Cook Prize Ceremony

cook prize webRecently I was at the Bank Street College of Education to receive a Cook Prize Honor for Mysterious Patterns.

The folks at Bank Street have a video stream of the event on their website.

My portion of the ceremony begins at 57:18.



Mysterious Patterns Finalist for The Cook Prize

MP cover Such wonderful news came in last week. Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature  was chosen as one of four finalists for The Cook Prize for best STEM picture book.

This prize is given by The Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature. It is unique among prizes for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) books in that the winner is chosen by third and fourth grade students. If you are a teacher or librarian and want your students to participate, please click here to register.

The other finalists this year are Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle by Cheryl Bardoe, illus. by Alan Marks (Charlesbridge), Galápagos George by Jean Craighead George, illus. by Wendell Minor (Harper), and Mr. Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis, illus. by Gilbert Ford (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Cheryl Bardoe, author of Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle, is also a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism’s master’s program. She and I did a fireside together four years ago when I was in Evanston promoting Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Number in Nature. Read about that here.


Crosbys Honored with For My People Award

My parents, Dave and Patty Crosby, were honored this year with a For My People Award, given annually by the Margaret Walker Center. The award is given for distinguished service in the public preservation of African-American history and culture. This year’s other recipients were: Charlayne Hunter-Gault, who delivered the Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Convocation speech, and the African American Military History Museum.

with placque
I asked Roderick Red Jr., of Red Squared Productions, to photograph the event. In the above image, Patty and Dave are pictured with Robby Luckett, director of the Margaret Walker Center, and my sister Emilye, who introduced my parents for the award.
hunter gault
Charlayne Hunter-Gault gave a rousing speech.
stage group
The convocation ended with a rendition of We Shall Overcome, including the traditional hand-holding by the folks on stage and in the audience.

Several longtime friends and mentors were on hand for the event, including Worth Long.
And Roland Freeman.

patty taking pix
Patty couldn’t help but take photos.
em intro
Emilye did the introduction with verve and flair.

Hg and Reeves
Hunter-Gault conferring with Carlton Reeves, a federal judge, who delivered the closing remarks.
More friends.
carter and t and me
More friends.
For My People-8821
More friends.
And just a good comparison of our jawlines… Em.
…. And me.
I’ve said this on the blog before, but I’ll say it again because it never ceases to give me joy. Roderick Red Sr. and I learned photography side-by-side from Patty in the early 80s, and now I count his son among my friends and colleagues. Thanks for taking all the photos, Jr., you did a great job.

Mississippi Library Association Annual Conference

I spent a few hours at the Mississippi Library Association Annual Conference last week. I went to hear my friend, Hester Bass, talk about her book, The Secret World of Walter Anderson, at lunch. Then, I went back for the Awards Dinner, where Hester won a Special Award for The Secret World of Walter Anderson. I had my little camera so the images don’t have the crisp look I’d like, but there worth sharing anyway.


Nancy Opalko, youth services librarian at Oxford Public Library, introducing Hester.


Hester Bass delivering a singing telegram to the lunch crowd.

Bass signing

Hester siging copies of her book after the luncheon speech.

Cynthia Wetzel

Cynthia Wetzel, a librarian at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, introducing Ellis Anderson.

Ellis Anderson

Ellis Anderson, author of Under Surge, Under Siege, winner of the nonfiction award.

Read more about Under Surge, Under Siege here.

Anderson 2

Donna  P. Fite

Donna Fite, librarian at Purvis Public Library, introduces Mary Anna Evans.


Mary Anna Evans, author of Floodgates, won the fiction award.

Read more about Mary Anna Evans and her books here.

coleman gives bass award

Marty Coleman, librarian at First Regional Library and chair of the Author Awards Committee, giving Hester her award.

You can read more about Hester and her books here.
Also, if you have read this far and are still interested, you can see last year’s award winners.

Good News All Around

I was awarded a fellowship in the literary arts by the Mississippi Arts Commission. With my fellowship, an award of $3,900, I am charged with creating new work. Earlier this year, I described the process the Commission uses to evaluate fellowship applications. You can read about it here. I very much appreciate the help of Diane Williams, the MAC program director with oversight of the literary arts programs. I also appreciate the panelists.

The Work-in-Progress that I submitted for evaluation is tentatively titled “Not White.” It is a coming-of-age memoir.

In addition to the fellowship, I applied to be included in the MAC’s rosters of Artists and Teaching Artists. This will be my second three-year stint on the roster of Artists (for the literary arts) and the first stint with the Teaching Artists. In addition to Diane, who helped with the roster process, I also thank Kim Whitt, the program director with oversight of the teaching artist roster.

The final piece of good news is that all my struggling earlier this year with my Picture Book Work-in-Progress is really bearing fruit. I’m nearly ready to send it out into the world — again. Wish me luck!

Here’s a leaf I saw on the tip of an Island north of Seattle. Even with expanses of water, I am drawn to veins in a leaf.



Page Ahead Best Books for Kids Awards

I hope you’ll forgive my absence. The downside of going away can be getting behind on the home front and, sometimes, getting sick. Douglas and I had a hard time getting back from Seattle (no thanks to weather and Delta’s trouble dealing with the logistics of weather). Then, I came down with a bug. I’m back, and I hope to catch up on all the things I’ve been doing — including WRITING!!

Here I am with Keith Baker, the author and illustrator of LMNO Peas, at the 2011 Best Books for Kids Award Party in Seattle. Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature was nominated in the nonfiction category.

Best Books for Kids Finalists

The 2011 Best Books for Kids were: We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems (Read Aloud), How to Clean a Hippopotamus by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (nonfiction), Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill (Multicultural), and The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O’Conner. You can see a list of all nominees here. I enjoyed spending a few hours with people who love books and are committed to getting good books into the hands of all children. I hope to be back in Seattle one day and Page Ahead will be on my list of places to visit.


Books nominated for 2011 Best Books For Kids

more nominated books

More Nominated Books

more and more nominated books

Even more nominated books.


Page Ahead

Page Ahead Display

Darby DuComb

Darby DuComb, Page Ahead board president

Cecelia McGowan

Cecelia McGowan, a Best Books judge

Best Books judge nonfiction

Stefanie Malone, a Best Books judge.

Best Books judge helper

A Best Books judge.

Best Books Judge

Marilyn Carpenter, a Best Books judge.


Off to Seattle for Page Ahead Book Party

page ahead logoToday I leave for Seattle to attend the Page Ahead Best Books for Kids Award Ceremony. Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature is a finalist in the nonfiction category. I’ll be visiting with some friends I’ve known since the day I started kindergarten in Evanston, IL. It’ll be a quick trip, but my son, Douglas, is coming along and we are going to pack as much in as we can.

Page Ahead To Honor Growing Patterns

Growing Patterns is a finalist in the nonfiction category for Page Ahead’s Best Books for Kids 2011. Page Ahead is an organization that puts books into the hands of kids in Washington state. I love groups like Page Ahead! I will be headed to Seattle next month to attend Page Ahead’s Party at the Library Bistro, which looks like a great space to celebrate books.

growing patterns cover

Growing Patterns with Stickers

I have time for a quick post today. One of the things I got in San Francisco was a whole bunch of stickers that say Outstanding Science Trade Book. I affixed them to the copies of Growing Patterns we sold at the NSTA convention, but I was eager to get a new image of the book featuring its stickers: the OSTB and the ALA Notable.

GP cover with stickers

In addition the partnering with the Children’s Book Council to select Outstanding Science Trade Books, the NSTA also has a program called NSTA Recommends. Growing Patterns is an NSTA Recommends title and the review appears here.

Growing Patterns Selected for Outstanding Science Trade Book List

Growing Patterns CoverGreat news! Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature has been selected to the Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2011, a cooperative project of the National Science Teachers Association and the Children’s Book Council. The 2011 list is here, and you can see this page for lists from past years.

I am grateful to the committee members for their consideration. Science teachers, environmental educators, and librarians use these lists as they develop curricula and build collections.

In other news, I sold two more photographs to Highlights High Five, a magazine for 2- to 6-year olds. I can’t show you the photographs now, but I will when they appear in the magazine.

I am just about ready to send the new manuscript out into the world again. I have gotten a lot of good feedback from writing colleagues, librarians, reading friends, and family members. I revised accordingly. I’ll keep you posted.