Centre alumna’s newest book to be honored at the Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards
October 7, 2010 By Leigh Ivey
house in 2000, her newest story has been named an Honor Book
in the younger-children category by the Jane Addams Children’s
George Ella Lyon, Centre College Class of 1971, is no stranger to the spotlight. A renowned author of children’s literature, she has published more than 20 books and has received numerous awards, including the 1989 Golden Kite Award, given by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, for Borrowed Children; Book of the Year Award, given by Appalachian Writers Association, for Catalpa; and Best Books of the Year, Publishers Weekly, for Who Came Down that Road?
And she now has another published book—and another award—to add to the list. You and Me and Home Sweet Home, a story inspired by Lyon’s experiences with a Habitat for Humanity project in 2000, has been named an Honor Book in the younger-children category by the Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards.
Presented on Oct. 15 in New York, the award recognizes U.S. books published in the previous year that encourage young readers to think about peace, justice, the global community and equality.
“I was thrilled and amazed to get the news of the Jane Addams Honor, even more so after I read the list of others chosen and saw what company my book is in,” Lyon says. “But a book, like a house, is the work of many hands.
“This one,” she continues, “would not have happened without Cheryl and Sharonda (mother and daughter whose Habitat house it is), without Diane (our leader) and all the crew; without Ann Olson (who did photographs for the version of the book that didn't get published); and without my editor, Richard Jackson, and those luminous illustrations by Stephanie Anderson.”
Lyon says that You and Me and Home Sweet Home is no exception in being a story inspired by real life.
“Everything I write comes from something that touches me deeply,” she says. “It isn't always something I take part in, like building the house; it may be a story someone tells, something one of my sons says, a place that speaks to me, a memory. It may be a photograph, a newspaper article. Last week it was a whiskey bottle with four pictures and a $2.00 bill inside which I found in the hollow of a tree. All of us have incredible experiences; writers just have to write about them.”