Honoring extraordinary literary works

  • Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Every year, people are recognized for what they do best. In the film industry, actors and actresses receive awards for their performances. In the literary world, writers are likewise acknowledged for their work. Some of the more prestigious awards in literature are the Nobel Prize (international) and the Pulitzer Prize (American). Alice Munro was the lucky winner of last year's Nobel Prize in Literature with her work in contemporary short stories such as “Runaway” and “Too Much Happiness,” and Donna Tartt received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction this year for her book “The Goldfinch.”

There are numerous awards given away each year. On the “Lists of Bests” (www.listsofbests.com/lists/home/books/awards), a total of 311 awards are mentioned, from the Man Booker Prize for Fiction (best novel of the year written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland) to the Ignatz Award (for comics and cartooning, including Outstanding Graphic Novel, United States) to the Gouden Griffel (Golden Slate Pen; Children's book of the year award, the Netherlands). No literary genre goes unnoticed.

The purpose of literary prizes is to support and stimulate reading, and the awards are an important tool to bring outstanding writers to the attention of readers. The South Carolina Association of School Librarians (SCASL) had the same notion. In 1976, the association started the South Carolina Book Award Program to encourage students to read good-quality contemporary literature and to honor the authors of the books annually chosen. This award program is comprised of four categories, all aimed at the younger generation: Picture Book Award, Children's Book Award, Junior Book Award and Young Adult Book Award. Every year, a committee prepares the nominee lists; the awards are then given to the winning authors the following year at the SCASL annual meeting.

At the moment, South Carolina Book Award titles are coming into our library. You will recognize them by the pink sticker on the spine of the book. Because I did not read all South Carolina Book Award Books, I asked children's librarian Amy Steinmueller to recommend books from the Picture Book and Children's Book award lists, and these are her suggestions. For the Picture Book Award category: A biography about an inquisitive boy who grows up to become one of America's greatest scientists, “On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein” by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky; and “That is Not a Good Idea!” by Mo Willems is a story about a fox, a goose and goslings done in Willems's trademark bold lines.

In the Children's Book Award category: “Almost Home” by Joan Bauer is the story about a young girl who, despite her setbacks in life, is able to maintain a positive attitude; and “White House Kids” by Joe Rhatigan is an insider's view of the White House through the eyes of 70 children and grandchildren of our Commanders in Chief.

The following books are my choices: “Losing it” by Erin Fry (Junior Book Award) and “Butter” by Erin Jade Lange (Young Adult Book Award) are two books that describe a similar problem – being young and obese – but the main characters opt for two completely different solutions to the problem. I really recommend reading both books. “October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard” by Lesléa Newman is a novel-in-verse that pays tribute to Matthew Shepard, who was a victim of hate crime. It is an emotionally laden story wherein the author describes the circumstances of his brutal death from the point of view of the “silent witnesses” to the murder, from the fence to the deer to Matthew himself. A very poignant story which I highly recommend reading. This last title can be found on the Young Adult Book Award list.

There is another reason to read the South Carolina Book Award books, a very important one.

Summer reading is again around the corner and most schools will include books from the South Carolina Book Award lists. Visit the library and get a head start on the project.


Mount Pleasant Reel Club (adults)

Wednesday, May 7 at 2 p.m.

No book for May. Participants will discuss the life of P.L. Travers and the making of “Mary Poppins.”

Movie: “Saving Mr. Banks.” Rated PG-13; 125 minutes.

Fours and Fives Storytime: Safety (ages 4-5)

Thursday, May 8 at 11:30 a.m.

Enjoy stories and activities about safety during a special visit from the Mt. Pleasant Police Department.

Second Saturday Writing Critique Group (ages 16 and older)

Saturday, May 10 from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Open to all writers. For more information, call the Reference Desk at 843-849-6161 or email mtpreference@ccpl.org.

Monday Book Discussion (adults)

Monday, May 12 from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

“The Dinner” by Herman Koch.

Afterschool Movie for Teens (grades 6-12)

Monday, May 12 at 4 p.m.

“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.” Rated PG-13; 130 minutes.

Great Decisions: China's Foreign Policy (adults)

Wednesday, May 14 from 4-6 p.m.

Citadel Professor Dr. Keith Knapp will lead the discussion. For more information, contact the Reference Desk at 849-6161 or mtpreference@ccpl.org.

STAR Therapy Dogs

Saturday, May 17 from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Practice reading with canine friends, the best listeners in the world.

Fantastic Reads Book Discussion (adults)

Monday, May 19 from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

“Tyrannosaur Canyon” by Douglas Preston.


Babygarten (ages 0-18 months with a caregiver)

Wednesday, May 7 at 10 a.m.

Fridays, May 9 and 16 at 10 a.m.

Baby Bumblebees Storytime (ages 6-24 months with a caregiver)

Thursdays, May 8 and 15 at 10 a.m.

Twos and Threes Storytime (ages 2–3 years with a caregiver)

Tuesday, May 13 at 10:30 a.m.

Fours and Fives Storytime (ages 4-5 years)

Thursdays, May 8 and 15 at 11:30 a.m.

Saturday Storytime (planned for ages 2-6 years; all ages welcome)

Saturday, May 10 at 11 a.m.

Saturday, May 17 at 1 p.m.

Mirjam Veldkamp is the Young Adult Specialist at the Mount Pleasant Regional Library Branch (1133 Mathis Ferry Road, 843-849-6161, www.mtplibrary.blogspot.com, www.ccpl.org, like us on Facebook). Email mtpreference@ccpl.org if you wish to receive a PDF copy of the programs being held each month at Mount Pleasant Regional.

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