this story about a girl with great talent but low self-esteem,” said Williams-Garcia. “I had seen so many ‘Joyces’ but not enough books to tell their story. It took seven years and many typewritten drafts to get this novel right. I like to encourage aspiring writers and young readers to follow their dreams, even in the face of rejection or many, many retries. Follow your dreams anyway. You learn so much with each and every try.”

One Crazy Summer, the first book in the Gaither Sister series, follows three sisters in the summer of 1968 as they visit their estranged mother in Oakland. It was awarded the National Book Award, Coretta Scott King Award, Newbery Medal Honor Book, and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. The sequels, P.S. Be Eleven and Gone Crazy in Alabama, were both Coretta Scott King Award winners.

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground, released in 2017, is Williams-Garcia’s newest release. The story follows a young boy who loves spending time with his grandfather and local blues musicians. It also was a National Book Award finalist.

Williams-Garcia will accept the Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature at a public presentation at Hardesty Regional Library’s Connor’s Cove, 8316 E. 93rd St., Friday, May 3, at 7 p.m.  She also will present awards to winners of the 2019 Young People’s Creative Writing Contest at the ceremony.

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About Anne V. Zarrow

Anne V. Zarrow

 

Once upon a time, there lived a young girl named Broomstick Annie who wore bright-colored ribbons in her hair.

The story of Anne V. Zarrow’s life reads much like a children’s fairy tale.  From the day she was born in 1915 to a poor immigrant family in Ohio and nicknamed “Broomstick Annie,” to her marriage to her beloved husband, Henry, Anne gave of herself.  Whether it was hosting a local charity dinner or giving the coat off her back, Anne did so with sincerity and style.

As one of Tulsa’s most prominent business leaders, Henry Zarrow found it difficult to deny his wife her every good deed, especially when it came to books and children.  Together they established an endowment in the Tulsa Library Trust to fund The Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature.  The award allows the library to bring to Tulsa each year a famous children’s author.  This celebration of reading and writing also gives children all over Tulsa County an opportunity to meet and talk with an author they’ve only read about in books.

And to make sure there are plenty of books to read, upon Anne’s death in 2000, the Zarrow family chose to remember her with the Anne V. Zarrow Library Books for Children’s Fund with a $125,000 challenge grant.  Each year, this endowment pays for hundreds of new children’s books to put on the library shelves.

With all fairy tales, there are happy endings.  You have only to look at the list of award winners for inspiration to see how the childhood dreams of just one girl named “Broomstick Annie” now introduces the minds of hundreds of young readers and writers to a world of possibilities, of imagination and creativity.

The Award

The Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature was inaugurated in 1991 and is given annually by the Tulsa Library Trust.  In 1992, it was permanently named in honor of Anne V. Zarrow.  Its purpose is to give formal recognition, on behalf of the Tulsa County community, to nationally acclaimed authors who have made a significant contribution to the field of literature for children and young adults.

2019 Fact Sheet

WHAT: 

The Award for Young Readers' Literature was inaugurated in 1991 and is given annually by the Tulsa Library Trust. In 1992, it was permanently named in honor of Anne V. Zarrow. Its purpose is to give formal recognition, on behalf of the Tulsa County community, to nationally acclaimed authors who have made a significant contribution to the field of literature for children and young adults.

The award consists of a $7,500 cash prize and an engraved crystal book.

Past winners are: Pam Muñoz Ryan (2018), Laurie Halse Anderson (2017), Gordon Korman (2016), Sharon Draper (2015), Jack Gantos (2014), Jim Murphy (2013), Jacqueline Woodson (2012), Kathryn Lasky (2011), Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (2010), Christopher Paul Curtis (2009), Louis Sachar (2008), Kate DiCamillo (2007), Sharon Creech (2006), Avi (2005), Susan Cooper (2004), Russell Freedman (2003), Richard Peck (2002), E.L. Konigsburg (2001), Jerry Spinelli (2000), Jane Yolen (1999), Cynthia Voigt (1998), Gary Paulsen (1997), Walter Dean Myers (1996), Lois Lowry (1994), Katherine Paterson (1993), Madeleine L'Engle (1992) and S.E. Hinton (1991).

WHO:

Rita Williams-Garcia is the winner of the 2019 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature.

WHEN/WHERE:

Friday, May 3 at 7 p.m., Hardesty Regional Library, Connor’s Cove, 8316 E. 93rd St. 

Zarrow Award and Young People’s Creative Writing Contest Awards Presentation

Williams-Garcia will receive the Zarrow award, and speak about her life and works.  She also will present awards to the winners of the 2019 Young People’s Creative Writing Contest at the ceremony.  Following questions from the audience, she will sign copies of her books.  This program is free and open to the public.

SPONSORS:

The award is a program of the Tulsa City-County Library, made possible through the Tulsa Library Trust by a grant from the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation.

ABOUT THE AWARD WINNER: 

Williams-Garcia is being recognized for writing bestselling novels for young adults that inspire imaginations, dreams and pride in all ages. Her books encourage cultural awareness and the importance of believing in yourself. 

One Crazy Summer, the first book in the Gaither Sister series, was awarded the National Book Award, Coretta Scott King Award, Newbery Medal Honor Book, and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. The sequels, P.S. Be Eleven and Gone Crazy in Alabama, were both Coretta Scott King Award winners.

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground, released in 2017, is Williams-Garcia’s newest release.  It also was a National Book Award finalist.

GOALS OF THE ZARROW AWARD:

  • To encourage children and teens to read and write by promoting the prize, and the author’s books and visit, throughout the library’s summer reading program and the Young People’s Creative Writing Contest.
  • To introduce children and teens to favorite authors of literary distinction and present famous authors as real people and role models.
  • To provide a major event that brings families into the library and is a rallying point for the Summer Reading Program.
  • To give young readers the opportunity to learn from a successful author's writing experiences.

ABOUT THE LIBRARY TRUST:

The Tulsa Library Trust is a public charity created by private contributions to benefit Tulsa City-County Library. Income generated by the Trust's endowment is used to fund projects and purchase materials that the library could not afford through its operating budget.

Mr. Henry's Books, Educator Workshop

Mr. Henry's Books is named in honor of Mr. Henry Zarrow.

This annual workshop for educators features a book by the Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature recipient; all participants receive copies of a selected book for each student in their class and curriculum focused on the award recipient. Teachers also learn about online education-based library services, and other youth-based programs and services hosted through the library in an effort to further engage them in literacy, learning, and the library.

This program is sponsored through the Tulsa Library Trust, made possible by a grant from the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, and hosted in partnership with TulsaKids Magazine.

Visit here for more information about the educator's workshop.