Highlights of the winners’ heartfelt words
New Writer Meg Medina
This is the story of bicultural children today, I think. They speak a different language than their parents. They know a different country; they experience a different geography of growing up. And now, thanks to our sad immigration debate, these children can be cut off literally, too, through deportations that leave them here alone and in limbo. To illustrate, between January and June of last year, the federal government reports that it removed more than 46,000 undocumented immigrants who claimed to have at least one child who is a natural US citizen. Let us put politics aside for a moment and imagine this through the eyes of a child. What will be the long-term impact on these children who are left suddenly in the foster care system or in the care of neighbors or overwhelmed relatives? If my story brings comfort to anyone, I hope it brings comfort to them most of all.
New Illustrator Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
When my editor, Christy Ottaviano, called to surprise me with the news I was receiving this award, the biggest smile spilled over me like my first cold bucket shower in Nepal. Ezra Jack Keats is a long-time hero of mine. I can relate to his big-kid nature and traveler’s spirit, his love for color and passion for collage. He inspires me to write and illustrate books from my heart. Receiving this honor in his name is an affirmation to me that I am on the right path. That my voice is a gift. It is also a priceless energy boost in these awesome and exhausting first years of motherhood. And, this award inspires me to create more books fueled by my love and curiosity for cultures around the world.