Friday, September 26, 2008

Official Website for National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Goes Live

Today, the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, presented author Jon Scieszka with the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Medal as part of the National Book Festival celebration. Announced in January, the position was created to raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.

Additionally, an official National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature website has been created for parents, educators and children that includes background information on the Ambassador initiative, Jon Scieszka, and a schedule of Scieszka’s tour stops over the next year. The website features photos from Scieszka’s travels but also provides the opportunity for anyone to upload photos from Jon’s appearances in their city. Most importantly, the “Ask Jon” button allows kids to ask Scieszka questions directly. “The website is meant to serve as an information clearinghouse for all things related to the National Ambassador initiative,” said Robin Adelson, Executive Director at Children’s Book Council. “Our goal was to make it an accessible, fun, and interactive forum which parents, educators and kids can enjoy.”

The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature is named by the Librarian of Congress for a two-year term, based on recommendations from a selection committee representing many segments of the book community. The selection criteria include the candidate’s contribution to young people’s literature and ability to relate to children.

Born in Flint, Mich., Jon Scieszka earned a bachelor’s degree in writing from Albion College and a master of fine arts degree from Columbia University. He held a number of teaching positions in the first through eighth grades before taking a year off to develop ideas for children’s books. He is the author of several bestselling children’s titles, including “The Stinky Cheese Man,” which won a Caldecott Honor medal, “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” and the Time Warp Trio, a chapter book series. New titles this fall include: “Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland,” “Knucklehead” and “Melvin Might.” Scieszka is the founder of Guys Read, a nonprofit literacy organization.

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