The Lacapa Spirit Prize

Announcing a new literary prize for children’s books to honor the memory and legacy of Michael Lacapa:

“His philosophy was always write about what you know, be true to your culture or region, and never let go of your imagination.”
Kathleen Lacapa on her husband’s artistic vision

The Lacapa Spirit Prize will be given annually to the best illustrated children’s book that focuses on the spirit of the peoples, culture and natural landscape of the Southwest. Books published in the two years prior to the award are eligible for consideration.

Michael Lacapa (Hopi/Tewa/Apache) was the artist or writer of inspiring and beautiful books for children. He was the author and/or illustrator of such books as: The Magic Hummingbird: A Hopi Folktale, collected and translated by Ekkehart Malotki, narrated by Michael Lomatuway’Ma, illustrated by Michael Lacapa (Kiva, 1995); Antelope Woman: An Apache Folktale retold and illustrated by Michael Lacapa (Kiva, 1995); and most recently, The Good Rainbow Road/Rawa ‘Kashtyaa’tsi Hiyaani by Simon J. Ortiz (Acoma Pueblo), illustrated by Michael Lacapa (The University of Arizona Press, 2004)(recommendation).

Michael was raised in Whiteriver, Arizona, graduated from Arizona State University and attended Northern Arizona University for graduate courses in fine arts. He and his wife, Kathy, raised their children, Rochelle, Daniel and Anthony, in Taylor, Arizona. After a serious automobile accident in Fall 2004, Michael died in March 2005. Everyone who reflects on his life mentions his talent for storytelling, his artistic vision and eye for detail, as well as his passion and unbounded spirit for life.

This award was created through collaborative effort of the Northern Arizona Book Festival and Northland Publishing and its children’s book imprints, Rising Moon and Luna Rising, to honor Michael Lacapa’s commitment to art and storytelling about the land and cultures of the Southwest. It is our hope that such an award will inspire others – as Michael inspired so many – to tell their tales.

The award will consist of $500 and a featured appearance at the 10th Annual Northern Arizona Book Festival, April 14 to 16, 2007.

Deadline: October 31, 2006 for receipt of entries eligible for the 2007 Lacapa Spirit Prize.

For further information about eligibility and application requirements:

Lacapa Spirit Prize
Attn. Jeff Berglund
PO Box 6032/Building 18, Rm 139
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-6032

Phone: 928.380.8682
Fax: 928.523.7074

Cynsational Notes

My favorite of Michael’s books was: Less Than Half, More Than Whole by Michael and Kathleen Lacapa (Northland, 1994). Learn about Native American children’s and YA literature.

As this is a brand new award, I ask that members of the children’s literature community please help raise awareness of it via their own blogs, websites, listservs, etc. If you know someone whose book would be a good fit, please do pass this on. Thank you.