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Contact: Cheryl Malden
Program Officer
For Immediate Release
February 20, 2004

Schneider Family Book Award recipients named

CHICAGO - The American Library Association is pleased to announce the winners of the Schneider Family Book Award, a new award donated by Dr. Katherine Schneider, which honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. 

An award recipient is selected for one of three categories: birth through grade school (age 0-10), middle school (age 11-13), and teens (age 13-18). Each recipient of the 2004 Schneider Family Book Award will receive $5000 and a framed plaque, which will be presented on Tuesday, June 29, during the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Glenna Lang, author and illustrator of "Looking Out For Sarah," published by Charlesbridge Publishing, won for best illustration for young children.  In this outstanding picture book, the beautiful harmony between text and illustrations conveys the special bond between Perry, a black Labrador retriever guide dog, and Sarah, a musician who happens to be blind.  The text and illustrations depict Perry and Sarah's daily routine and Perry's dream about their walk from Boston to New York. Large blocks of color within the book work well for story hour presentations or individual reading.  

Lang's past work includes illustrations for Robert Frost's "The Runaway," Robert Louis Stevenson's "My Shadow," James Whitcomb Riley's "When the Frost Is on the Punkin," and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Children's Hour."  She teaches at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, daughter, and dog.

Wendy Mass, author of "A Mango Shaped Space," published by Little, Brown & Company Children's Publishing, is the winner for middle school.  The main character Mia is a sensitive 13-year-old girl who comes to terms with a rare neurological condition called Synesthesia. The story is an introspective look inside the world of one who perceives letters, numbers, and sounds as colors.  Mia keeps this ability a secret because she does not want to be different from her friends and family. She discovers that her condition has a medical name; this helps her cope with her learning differences at school and accept herself as a unique individual with both strengths and weaknesses, like everyone else.  Mass's exceptionally descriptive prose makes Synesthesia understandable and intriguing.  The story demonstrates that, although acceptance from family and friends is important, the most important aspect in accepting one's own differences is to realize that they are an integral part of who one is.

Mass resides in New Jersey and has written several nonfiction books and short stories. She also co-founded "Writes of Passage," a literary magazine for teenagers.

Andrew Clements, author of "Things Not Seen," published by Philomel Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, is the winner for teens. In this thought-provoking novel, main character Bobby, 15, wakes up one morning invisible.  He feels isolated until he meets Alicia, a teenager who was has experienced a loss of vision following a head injury.  Alicia empathizes with Bobby because of her own feelings of being unseen since her accident.  Clements realistically portrays the emotional turmoil of two youths during adolescence.

Clements' love of reading paved the way for a successful career in academic and literary pursuits.  As a child, one of his favorite places was the school library.  His love for books at an early age led to successful careers as a teacher, an editor, and a writer.  

Clements, with his wife and four sons, lives in Westborough, Massachusetts, where he writes picture books, early readers, and novels for middle grades. His books have won several awards, including the 2000 Young Hoosier Book Award, Georgia's Children's Book Award, the Sasquatch Children's Book Award, and the Rhode Island Children's Book Award.

Members of the 2004 Schneider Family Book Award Committee are:  Chair: Ellen J. Perlow, Texas Woman's University Libraries, Denton, Texas; Mary E. Cissell, Ph.D., Texas Woman's University, Denton, Texas; Judith M. King, Waunakee, Wisconsin; Rory Litwin, Sacramento, California; Judy T. Nelson, Pierce County Library System, Tacoma, Washington; Victor Lynn Schill, Harris County Public Library, Houston, Texas; and Patricia M. Steelman, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 


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