2007 Winners

The Eight Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award recipients are:

Fox, Mem. HUNWICK’S EGG. Harcourt, 2005.
All is not as it seems when Hunwick, a kindly old bandicoot, adopts a homeless egg. This minimalist tale reminds us that love overcomes expectations in unexpected ways.

Law’s grandmother’s admonition to “Be somebody!” echoed throughout his life. This moving, picture book biography tells the story of a US postal carrier in segregated Savannah , who delivered more than mail to citizens in the city he loved. Westley Wallace Law became a catalyst in the Great Savannah Boycott that brought equality through nonviolence three years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Law’s story affirms that an “ordinary” person CAN “be somebody,” profoundly and gracefully transforming a divided world.

Henderson, Kathy. LUGALBANDA, THE BOY WHO GOT CAUGHT UP IN A WAR. Candlewick, 2006.
Quite possibly the oldest written story in the world, Lugalbanda’s tale resonates today. When Lugalbanda and his seven older brothers follow their king into battle, the goddess of love and war withholds her favor, dooming them to failure. Lugalbanda’s kindness and courage become forces for peace. The author’s lyrical and spare retelling of this long-lost epic from ancient Iraq is nothing short of breathtaking

Johnson-Davies, Denys. GOHA THE WISE FOOL. Philomel Books, 2005.
Fifteen entertaining tales about Goha—the wise, the fool, the trickster! These humorous stories mine the riches of Middle Eastern storytelling traditions to remind us that sometimes laughter reveals the wisdom in our foolishness.

MacDonald, Margaret Read. GO TO SLEEP, GECKO!: A BALINESE TALE. August House, 2006.
When fireflies disturb Gecko’s sleep, he complains to Village Boss Elephant: “Do something about it!” But Elephant reminds Gecko (and us) of nature’s delectable equations and the essential lesson that in life: “Some things you just have to put up with.”

Marcantonio, Patricia Santos. RED RIDIN’ IN THE HOOD AND OTHER CUENTOS. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2005.
The straw of classic plots is spun into gold by the language and point of view of Latino culture. Beyond being fractured, the alterations give the eleven stories a new life. An excellent glossary supports bilingual storytelling. Like The Three Chicharrones – little pigs – these stories are not built of pinon sticks but of sturdy adobe bricks that will last and stand proudly in rural, urban and suburban landscapes.

McKissack recreates the sense of family and friends relishing stories on a summer’s evening. Settle in and savor these ten savvy – and sly tales that are told in a decidedly Southern cadence.

Oberman, Sheldon. SOLOMON AND THE ANT: AND OTHER JEWISH FOLKTALES. Boyds Mills Press, 2006.
In his final masterwork, Oberman retells forty-three stories from contemplative Biblical tales through popular folktales. An entertaining treasure trove of Jewish folk literature for professional or novice storytellers, this collection is both delightful for family bedtimes and satisfying for scholars.

Say, Allen. THE KAMISHIBAI MAN. Houghton Mifflin, 2005.
Amid the cacophony of a modern Japanese city, past and present fuse unexpectedly as a crowd of adults voice their joy at the return of their childhood storyteller, the Kamishibai man. With his “paper theater” and candies, the elderly storyteller tenderly bundles up the past making it a gift for the future.

Thomas, Elizabeth Marshall. THE OLD WAY: A STORY OF THE FIRST PEOPLE. Sarah Crichton Books, 2006.
Modern storytelling traditions are deeply rooted in the old way. Thomas, one of America’s wise elders, illuminates the central role of storytelling in preserving and perpetuating vital cultural values through countless generations. As the Ju/’hoansi and /Gwi of Southern Africa strive to reconcile their ancient hunting/gathering way of life with the demands of the modern world, their complex stories provide moving testimony to the tensile strength of storytelling.

A compassionate and daring Choctaw girl in the early 1800’s helps an enslaved boy and his family walk “on the water” to freedom. In telling the story of the friendship between Martha Tom and Little Mo, and in juxtaposing the cultures of freedom and bondage, Tingle affirms “the sweet and secret fire that drives the Indian heart”.

Winter, Jonah. DIZZY. Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, 2006.
An abused and angry boy in a childhood of blue notes, John Birks Gillespie turns his life around when a teacher gives him a trumpet. Gillespie harnesses his unorthodox character, and penchant for being a joker, to earn the nickname “Dizzy.” He breaks all the rules, becomes an influential musician and creates Bebop. Winter’s writing mimics a trumpet’s high and lows. Bursting with energy, the rhythms of this story beg to be blown off the page.

Yashinsky, Dan. SUDDENLY THEY HEARD FOOTSTEPS: STORYTELLING FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY. University Press of Mississippi (American Edition), 2006; Vintage Canadian (Canadian Edition), 2005.
Cultural history, instruction, memoir and personal stories collide when this Canadian storyteller reflects on how storytelling grounds us in a digital sound-byte society. He explores how stories enable us to find our identity, celebrate our families, shape our lives and create communities. The art of storytelling is viewed through his decidedly philosophical, humorous, inspiring, and instructive lenses. Central to the book is his belief that the stories we give away are the only ones we keep.


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