Judith’s Reading Room Announces the “Founders’ Award”

NEWS RELEASE

CONTACT: Cathy Leiber
www.JudithsReadingRoom.org

Judith’s Reading Room Announces the “Founders’ Award”

In honor of literacy heroes everywhere who nourish souls and fulfill dreams

 

September 18, 2022 —  Judith’s Reading Room announced today its newest Award — the Founders’ Award, a cash prize at the discretion of its founders, Scott & Cathy Leiber, to honor literacy heroes who have had to overcome immense obstacles in order to enrich lives through literacy.

Judith’s Reading Room names two winners of the inaugural 2022 Founders’ Award:  Ms. Basarat Kazim, Lehore, Pakistan and Ms. Simon Ke, Siem Reap, Cambodia.  Each is awarded a cash prize of $1,000.

Ms. Basarat Kazim, Alif Laila Book Bus Society, Lehore, Pakistan


 

 

(L) Ms. Basarat Kazim, President, Alif Laila Book Bus Society, Lehore, Pakistan.  (R) Judith’s Reading Room’s 101st library:  The Camel Library shown here with Murad, camel driver and Roshan, camel with children in Mand, Pakistan.       

Our friendship with Basarat dates back to 2015 when she was awarded the first Freedom Through Literacy Award Grand Prize.  Subsequently, in 2020, Judith’s Reading Room dedicated with Kazim its 101st library — our first-ever mobile library to utilize a camel to deliver books to children.  “Our” camel driver, Murad, and his camel named Roshan carried 500 children’s books to the nearly impossible to reach community of Balochistan in southwest Pakistan.

We thought that was terrible.  Today, a third of Pakistan is underwater amid its worst floods in history.

Recently, Basarat wrote:

“My friend, the floods are horrendous and are continuing to wipe away buildings, homes, people. Such a sad and depressing time. Alif Laila is reaching out to our friends and partners in the affected areas and sending in supplies for children; books, dry food, play material, and medicines head the list.  Schools are closed in Balochistan right now. Roshan (camel) and Murad (camel driver) remain safe. Thank you once again my dear sister/ friend for caring and being there for Alif Laila and the children of Pakistan always.”

In honor of Basarat’s commitment to play her part in overcoming the devastating impact of the deadly flooding, she receives a Founders’ Award in the amount of $1,000.

Ms. Simon Ke, Siem Reap, Cambodia


 

 

(L) Ms. Simon Ke, Executive Director, Anjali House, Siem Reap, Cambodia.  (R) Teacher with children practicing reading aloud.

In 2013, Judith’s Reading Room established a library containing 87 children’s books at Anjali House in Siem Reap, near Angkor Wat.  Anjali House serves destitute children.

Fast forward to 2021, Anjali House applied for the organization’s Freedom Through Literacy Award, but as their project described something not yet realized, it did not qualify for a cash prize.  However, Judith’s Reading Room awarded Anjali House a 2021 “Honorable Mention” designation intended to encourage the organization and to pursue its dream.

Particularly hard-hit by the exponential growth in COVID-19 cases, Cambodia’s poor have suffered disproportionately.  Throughout, Simon Ke and her colleagues never abandoned hope for their Mobile Library project.

Recently, Simon Ke reported:

“In 2021 we won Honorable Mention for our Mobile Library and Distance Learning program during COVID. Due to government restrictions, we were unable to run the activity for 2021. Finally in 2022, restrictions began to lift. Luckily, in July we received funding to design our own mobile library cart and restart this project.  While the cart is still being constructed, we have been able to rent a tuk-tuk and take our library materials to the community twice so far.  We run the mobile library on Sundays and connect with the commune chief, who helps us select the area and gather the children. Right now, our young adult students are helping conduct the activities. Children have time to explore books on their own, do a group reading activity, and end with a fun activity or game. 

We plan to go into the community every Sunday for the rest of the year, and hopefully next!   Thank you supporting our library, which has allowed this to be possible.”

In honor of Anjali House’s determination and perseverance in the face of a global pandemic, Simon Ke receives a 2022 Founders’ Award in the amount of $1,000.

 

Judith’s Reading Room

Judith’s Reading Room, a nonprofit literacy organization, was established in 2010 in the memory of Judith F. Krug, by her first cousins, Scott and Cathy Leiber. Judy served as Director, Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association where for over 40 years she was a critic of censorship and a proponent of the freedom of speech.

In 2022,  Judith’s Reading Room’s founders initiated the Founders’ Award in recognition of the indisputable civic significance of exceptional individuals who continue to foster a love of reading despite all odds.

Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging Freedom Through Literacy.  The organization has, to date, dedicated 103 curated libraries in 22 countries with nearly 132,000 books worth over $1.4 million.  It’s signature Freedom Through Literacy Award was established in 2015 and to date has honored 47 champions of literacy from 14 countries with cash prizes totaling $48,500.  “The Founders’ Award is one more way to honor the amazing work of literacy champions around the world to build community and collaboration,” said Scott Leiber, co-founder.

 

 

2022 Freedom Through Literacy Award Winners Announced

Jamaica, NY Educator and a Municipal Librarian in Romania Captured Top Awards

Grand Prize Award – $2,500

Fayola Fair – “Reading for Black Lives Project”
JAMAICA, QUEENS, NEW YORK

“Literacy is an essential aspect of social change and liberation.” So declares 24-year-old Fayola Fair, educator, community organizer, and our 2022 Freedom Through Literacy Grand Prize Winner.
 
Fair’s “Reading for Black Lives Project” aims to promote this belief by providing sustainable access to free books and literacy resources by Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) for their communities in and outside New York City. Her efforts include organizing pop-up book fairs to funding books by Black authors to hosting an annual Free Book Fair in Queens. An essential element running through them all is access, relevance, and inclusion for communities who historically have not seen their lives and stories represented in books.
 
The “Reading Through Black Lives Project” has already distributed over 1,000 books and supported over 26 Black-owned bookstores, even earning a 2021 NYC Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Community Service. We are honored to contribute to Fair’s tireless commitment to her community with the 2022 Freedom Through Literacy Grand Prize.
 
“I am honored to have the opportunity to continue providing free books and literary resources to my community. Receiving the Grand Prize for the 2022 Freedom through Literacy Award allows me to expand this work and continue to reimagine the impact of the Reading for Black Lives Project on BIPOC communities across NYC and beyond. Overall, working to support our learning to sustain our liberation.”         Fayola Fair

 “Judith’s Award” awarded to the champion of literacy teacher, librarian or author

Judith’s Award – $1,500

Dominique Zara – “Ready for Life”
RESITA, ROMANIA

If you meet librarian Dominique Zara, winner of our 2022 Judith’s Award, you will marvel at her humility and enthusiasm. Committed to supporting the more vulnerable members of her community, she is credited with building the only English learning program at her library in Romania. More than 270 children have benefited from the engaging, creative library activities she’s organized and even more children have borrowed books to enjoy at home. And yet, ask Zara about her work, and she’d admit, “I wasn’t convinced that my actions [were] worthy of such an award.”
 
We are thrilled to change her mind by recognizing Dominique Zara as winner of the 2022 Judith’s Award for her investment in the education and lives of socially vulnerable families and Roma children. Her library programs have brought out smiles and laughter of Resita’s young children and continues to lift the English and Roma skills of its community. We believe that is definitely  worth celebrating.
 
“The Librarian who wanted to become a police officer …. In the last year, I understood that my job is just as important as the job of a doctor, teacher, firefighter or policeman. I understood that we too, the librarians, can save souls, or even more correctly, we can fulfill dreams. Whether we are talking about a child’s dream, the farmer’s dream or any library user. But, being named the 2022 Judith’s Award winner … it totally overwhelms me. In my 21 years as a librarian, this is the first recognition of my efforts for literacy.” – Dominique Zara
 

 2022 Board Option prizes:

The next level of awards is completely at the discretion of Judith’s Reading Room Board Members.   Each year a total of $1,000 — to be divided depending on the number of high-scoring applicants — is set aside for Board Option Awards.. The winners of the 2022 Board Option Award are:

Board Option Award – $200

Dr. Lisette Caesar – “Book Vending Machine”
EAST HARLEM, NEW YORK

 
A Judith’s Reading Room Honorable Mention awardee in 2021, Lisette Caesar is recognized with a Board Option Award for her unrelenting optimism and passion to build a reading culture during her tenure as principal at Mosaic Prep Academy. Her newsworthy project, “Book Vending Machine,” capitalizes on a reward system to honor good citizenship with tokens that are used to “purchase” a new book, much like one would purchase a candy bar out of a vending machine. Her incredible and inspiring project has been shared with at least five other principals and we are sure to see its impact grow.
 
“Literacy breaks down the barriers that poverty builds. My goal is to create literate communities so that all children have a chance at success.”        Dr. Lisette Caesar

Board Option Award – $200

Lisa Tedeschi Vergara – “Literacy Through Art of the Book”
NEEDHAM, MASSACHUSETTS

 
Walk into a place that Lisa Tedeschi Vergara’s work has touched, and you’ll understand why we  have given her a Board Option Award. Her beautifully crafted decoupage book-themed chairs, commissioned for public spaces, give children the chance to “read” the story emblazoned on the chair while they crawl around and sit on it. Nearly 40 chairs have brought joy to communities across the state of Massachusetts, and we celebrate Vergara’s unique spin on promoting literacy.
 
“It is an honor to be named a 2022 Freedom Through Literacy Board Option Award winner. Through my literacy work I am able to provide learning lifelines and resources to children and families who need them the most. The grassroots nature of my work generates dependable and adaptable services for community advancement.” – Lisa Tedeschi Vergara

Board Option Award – $200

Jennifer Williams – “Second Chance Book Club”
DANVILLE, VIRGINIA

 
Back in 2019, Jennifer Williams founded the Second Chance Book Club with the goal of spreading the love of reading and getting books into the hands of people in need; in this case, incarcerated women at the Danville City Jail. Since starting the book club, 128 inmates have read and discussed 75 books as of August 2022. We recognize Williams’ selfless determination and outreach to provide these inmates insight into another world of hope and beauty with a 2022 Board Option Award.
 
“Giving books away has brought great joy. Watching a reader choose something appealing is a happy moment that very little compares to in my life.” – Jennifer Williams

Board Option Award – $200

Pamela Laskin – “Poetry at the Border”
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK


Pamela Laskin, a lecturer at City College, established “Poetry
at the Border” to encourage children whose families are seeking asylum to write poetry about their experiences. Poetry enables children to understand trauma following horrible events like hurricanes (Puerto Rico), children who are escaping atrocities (Honduras, Nicaragua and Myanmar), and children who are surviving life while housed in camps at the border. For her work to enable children to unload their grief and to empower voices through poetry, we honor Laskin with a 2022 Board Option Award.
 
“Your silence will not protect you.”; Audre Lorde. “Thank you, Cathy Leiber, on behalf of Judith’s Room, and also thank you to the board for awarding me the Board Option award for my work engaging children, at the border and the Ukraine, in the art and craft of writing poetry. This significant literacy work will help give poetic voice to children in refugee camps and children in the Ukraine (a war-torn country). Poetry Outreach is grateful to expand literacy and also hope-through poetry–to children facing these challenges.” Pamela Laskin

Board Option Award – $200

Lisa Gerard – “Little Read Wagon”
NORMAN, OKLAHOMA

 
No matter where you look in Norman, Oklahoma, you’re likely to find Lisa Gerard and her Little Read Wagon. Gerard has offered free books at community free events, establishes “libraries” in laundromats and hides books in 65 public parks. For her efforts, we name Lisa as a Board Option Award winner to celebrate her work towards building Norman into a reading community.
 
“This year, Little Read Wagon adopted the hashtag #communitythroughbooks. This is a perfect description of our work in three words. It is the connections we make with people when we share books and stories with them that fuel our work with literacy. Winning a Board Option Award from Judith’s Reading Room for the second year in a row increases our visibility in the community, gets more books to kids and inspires us by making us aware of other winning literacy projects around the world.” – Lisa Gerard
 

2022 Honorable Mentions

 
Finally, Honorable Mention Awards (no cash award) are given to those applicants who the judges want to acknowledge and think deserve encouragement.  The idea behind the Honorable Mention Awards is to propel the applicants to continue their literacy efforts and to apply for future Freedom Through Literacy Awards.
 

Toti Jean Marc Yale – “Reading First”
ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST

For Yale’s outreach to help eradicate illiteracy in his West African nation, we wish to give him global recognition and encouragement through an Honorable Mention.
 
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Lacking basic reading and writing skills is a tremendous disadvantage. Literacy not only enriches an individual’s life, but it creates opportunities for people to develop skills that will help them provide for themselves and their family. Thank you very much, Judith’s Reading Room, for the good job you are doing across the world that is transforming the life of many kids through their reading skill development.” – Toti Jean Marc Yale

Children’s Home of Easton – “Book Club for At-Risk Youth”
EASTON, PENNSYLVANIA

 
 
We honor Marlene Arnholt with an Honorable Mention for maintaining Children’s Home of Easton’s selection of over 4,000 books and a monthly Book Club that help make a “home” for traumatized youth.
 
“Providing a love match between readers and books has been my preoccupation and passion since my involvement with the residents at The Children’s Home of Easton began many years ago. Our basic premise is simple: make books of different genres, subjects and popularity easily accessible to every resident and make certain they know there are many more books than are actually displayed. Then, find a way to build on those interests through introductions to like-minded readers. At that point … the sky is truly the limit!”         
   – Marlene Arnholt

The 2022 Freedom Through Literacy Award winners will be acknowledged at an invitation-only ZOOM Award Celebration on Sunday, September 18th.

 

 

Judith’s Reading Room, a literacy nonprofit organization, was founded in 2010 in the memory of the founder’s first cousin, Judith F.  Krug, who served as Director of Intellectual Freedom for the American Library Association for 40 years. The organization’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy. We have fulfilled that mission by establishing 103 libraries (and counting!) in 22 countries with 131,000 books worth over $1.4 million.

The Freedom Through Literacy Award, now in its 8th year, has disbursed
$48,500 in cash awards to 47 champions of literacy. Winners hail from 14 countries: Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cyprus, Greece, Honduras, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines,   Romania, Rwanda, the U.S.A. and Zimbabwe. Winners from the U.S.A. come from 9 states: Arizona, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
 
We are so proud of the tireless efforts of everyone involved and joyously celebrate their victories. We are all inspired by the same mission: championing freedom through literacy.

The 2023 FREEDOM THROUGH LITERACY AWARD APPLICATION WILL BE AVAILABLE ONLINE IN NOVEMBER 2022.

2022 Freedom Through Literacy Award Winners Announced Press Release

NEWS RELEASE

CONTACT: Cathy Leiber
www.JudithsReadingRoom.org

2022 Freedom Through Literacy Awards Announced

Jamaica, NY Educator and a Municipal Librarian in Romania Captured Top Awards

July 22, 2022 — Judith’s Reading Room, a 501 (c) 3 literacy nonprofit organization, established in 2010 in the memory of Judith F. Krug, announces the winners of its annual Freedom Through Literacy Award.
“Applications this year were among the most competitive, global and creative since the Freedom Through Literacy Award was inaugurated in 2015,” stated Cathy Leiber, President, Judith’s Reading Room.  The predominant theme of this year’s applications was:  to increase book and literacy access to underserved and marginalized populations.
2022 Grand Prize Winner
Faola Fair (she/they), New York City high school teacher, Grand Prize Winner, 2022 Freedom Through Literacy Award.  Fair, a 23-year-old educator and community organizer from Jamaica, New York dominated the field of applicants with her multi-dimensional literacy initiative, “The Reading for Black Lives Project,” garnering the $2,500 top prize award.
  Fair is a graduate of Lafayette College and Columbia University’s Teachers College.   The aim of the “Reading for Black Lives Project” is to provide sustainable access to free books and literary resources by Black, Indigenous and people of color ((B)IPOC authors for (B)IPOC communities, specifically highlighting and centering the history and knowledge of Black people across the diaspora.  Fair’s efforts uplift the community through literacy and eliminate the barriers to access for books by marginalized authors in a way that is both novel and sustainable including book pop-ups that offer free books to the community, the Black Book Fund that supports Black-owned bookstores and the Queens Free Book Fair for All.  “Literacy is an essential aspect of social change and liberation,” said Fair.
2022 Judith’s Award Winner
Ms. Dominique Zara, municipal librarian, Resita, Romania wins the 2022 Freedom Through Literacy “Judith’s Award.”  Zara, a 20-year career Resita Municipal Librarian, wins the coveted Judith’s Award and a cash prize of $1,500.
The Judith’s Award is named in the memory of Judith F. Krug, a librarian and first cousin to the organization’s founders.  Zara’s project, “Ready for Life” offers free English classes for children 3-14 years old who do not attend school, children from socially vulnerable families and Roma children.  Zara is credited with building the only English learning program in Romania among less fortunate children.  In 2014, with the help of Judith’s Reading Room, she established five Judith’s Reading Room libraries serving 70,000 residents.  Three of those libraries survive to this day.   She says, “my goal is to demonstrate that a library is an indispensable asset in a city and that librarians can do great things for all citizens.”
The next level of awards is completely at the discretion of Judith’s Reading Room Board Members.   Each year a total of $1,000 — to be divided depending on the number of high-scoring applicants — is set aside for Board Option Awards.
2022 Board Option Award Winners
Dr. Lisette Caesar, past principal and founder of Mosaic Preparatory Academy, East Harlem, NY.  Caesar, a Judith’s Reading Room Honorable Mention awardee in 2021, is recognized for her unrelenting optimism and passion to build a reading culture at her Title 1  school that serves a large population living in temporary housing.  Her newsworthy project, “Book Vending Machine” capitalizes on a reward system to honor good citizenship with tokens that are used to “purchase” a new book, much like one would purchase a candy bar out of a vending machine.  Her brainchild, the “Book Vending Machine” project has been shared with at least five other principals. In recognition of Dr. Lisette’s devotion as founder and principal of Mosaic Preparatory Academy, where the youngest of scholars are prepared for college, Caesar wins a 2022 Board Option Award in the amount of $200.
Ms. Lisa Gerard, founder, Little Read Wagon, Norman, Oklahoma.  For the 2nd year in a row, Gerard is named a Board Option Award winner. As founder of “Little Read Wagon, Gerard is recognized for her work to close the literacy gap in her community by distributing free books through multiple, creative outreach programs in Oklahoma.  No place is off base for Gerard:  she offers free books at community free events, establishes “libraries” in laundromats and hides books in 65 public parks.  Gerard wins a 2022 Board Option Award in the amount of $200 for her commitment to meet the literacy needs of all who will benefit from book ownership and to increase the number of literate community citizens in Oklahoma.
Ms. Pamela Laskin, poet, author, lecturer, and director of New York City’s 50-year-old Poetry Outreach Center.   Laskin’s work with Poetry Outreach is distinctive:  MFA students are sent into under-served communities in NYC in order to write and publish poetry.  A new initiative, “Poetry at the Border,” will encourage children whose families are seeking asylum to write poetry about their experience.  In this manner, she helps children deal with trauma following horrible events like hurricanes (Puerto Rico), children who are escaping atrocities (Honduras, Nicaragua and Myanmar), and children who are surviving life while housed in camps at the border.   For her work to enable children to unload their grief and to empower marginalized voices through poetry, Laskin wins a 2022 Board Option Award in the amount of $200.
Ms. Lisa Tedeschi Vergara, nonprofit founder, Storytime Crafts, Needham, MA.  Vergara’s “Literacy Through Art of the Book” illustrates the power of literacy through art.  Her beautifully crafted decoupage book-themed chairs (that are commissioned for public spaces) spread the joy of reading in a unique way.  Vergara understands that art engages children in a similar way to reading:  both require concentration, focus, observation of details and thoughtful conclusions.  Her chairs draw the attention of children, who “read” a story emblazoned on the chair, while crawling around the chair and sitting in it. “The foundation of early literacy is instilling a love of reading so children gain the confidence to reach their full potential, achieve one’s dreams and become powerful thinkers,” states Vergara.  For her joyous and creative approach to getting children to see a book in a new way, Vergara wins a 2022 Board Option Award in the amount of $200.
Ms. Jennifer Williams, founder “Second Chance Book Club” at Danville City Jail, Danville, VA., former teacher and guardian of 40 Little Free Libraries.  In 2019, Williams founded the“Second Chance Book Club” for incarcerated women at the Danville City Jail.  Under Williams’ leadership, 124 inmates (and counting) have read and discussed 71 books, including favorites like The Life We Bury, Where the Crawdads Sing, and Monday’s Not Coming.   Her commitment to inmates continues after they are released with “Second Chance Freedom,” a book group that meets once a month for dinner.  Williams set an ambitious goal in 2017 to get one million books into the hands of people in need.  For her determination to encourage a love of reading and for her enduring commitment to female inmates and formerly incarcerated women, Williams wins a 2022 Board Option Award in the amount of $200.
Finally, Honorable Mention Awards (no cash award) are given to those applicants who the judges want to acknowledge and think deserve encouragement.  The idea behind the Honorable Mention Awards is to propel the applicants to continue their literacy efforts and to apply for future Freedom Through Literacy Awards.
2022 Honorable Mentions
Mr. Toti Jean Marc Yale, CEO and founder of nonprofit Education and English for You, “Reading First,” Abidjan, Ivory Coast.  Yale’s project, “Reading First” promotes free book giveaways and reading of quality literacy starting with toddlers from disadvantaged family backgrounds.  The organization promotes gender equality and English on a voluntary basis.  For Yale’s outreach to international organizations and programs to help eradicate illiteracy in his West African nation, Judith’s Reading Room, through the 2022 Honorable Mention designation, wishes to give Yale global recognition and encouragement.
Ms. Anita Jo Paukovits, Executive Director, Children’s Home of Easton (CHE), Easton, PA.  CHE, a “home away from home” has served neglected, traumatized, and abused youth throughout the state of PA since 1885.  In 2012, in collaboration with Judith’s Reading Room, CHE staff member Marlene Arnholt, established a monthly Book Group,“The Children’s Home of Easton Book Club for At-Risk Youth” that brings residents together to “get lost” in the world of reading and imagination.  Judith’s Reading Room honors Marlene and her colleagues at CHE for maintaining a selection of over 4,000 books that help make CHE a ‘home’ for these youth.  In their honor, Paukovits and Arnholt are designated a 2022 Honorable Mention.
The 2022 Freedom Through Literacy Award winners will be acknowledged at an invitation-only ZOOM Award Celebration on Sunday, September 18th.
Judith’s Reading Room’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging Freedom Through Literacy.  To date, the organization has fulfilled that mission by establishing 103 libraries (and counting!) in 22 countries with 131,000 books worth over $1.4 million.
The Freedom Through Literacy Award was initiated in 2015 as the organization’s signature event.  Including the 2022 winners, the organization will have disbursed $48,500 in cash awards to 47 champions of literacy.  Winners hail from 14 countries:  Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cyprus, Greece, Honduras, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, the U.S.A. and Zimbabwe.  Winners from the U.S.A. come from 9 states:  Arizona, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
To learn more about Judith’s Reading Room, visit the website at www.judithsreadingroom.org.  Applications for the 2023 Freedom Through Literacy Award will be posted January 2023.

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2022 Freedom Through Literacy Award!

Announcement of 2022 Champions of Literacy COMING SOON!

Judith’s Reading Room is eagerly awaiting the announcement of the 8th annual Freedom Through Literacy Awards. Deadline for submissions was July 1. Winners will be announced end-July and will be honored at an exclusive online event Sunday, September 18.

Judith’s Reading Room, a non-profit literacy organization, founded in 2010 in the memory of Judith F. Krug, a librarian — through this signature event — recognizes the achievements of teachers, librarians, poets, writers, booksellers, educators and literacy not-for-profit organizations. Applicants are judged on five criteria including how their philosophy about literacy guides their work.

The organization’s $5,000 Freedom Through Literacy Award was inaugurated in 2015 to pay tribute to those on the front line of literacy. The 2022 Awards include $2,500 for the Grand Prize Winner and $1,500 for the Judith’s Award Winner. And, at the discretion of the Board of Directors, up to four applicants may share a Board Option Prize, totaling $1,000.

To date, the organization has awarded $43,500 in Freedom Through Literacy Award prize money to 40 individual winners in 12 countries: Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cyprus, Greece, Honduras, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Rwanda, the U.S.A. and Zimbabwe. Winners hail from 7 different US states.

The organization’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy. That mission has been fulfilled by establishing 103 libraries in 22 countries with 131,470 books donated worth over $1.4 million.

2022 Freedom Through Literacy Award!

Announcement of 2022 Champions of Literacy COMING SOON!

Judith’s Reading Room is eagerly awaiting the announcement of the 8th annual Freedom Through Literacy Awards. Deadline for submissions was July 1. Winners will be announced end-July and will be honored at an exclusive online event Sunday, September 18.

Judith’s Reading Room, a non-profit literacy organization, founded in 2010 in the memory of Judith F. Krug, a librarian — through this signature event — recognizes the achievements of teachers, librarians, poets, writers, booksellers, educators and literacy not-for-profit organizations. Applicants are judged on five criteria including how their philosophy about literacy guides their work.

The organization’s $5,000 Freedom Through Literacy Award was inaugurated in 2015 to pay tribute to those on the front line of literacy. The 2022 Awards include $2,500 for the Grand Prize Winner and $1,500 for the Judith’s Award Winner. And, at the discretion of the Board of Directors, up to four applicants may share a Board Option Prize, totaling $1,000.

To date, the organization has awarded $43,500 in Freedom Through Literacy Award prize money to 40 individual winners in 12 countries: Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cyprus, Greece, Honduras, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Rwanda, the U.S.A. and Zimbabwe. Winners hail from 7 different US states.

The organization’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy. That mission has been fulfilled by establishing 103 libraries in 22 countries with 131,470 books donated worth over $1.4 million.

2022 Freedom Through Literacy Award Announced

NEWS RELEASE

CONTACT: Cathy Leiber
www.JudithsReadingRoom.org

2022 Freedom Through Literacy Award Announced
Organization Seeks Champions of Literacy

January 3, 2022 — Judith’s Reading Room is pleased to announce its 8th annual Freedom Through Literacy Awards. There is no cost to apply and it is open to champions of literacy from around the world. Apply now for the 2022 Freedom Through Literacy Award at www.judithsreadingroom.org/freedom-through-literacy-award. Deadline for submissions is July 1. Winners will be announced end-July and will be honored at an exclusive online event Sunday, September 18.

Judith’s Reading Room, a non-profit literacy organization, founded in 2010 in the memory of Judith F. Krug, a librarian — through this signature event — recognizes the achievements of teachers, librarians, poets, writers, booksellers, educators and literacy not-for-profit organizations. Applicants are judged on five criteria including how their philosophy about literacy guides their work.

The organization’s $5,000 Freedom Through Literacy Award was inaugurated in 2015 to pay tribute to those on the front line of literacy. The 2022 Awards include $2,500 for the Grand Prize Winner and $1,500 for the Judith’s Award Winner. And, at the discretion of the Board of Directors, up to four applicants may share a Board Option Prize, totaling $1,000.

To date, the organization has awarded $43,500 in Freedom Through Literacy Award prize money to 40 individual winners in 12 countries: Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cyprus, Greece, Honduras, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Rwanda, the U.S.A. and Zimbabwe. Winners hail from 7 different US states.

The organization’s mission is to enrich lives and societies by proactively encouraging freedom through literacy. That mission has been fulfilled by establishing 103 libraries in 22 countries with 131,470 books donated worth over $1.4 million.

** END **

Author Jerry Spinelli Chats with Judith’s Reading Room and Teens from Children’s Home of Easton

On May 5, 2013, members of the Judith’s Reading Room Board of Directors hosted teens from the Children’s Home of Easton on a trip to Malvern, Pa. to meet Newberry-winning author Jerry Spinelli. The group spoke to the author at the People’s Light and Theater before attending the play adaption of Spinelli’s novel Stargirl.

jspinelli2Spinelli, who won a Newberry Award in 1991 for Maniac Magee and a Newberry Honor in 1998 for Wringer, spoke with the group for an hour and half. Topics ranged from his first rejected novels to his zeal for pet rats. The teens from Children’s Home Of Easton, all of whom are members of the Judith’s Reading Room weekly book club, had just finished reading his novel Stargirl. The teens asked questions and had their books signed.

When asked why he writes for children and young adults, Spinelli pointed out that writes books about children but not specifically for children. “I let the kids rise up to the story,” Spinelli emphasized. He’s also an advocate for losing with grace. In our times, he explained, we feel a need for everyone to win all the time, to the point that when our children and young adults meet their inevitable first failure they feel lost.

jspinelli3

On the subject of writing, he spoke about how he had sent his first novel to forty publishers, all of whom had rejected it. All four of his first novels were rejected. His fifth book, Space Station Seventh Grade, was published in 1982. His overarching message: “Never give up.”

Judith’s Reading Room appreciates Jerry Spinelli for taking the time to meet and  speak with the teens at Children’s Home of Easton and members of the Judith’s Reading Room.  For more information on Jerry Spinelli, Star Girl and his other books including the ones below, please visit his website www.jerryspinelli.com.

Stargirl by Jerry SpinelliSpace Station Seventh Grade by Jerry SpinelliWringer by Jerry SpinelliManiac Magee by Jerry SpinelliHokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli

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