Welcome to my third week of reviewing multicultural Golden Sowers!
Today’s featured author is Graham Salisbury, who grew up on the islands of Oahu and Hawaii, where he and his mother traveled because his father was a navy pilot. Unlike most authors, he didn’t grow up liking to read. Instead he did spend most of his time outside, doing most everything but cracking open a book. Some of those outdoor adventures include riding his goose-necked bike, fishing in a swamp with a bamboo pole, roaming the rainforest on the Big Island, running cross-country, surfing waves, and having a blast being a kid. Oh, he also tried to get the attention of girls, listened to love songs, and taught himself to play guitar.
Unlike most authors, he also didn’t have any dreams of becoming a writer. In fact, it was the last thing that he expected to do. He flunked English twice in college. On his third attempt, he got an A. After college, he experimented with many jobs, trying to find something that interested him. He found a few that he liked: graphic design, music, and teaching. He has produced four CDs and had a number one song–in the Philippines.
According to the bio on his website, other important things to know about Salisbury are: He worked as the skipper of a glass-bottom boat, a deckhand on a deep-sea charter fishing boat, and a Montessori elementary school teacher. Oh, he also once surfed with a shark, got stung by a Portuguese man-of-war, and swam for his life from a moray eel. Can you tell he likes the adventurous life?
Graham Salisbury now lives with his family in Portland, Oregon. Because he sets his stories in Hawaii, in his interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith, Salisbury says that it is probably good for him to be living somewhere else. If he still lived in Hawaii he might feel too close to his material. He’d see all the little things that he was getting wrong or missing altogether. Worse, if he were there, he wouldn’t need to write about Hawaii, because he’d be living right there. Having distance from the island makes Hawaii more enticing, giving him more of a need to set his stories there. In his head and heart, he is still in Hawaii. Given that I feel drawn to setting my longer stories in Newfoundland, but am currently living in the Midwest, I understand how Salisbury feels.
Unlike Salisbury, I have however yet to attempt to replicate the accent of my home province. In his profile at Random House, Salisbury says that, “I hope what gives my books their sense of authenticity, other than the natural inculcation of the island’s physical and cultural landscape, which ends up in my sentences by osmosis, is my use of language. In Hawaii we often speak what we call pidgin English, a kind of tropical patois. For example, in standard English, one would say, ‘I am going home.’ In Hawaiian pidgin, it would be, ‘I going home.’ A simple thing, but over the course of a novel, it becomes a bigger thing, a part of a character’s being. It resonates. Syntax, too, creates that feeling of authenticity. It comes to me naturally, thank heaven. I don’t have to work at it because I simply hear it. If I had to fake, it I’d be laughed off the face of the earth. So, growing up in the islands was my gift.”
Américas Award for Children’s & Young Adult Literature
CLASP founded the Américas Award in 1993 to encourage and commend authors, illustrators and publishers who produce quality children’s and young adult books that portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States.
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children. It was established by in 1936, in memory of the great Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.
The Christy Awards are awarded each year to recognize novels of excellence written from a Christian worldview.
Coretta Scott King Award
The Coretta Scott King Book Award titles promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples. It is given to African American authors and illustrator.
children and young adult blogger literacy awards
Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award
The Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award was initiated in 2000 to recognize authors, illustrators, and publishers of high quality fictional and biographical children, intermediate, and young adult books that appropriately portray individuals with deve
Hans Christian Anderson Award
The Hans Christian Andersen Awards is given to a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature. The award is the highest international recognition an author can receive.
Kate Greenaway Medal
The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955, for distinguished illustration in a book for children. It is named after the popular nineteenth century artist known for her fine children’s illustrations and designs.
Middle East Book Award
The Middle East Book Award recognizes quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of the Middle East and its component societies and cultures.
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award
Honors fantasy books for younger readers, in the tradition of The Hobbit or The Chronicles of Narnia
Newbery Medal Award
The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
Pura Belpré Award
The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. It is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino experience.
Red House Book Award
The Red House Children’s Book Award is a series of literary prizes for works of children’s literature published during the previous year in England.
Sydney Taylor Award
The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.