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Contacts: Macey Morales/Jennifer Petersen
ALA Media Relations
For Immediate Release,
January 14, 2008

Schneider Family Book Award recipients named

PHILADELPHIA - The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce the winners of the Schneider Family Book Award, which honors an author or illustrator for the artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.

Recipients are selected in three categories: young children (age 0-8), middle grades (age 9-13) and teens (age 14-18). Winners receive $5,000 and a framed plaque, which will be presented during the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif. June 26 - July 2.

“Kami and the Yaks,” written by Andrea Stenn Stryer, illustrated by Bert Dodson and published by Bay Otter Press of Palo Alto, Calif., wins the award for young children. Kami, a young Sherpa boy who is deaf, rescues his family's yaks and livelihood during a violent storm. Stunning, realistic watercolors add depth to a strong story, bringing out the drama of the Himalayan Mountains. Together they perfectly capture Kami's ability to communicate with home signs.

Tracie Vaughn Zimmer is the winner of the middle grades award for “Reaching for Sun” published by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, New York. Zimmer uses lyrical free verse to tell the story of one girl's 13th year. Josie, a young teen with cerebral palsy, blossoms through her relationship with her grandmother, conflicts with her mother, her friendship with a new neighbor boy and her care of the family garden. Form, format and content combine to create an exquisite story.

The teen award winner is “Hurt Go Happy,” written by Ginny Rorby, a Starscape Book published by Tom Doherty Associates. Initially isolated by her mother's refusal to let her learn American Sign Language (ASL), Joey grows from a lonely teen to a mature animal rights activist in this engaging story of a Deaf girl and Sukari, a signing chimpanzee. After learning ASL, Joey rescues Sukari from a research lab. This rich story will resonate with all readers who value independence and love animals.

Members of the 2008 Schneider Family Book Award committee are: Chair Carrie Scott Banks, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Joan K. Blaska, consultant, Anoka, Minn; Marti Goddard, San Francisco Public Library; Angela Pope Margerum, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, Atlanta; Karen L. Odean, Voices of Vision Talking Book Center, Geneva, Ill.; Patricia M. Steelman, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; and Vikki C. Terrile, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, N.Y.

For more information on the Schneider Family Book Award and other ALA literary awards, please visit