1997 Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner
Author Gary Paulsen, of Tulavosa, N.M., is the 1997 winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring an author's lifetime contributions in writing books for teenagers. The award was announced February 17 at the 1997 Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association (ALA) in Washington, D.C.
The Edwards Award winner, Paulsen will receive $1,000 cash and a citation at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco June 27 through July 3, 1997.
Paulsen is the author of more than 130 books, mostly for young people. They include: "Hatchet," published by Bradbury Press, the book that introduced a legion of readers to the world of Gary Paulsen and encompasses a survival theme in all its aspects, physical as well as psychological; "Woodsong," published by Bradbury/Macmillan, an autobiographical account of Paulsen's life that shares his transformation from ignorance to knowledge in the realm of nature.
"Winter Room," published by Orchard Books, a look at the cyclical nature of Minnesota farm life through a young boy's eyes; "The Crossing," by Orchard Books, the story of how an American army sergeant and an orphaned Mexican boy form an unlikely bond. "Canyons," published by Delacorte, a ghost story that combines modern mythology with ancient Apache culture to form a link between two worlds; and "Dancing Carl," published by Bradbury Press, a novel of friendship, rehabilitation and love in which Dancing Carl changes the lives of two eighth grade boys in Minnesota.
Edwards Committee Chair Helen Vandersluis of the Miami-Dade County (Fla..) Public Library System said:
"From quiet introspective memoirs to edge-of-the-seat adventures, Paulsen grabs and holds the attention of his readers. The theme of survival is woven throughout, whether it is living through a plane crash or living in an abusive, alcoholic household. The six books the committee cited exemplified different aspect of Paulsen's central theme.
"With his intense love of the outdoors and crazy courage born of adversity, Paulsen has reached young adults everywhere. His writing conveys a profound respect for their intelligence and ability to overcome life's worst realities. As Paulsen himself has said, 'I know if there is any hope at all for the human race, it has to come from young people.'"
The Margaret A. Edwards Award is administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the ALA, and sponsored by School Library Journal magazine. Others members of the 1997 awards committee are: Christine Allen, Riverside (Calif.) Unified School District; Audra Caplan, Harford County (Md.) Public Library; Bonnie Kunzel, New Brunswick (N.J.) Free Public Library; and Evelyn Walker, Evansville Vanderburg County (Ind.) Public Library.