THIS YEAR'S GOLDEN KITE AWARD WINNERS AND HIGHLIGHT QUOTES FROM THEIR ACCEPTANCE SPEECHES...
Young Reader and Middle Grade Fiction: Padma Venkatraman, for The Bridge Home (Nancy Paulsen Books)
Padma spoke of her childhood, of the challenges of a friend who hid in a cemetery night after night to escape the men who wanted to enslave her, who asked Padma because Padma was a child who loved to write,
“Padma, will you write my story one day?
Yes. I promise. It's taken me forty years, but this [is that] book.”
Picture Book Text: Ashley Benham Yazdani, for A Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park (Candlewick)
“The ripples of one single park changed the way” America related to public spaces. How will the park look in 100 years? If nothing changes, it will be “a lot hotter, a lot wetter, a lot emptier.” Like the creators of central park, “We [too] stand at a tipping point of industry and its impact on our planet.”
—Ashley Benham Yazdani
Non-Fiction for Younger Readers: Elizabeth Rusch, for Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet, illustrated by Teresa Martinez (Charlesbridge)
Many kids today feel helpless. Elizabeth recounts that when she goes to school visits, she asks kids if anything going on today reminds them of the Ozone crisis. Every hand goes up. That’s why she wrote Mario and the Hole in the Sky.
“I wanted to give them a message of hope. That we actually imperiled our planet before, and we did something about it.” And that the effort was led by a boy from Mexico.
Picture Book Illustration: Hyewon Yum, for Clever Little Witch, written by Muon Thị Van (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
“I'm very lucky. I was given this award eleven years ago for my first book. So this is my second time giving this speech. And now I know better what it means... It means so much.” Thank you —Hyewon Yum
Non-Fiction for Older Readers: Deborah Heiligman, for Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship” (Henry Holt)
Deborah starts by speaking of our shared “commitment to creating the best books we can for the most important people in the world...” About her research, she was" thrilled to discover" primary sources, and still “many more primary sources, including two survivors to meet and interview... Time and time again, I was struck by how this tragedy brought out the best in people.” —Deborah Heiligman
Young Adult Fiction: Julie Berry, for Lovely War (Viking Books for Young Readers)
Julie speaks to the wonderful beginners in this room, saying “we want to hear your stories.” She thanks SCBWI for including a donation to a charity as part of these awards, charities chosen by the winners. Equal Justice Initiative is her choice. “Justice demands that the truth be spoken out loud... Truth has gotten a bad rap of late. It needs a better publicist... But we can't lose hope in the truth.”
Sid Fleischman Humor Award Winner: Remy Lai, for Pie in the Sky (Henry Holt)
“Are you ready for some jokes? I don't have any. Really...” Remy tells the story of finding out she'd won the award... Having to give a speech? ”Now that I'm officially funny...that's very hard.” She turns serious, “Sometimes publishing can make you feel like you can never be enough... I'm going to accept that today, I'm enough." —Remy Lai