This June I was in Santa Fe with my dear friend Anna and took a moment to check my phone. I opened an email that began like this…
Hi Caroline,Congratulations! BLUE BIRDS has won the Virginia Library Association’s 2016 Jefferson Cup for Young Readers! This award honors a distinguished biography, historical fiction, or American history book for young people.
Anna took one look at me and asked if something was wrong. I must have had a strange expression on my face because I know for a fact I didn’t comprehend what I was reading. What was the Jefferson Cup Award? I figured Blue Birds had made some sort of special list, but certainly hadn’t won an award. When and how and where and why would that happen?
The Jefferson Cup honors a distinguished biography, historical fiction or American history book for young people. Presented since 1983, the Jefferson Cup Committee’s goal is to promote reading about America’s past; to encourage the quality writing of United States history, biography and historical fiction for young people and to recognize authors in these disciplines.
The committee has nine members: a chairperson (selected by the previous year’s committee), one person from each Virginia Library Association region (total of six persons) selected by the current chair, the chair of the previous year’s Jefferson Cup Committee, and the chairperson or outgoing chairperson of the Youth Services Forum. All committee members are members of VLA.
The story of The Lost Colony is well known to most of the Jefferson Cup Committee members, since that event was a precursor to the settling of Jamestown, Virginia. Roanoke Island is quite familiar to me, as the Outer Banks of North Carolina are approximately an hour away from my home. Committee members found the beautifully written fictional story of Kimi and Alis, meeting during those tumultuous months on Roanoke Island, to be plausible and in agreement with theories of what became of the residents of the Lost Colony.Ms. Rose’s beautifully descriptive writing, the research, historical notes, and the glossary of Algonquin words impressed us all. As the Jefferson Cup for Young Readers winner, Blue Birds will be among books highlighted at the upcoming Virginia Library Association’s Annual Conference. Blue Birds will be prominently featured on the Jefferson Cup Award website and in the annual Jefferson Cup Award brochure that is widely disseminated to librarians at the state and national levels.