Children and young adult author Sharon Draper will receive the Tulsa Library Trust’s 2015 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers’ Literature at 7pm on Friday, August 28 at Hardesty Library’s Connor’s Cove.
Draper, who has balanced her career as a best-selling novelist with equally acclaimed work as an educator, will speak about her life, answer questions from the audience and sign books. She also will present awards to winners of Tulsa City-County Library’s 2015 Young People’s Creative Writing Contest.
Draper has written numerous books. Her most recent book for children is Stella by Starlight set in North Carolina when slavery still existed. She wrote the Jericho and Hazelwood trilogies for teen readers. Her 2010 book, Out of My Mind, spent almost two years on the New York Times bestseller list. It is about Melody, a highly intelligent girl with cerebral palsy who is constantly underestimated because she cannot talk. She has also written a series of Sassy books about a younger sister and The Clubhouse Murders. Both will appeal to child readers. Draper has also penned three books for teachers and two books of poetry.
The Ohio resident has been honored as the National Teacher of the Year. She was also selected as Ohio’s Outstanding High School Language Arts Educator and Ohio Teacher of the Year. She was a winner of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. The YWCA forselected her as a Career Woman of Achievement and Howard University’s School of Education gave her the Dean’s Award. Last year she was named Ohio Pioneer in Education by the Ohio State Department of Education. In 2008, she received the Beacon of Light Humanitarian award. She was named a Distinguished Alumnus by Pepperdine University and in 2009 she received the Doctor of Laws Degree from Pepperdine.
Draper is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Literary Award. In 2011, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to the field of adolescent literature by The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English. The Educational Book and Media Association awarded her the 33rd Jeremiah Luddington Award for lifetime achievement. She was honored this year by the American Library Association as the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime literary achievement.
Draper has been honored at the White House six times, and was chosen as one of only four authors in the country to speak at the National Book Festival Gala in Washington, D.C. and to represent the U.S. in Moscow at their Book Festival. The U.S. State Department and the International Reading Association chose her book Copper Sun as the United States novel for the international reading project called Reading Across Continents. Students in the U.S., Nigeria and Ghana are reading the book and sharing cross-cultural ideas.
Draper is actively involved in encouraging and motivating teachers and students. She has worked all over the U.S., in Russia, Ghana, Togo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Bermuda and Guam spreading the word about the power of accomplished teaching and excellence in education.
Draper’s literary recognition began when, as a challenge from one of her students, she entered and won first prize of $5000 and publication in a literary contest for a short story called “One Small Torch.”
For more information, go to www.sharondraper.com