2020 Freedom Through Literacy Award Winners

  • GRAND PRIZE – 2020 Freedom Through Literacy

    Grand Prize Award – $2,500

    Christopher McGilvery, “Teachers and Student Ambassadors Project”
    Canyon, Texas

    Supporting one another with the power of literacy. For Chris McGilvery, this is the story he wants to tell in his community. Through his work with The Leaders Readers Network, Chris engages teachers across the United States and Dominica to grow leadership and literacy skills for students. The project partners with teachers to facilitate “buddy” teams in which older students read aloud to younger students while also learning about the
    effects of illiteracy.

    To date, Chris and his team have trained 205 students, partnered with 215 teachers, and impacted over 55,000 students’ lives.

    It is with great enthusiasm that we honor Chris McGilvery as the Grand Prize winner of the 2020 Freedom Through Literacy Award for his innovative, child-centered approach to foster a love of reading – and leadership! – for children across the United States.

    “This award inspires me to continue to build and grow the important work we are doing to support education equity and literacy for all.”
                                                                                                       -Chris McGilvery


    Slide Show


  • JUDITH’S AWARD – 2020 Freedom Through Literacy

    Judith’s Award – $1,500

    Ty Allan Jackson, “Big Head Books”
    Bronx, New York

    Too often, children’s books represent non-white protagonists within a narrow range of topics.  Award-winning author Ty Allan Jackson writes highly engaging books that buck this tradition, offering children who don’t always see themselves in the stories they read the opportunity for a  different portrayal of their lives.

    His books, including Danny Dollar Millionaire Extraordinaire and The Supadupa Kid superhero series, have garnered the attention of several awards and features on local and national news. More importantly, they have reached countless young Black and other minoritzed children with a powerful message:
    your story is limitless.

    We recognize Ty as winner of the 2020 Judith’s Award for his commitment to expanding narratives with his books.

    “As an Indie author winning this award is a surreal experience. Awards usually go to the more established authors. The ones with the big followings and who dominate the bookshelves in bookstores and libraries across the county. Not the authors fighting to be noticed or begging bookstore to carry our works. So this award means that the little guy can make it. Get the accolade and gain the respect of the world of literature. But most importantly receive the love for those we write and draw for…our children. 

    Thank you for proving that our work matters!
                                                                                                      -Ty Allan Jackson”


    Slide Show


  • BOARD OPTION PRIZES – 2020 Freedom Through Literacy

    Board Option Prize – $500

    Charmaine Tsosie, “Chinle Planting Hope”
    Navajo Nation, Chinle, Arizona


    Through her organization, Chinle Planting Hope, Charmaine Tsosie works tirelessly for her Diné (Navajo) community to
    create educational opportunities for whole families. She and her team will establish a mobile library vibrant with adult and
    children’s’ books to inspire inter-generational reading habits among families who currently do not have access to a brickand-mortar library in Chinle. We warmly honor Charmaine with a Board Option Award to accelerate her work on the
    mobile library.
    “Winning the award is such an honor to my community and me. It feels like the Navajo Nation is seen and heard.”
                                                                                                               -Charmaine Tsosie

    Basarat Kazim, “Camel Library for Kech Balochistan”
    Lahore, Pakistan

    Bringing libraries to sparsely populated communities in Pakistan requires creativity. For Basarat Kazim, the solution wasn’t on four wheels, but four legs. Camels, outfitted with custom-made book pouches, will carry hundreds of books to the district of Kech Balochistan. This effort specifically focuses on young girls, who often don’t have opportunities to attend school in the district. We proudly award Basarat a Board Option Award to help establish the first-ever camel library.
    “Your support provides opportunities to thousands of girls to access treasures untold!! May they find the keys to the locked doors that hold them back.”




  • Donate Now

    We ask that you please make a donation to Judith’s Reading Room, in support of our ongoing recognition of what is being accomplished in the great world of literacy, as well as funding our shipment of children’s books, both domestically and internationally.