I'm pleased to announce that Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo (Little Brown, 2003) by Greg won the Teddy Award, sponsored by the League of Texas Writers, in the longer-works division and that the other two finalists, My Father's Summers by Kathi Appelt and My Road Trip To The Pretty Girl Capital Of The World, likewise were celebrated. More on each of those great titles:
MY FATHER'S SUMMERS: A DAUGHTER'S MEMOIR by Kathi Appelt (Henry Holt, 2004). Poignant. Powerful. Poetic. Appelt's memoir is her best work to date. Heartfelt and hopeful, she describes the impact of her father's departure, her first kiss, and a surprisingly close connection to a defining day in American history. This book will resonant with young adult and adult readers alike. Five stars. Ages 12-up. Recommendation by author Anne Bustard. This memoir is already getting Newbery buzz.
MY ROAD TRIP TO THE PRETTY GIRL CAPITAL OF THE WORLD by Brian Yansky (Cricket, 2003). In this journey to the self (and from Iowa to Austin), Simon’s struggling to keep things together. He’s skating the law, recently dumped, and dealing with a dad who just doesn’t understand. Overwhelmed, he hits the road to find his biological parents and wisdom about evil advertisers, scary giants, witches, ETs, friendship, nature/nurture, and, well, pretty girls. One part magic, two parts tall tale, this YA debut is one to read and remember. Ages 12-up. This novel was honored earlier this year by the Texas Institute of Letters as the winner of its YA award.
Finalists in the shorter-works division, included an Austinite I was honored to meet for the first time: Karin Cates, author of The Secret Remedy Book: A Story of Comfort and Love (Orchard Books).
A number of additional children's and YA authors attended to show support for the various finalists and celebrate Texas literature, which was quite gracious.