Celebrating Diverse Poets and Poetry

The Board of the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth and the Arnold Adoff Poetry Committee announced the inaugural recipients of the Arnold Adoff Poetry Awards at the annual conference on April 7. The awards are sponsored by Arnold Adoff.

The Arnold Adoff Poetry Awards seek to recognize excellence in multicultural poetry for youth, for readers at the primary level, middle level, and teens. The awards also hope to inspire a poet early in his or her career with the “New Voices” award. The purpose of the awards is to highlight the power of poetry, encourage publishers to publish works of poetry from a variety of perspectives, commend poets for various student populations, and encourage the reading of poetry.

Four awards were given at the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Conference.  

For her picture book, All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom (Simon & Schuster), Angela Johnson received the Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for Early Readers. Carole Boston Weatherford, for her book, Sugar Hill: Harlem’s Historic Neighborhood (Albert Whitman & Company), was named the Honor Award recipient.

Alexa Sandmann presents an Adoff Poetry Award to Melanie CrowderJacqueline Woodson received the Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for Middle Readers for Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen / Penguin). Nikki Grimes, for Poems in the Attic (Lee & Low Books), received the Honor Award.

The Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for Teens was given to Margarita Engle for Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings, A Memoir (Atheneum / Simon & Schuster). Marilyn Nelson was announced as the Honor Award recipient for How I Discovered Poetry (Dial / Penguin).

The Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for New Voices was given to Melanie Crowder for Audacity (Philomel / Penguin). The Honor Award went to Mariko Nagai for Dust of Eden (Albert Whitman & Company). 

Award winners each received a check for $500, a framed certificate, and an award, affectionately named the “Rudini” to honor Rudine Sims Bishop, professor emerita from The Ohio State University.  An author, historian, and foremost expert on African American youth literature, she has been a tireless activist for more than 50 years in the struggles for diversity and excellence. 

Honor Award recipients were given a framed certificate. All of the awards were presented during the Thursday evening program of the Virginia Hamilton Conference on April 7. 

Submissions for the 2017 awards will be accepted beginning May 1, 2016. For additional information about the awards and the Virginia Hamilton Conference, visit  http://www.kent.edu/virginiahamiltonconference.