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Judy Goddard/Libraries Ltd. Awards
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Judy Goddard/Libraries, Ltd. Awards
 Children's Author/Illustrator Award
and Young Adult Author Award

[For descriptions of these awards, go to AzLA Awards on the AzLA website.]

News and Information from the Committee 

Children's Award

Jennifer Ward for several of her books: There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a FleaThe Seed and the Giant Saguaro and Way Out in the Desert
The Judy Goddard/Libraries, Ltd. Award Committee has selected Jennifer Ward as the 2011 recipient in the Children's category. Ms. Ward embodies the spirit of this award by  “creating books about Arizona for children” (from Judy Goddard Award description)  with her entertaining books that present facts about Arizona desert plants and animals,  her funny and whimsical prose with a southwestern flair and her resources for teachers and librarians on her website.  She has created a wonderful image of Arizona for people and especially children everywhere.

Young Adult Author Award

 Jillian Cantor for Life of Glass

    This novel beautifully portrays the joys, heartbreak and humor surrounding friendship and family life all within the setting of town very much like Tucson.


See below for a list of past award winners.
See below for a history of the awards.

For more information about the awards, please contact:

Children's Category:

Young Adult Category: 
Mary Rieck
North Valley Regional Library
(602) 652-3308 


History of the Judy Goddard/Libraries, Ltd. Awards

Celebrating the Creation of Arizona Children’s and Young Adult Literature

by Marcia Melton and Jeanette Daane


A sense of place is as important for children as it is for adults.  From the room where they play to the campsite in the mountains or the picnic on the desert, children are affected by surroundings.  As children grow, their awareness of location, geography, and culture expand from home to community.  Arizona children are given a special gift – authors and illustrators who carefully describe and picture our land and people.


In 1983, sensing the importance of recognizing authors and illustrators whose work captures the uniqueness of Arizona, Judy Goddard, the founder of Libraries, Ltd., worked with members of the Arizona State Library Association to establish an award for excellence in creating books about Arizona for children. 


Judy Goddard was in a unique position to establish and encourage this award.  Her vision and love of the task of bringing children and books together was responsible for creation of the non-profit organization, Libraries, Ltd., whose goal is to provide books for children in settings where they may not have access to them.  This organization began when Judy, as the wife of then Governor of Arizona, Sam Goddard, traveled the state and became aware of the many settings in which children did not have books to educate and inspire them.  For 40 years, Libraries, Ltd. has funded projects to encourage children’s reading.  That their efforts should include recognition of the authors who create the books was a natural and happy evolution. Judy turned to the Arizona State Library Association to be a partner in this effort.  The author awards have been sponsored and funded by the two organizations for twenty-three years.


Originally, the award was named the Arizona Author Award.  In 1997, the award evolved into two awards:  one for children’s authors and illustrators and the other for writers for the young adult audience.  At this time, the boards of both organizations voted to change the name of the awards to honor and reflect the work of the awards’ patroness.   The awards were renamed to be the Judy Goddard/Libraries, Ltd. Arizona Children’s Author/Illustrator Award and the Judy Goddard/Libraries, Ltd. Arizona Young Adult Author Award.


The criteria for the awards are direct and flexible.  They specify that the recipient be a living writer, preferably one who lives in the state itself or has lived in the state or the immediately surrounding region, or met the requirements until his or her recent death.  The children’s author or illustrator award is intended for children up to twelve years old.  The young adult author award is intended primarily for young adults twelve to nineteen years old.  Selection committees are comprised of members from both Libraries, Ltd. and the Library Association.


The award is traditionally presented at the Awards Presentation Banquet or Luncheon held during the annual autumn meeting of the Arizona State Library Association.  A traditional silver piece or a Native American storyteller figure is presented to the recipients.  The beautiful, unique silver mementos have a special tradition since they are crafted by the silversmiths of the Patania family in Tucson, old friends of Judy Goddard.  The pieces have varied over the years, but they have included letter openers, pins, and medallions, all marked with the occasion and the name of the award.  The Storyteller figures are also rich in meaning for these authors who share stories of all types with children.  In addition, in recent years, Libraries, Ltd. has also awarded a financial stipend to the recipients for donation to a library or reading program of their choice.  The selected recipients are honored guests and oftentimes featured speakers at the Libraries, Ltd. annual spring luncheon meeting.  Libraries, Ltd. also offers gold stickers to be placed on the award winning books in libraries and designs bookmarks noting the current recipient and past winners to serve as publicity for the award in school and public libraries.       


The first recipient of the award was Eulalia “Sister” Bourne.  She was a fitting author to begin the tradition of recognition.  Her books bring rural school and ranch life to the sharpest of images.  Women in Levis (1967), Nine Months is a Year at the Baboquivari School (1968), and Ranch Schoolteacher (1974), all published by the University of Arizona Press, have brought pleasure and awareness of Arizona to young adults.  Younger readers have enjoyed the experiences of a boy and his horse in Blue Colt (Northland Publishing, 1979). 


The children in Sister Bourne’s rural schools wrote and illustrated the monthly Little Cowpuncher newsletter, successfully doing what she explained was “to hold the mirror up to life as we live it here.”   Little Cowpuncher newsletters are now a unique record of life on southern Arizona ranches for that time. 


In 2004, the recipient of the children’s award was Joan Sandin for her book, Coyote School News.  She was inspired in part by the Little Cowpuncher so the awards have come full circle. 


In its nearly 25 years of history, the award has represented a wide variety of types and styles of literature, all of which, in various ways, hold up that same mirror about Arizona life, historical adventure, rich cultural diversity, and spectacular setting.  Among the riches to be sampled are the poetic views of desert life, culture, and respect for place in Byrd Baylor’s beautiful works.  Not only did Byrd Baylor receive recognition in Arizona, she is also the winner of the prestigious Caldecott Honor.  Ann Nolan Clark is another national honor award winner for the Newbery Award who is also an Arizona Author Award recipient.  The lively and wonderful folktale adaptations of recipient Susan Lowell have brought smiles to many Arizona children as they giggle over The Three Little Javelinas and Little Red Cowboy Boots.  Award recipients Elizabeth Polingaysi Qoyawayma, Michael Lacapa, Shonto Begay, and Baje Whitehorne share their rich Native American traditions in words and pictures.  Alice McLerran’s evocative Roxaboxen  returns children to the early 1900’s.  Conrad Storad teaches natural history in an exciting and appealing way.  Both Sylvia Long and Ron Himler are nationally known illustrators of renowned excellence, who also delight Arizonans whenever they bring their artistry to an Arizona title.  Jan Romero Stevens, Pam Muñoz Ryan, and Gary Soto enrich our understanding of the Mexican American heritage, weaving together Spanish and English languages.  And the list goes on and on – a kaleidoscope glittering in Sister Bourne’s mirror image.     


In an area as rapidly growing and changing as Arizona, reading can give a glimpse of the events, time periods, characters, and qualities that give the state its unique spirit.  Books can both “be home” and “become home” to the youngest generations.  The recipients of the Judy Goddard/Libraries, Ltd. Awards give this gift to children in greatest abundance.  It is a rewarding task for the selection committees to labor over the titles suggested each year to chose recipients to continue this important tradition.  A glance over the list of recipients gives a wide view of depth and richness of Arizona literature for children and young adults.     



Past AzLA Judy Goddard/Libraries Ltd.Children’s Author/Illustrator Award Winners


2007   Marjorie Sharmat and Laura Resau

2006   Barbara Park

2005  Alice McLerran (Bellport, NY)

2004   Joan Sandin (Tucson, AZ)

2003   Jean Ekman Adams (Paradise Valley, AZ)

2002      Sylvia Long (Scottsdale, AZ)

2001      Conrad Storad (Tempe, AZ)

2000      Ruth Covault (Peoria, AZ)

1999      Joyce Rossi (Reno, NV)

1998      Jan Romero Stevens (Flagstaff, AZ)

1997      Ron Himler (Tucson, AZ)

1996      Baje Whitehorne (Flagstaff, AZ)

1995   Joe Hayes (Santa Fe, NM) & Kay Sather (Tucson, AZ)

1994      Susan Lowell (Tucson, AZ)

1993      Shonto Begay (Flagstaff, AZ)

1992      Ken Buchanan (Arivaca, AZ)

1991      Michael Lacapa (Taylor, AZ)

1990      Gisela and E. Wesley Jernigan (Tucson and Pima, AZ)

1989      Elizabeth Polingaysi Qoyawayma (Elizabeth Q. White) (Old Oraibi, Arizona)

1988      Betty Baker (Tucson, AZ)

1987      Lynn Gessner (Scottsdale, AZ)

1986   Don Schellie (Tucson, AZ)

1985      Byrd Baylor (Tucson, AZ and New Mexico)

1984      Ann Nolan Clark (Tucson, AZ)

1983      Eulalia Bourne (Mammoth, AZ)


c2008, Arizona Library Association.  Last modified 7-18-2011.




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