2009 National Green Earth Book Award Winners Announced

The Newton Marasco Foundation (NMF) has announced the winners of the leading national environmental book awards for literature that inspires young readers to appreciate and care for the environment.

The 2009 Green Earth Book Awards highlight the best in environmental reading for children and young adults.

NMF, a non-profit public environmental charity, partners with Salisbury University in Maryland to honor and promote environmental books that not only raise awareness of environmental issues, but also instill a sense of responsibility for nurturing, protecting and defending the natural environment.

The Green Earth Book Award is the nation’s first environmental stewardship book award for children and young adult literature.

There are six winners who will receive this year’s 2009 Green Earth Book Awards.

Co-Winners – Picture Book Category

Planting the Trees of Kenya by Claire A. Nivola (FSG): recounts the story of how Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the Green Belt Movement, encouraged and taught villagers in Kenya to replant the life-sustaining trees that were cleared over many years.

Varmints by Helen Ward, illustrated by Marc Craste (Candlewick): striking, surreal art and a haunting, evocative text tell a mysterious tale of a threatened natural world — and a hopeful new start. Varmints tells of a pastoral world in need of protection and of the souls who love it enough to ensure its regeneration.

Winner – Nonfiction Category

MySpace/Our Planet by the MySpace Community, Jeca Taudte, and Dan Santat (Bowen Press): a valuable eco-guide that outlines the steps that we can take every single day to save our environment from damage and destruction. Geared for ages 14 and up, the book reminds us that we each have the power to make a difference and includes tips from MySpace users around the globe on subjects ranging from the clothes we buy to the food we eat.

Winner – Children’s Fiction Category

Night of the Spadefoot Toads by Bill Harley (Peachtree): newcomer Ben and his eccentric fifth grade science teacher explore the varied habitat in Massachusetts and the endangered spadefoot toads that make their home there. This story tells of a courageous and impulsive act that Ben takes to protect the toads’ habitats from land developers.

Co-Winners – Young Adult Fiction Category

Blind Faith Hotel by Pamela Todd (Margaret K. McElderry): fourteen-year-old Zoe feels like her whole world is going to pieces when her family moves halfway across the country to a run down farmhouse in the Midwest. A petty thievery puts her into a program for juvenile delinquents, and places her under the guidance of an elderly man determined to save the prairies and the indigenous plants that grow there. Funny and poignant, sharp-eyed and real, this is a portrait of a girl looking for her own true self and a place she can call home.

Write Naked by Peter Gould (FSG): when Victor sneaks off with an old typewriter to test out the saying “You have to be naked to write.” He expects solitude; instead he meets Rose Anna, a free spirit with an antique fountain pen and a passion to save the planet. Their unexpected encounter marks the beginning of an inspired writing partnership – featuring a quirky love story and an ecological fantasy featuring a tiny heroic newt. Together, the teens explore the possibility of connections – to one another, the woods outside, and the world beyond.

“Each of these books are worthy of the Green Earth Book Award because they inspire our children – our next generation of environmental stewards – to care for the earth,” said Amy Marasco Newton, president and founder of the Newton Marasco Foundation. “Whether through lively storytelling, beautiful illustrations, or timely eco-tips, these award winning books teach our youth how they can make a difference in protecting our planet. Parents and teachers can turn to these books throughout the year to give important environmental lessons to children.”

Over 100 books were submitted across the four categories. Each award includes $2,000 to the winning author and illustrator, as well as the contribution of winning books to schools and youth organizations in the Greater Washington DC area.

Since 2005, the Newton Marasco Foundation has honored 15 books with the Green Earth Book Awards and recognized 29 Honor Books. The awards are part of the annual Children’s and Young Adult Literature Festival at Salisbury University, located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

See also the 2009 Honor Books.

The 2009 Green Earth Book Awards are supported by Salisbury University, Constellation Energy, Comcast, Delmarva Recycling, Affiliated Power Purchasers International, and Pepsi Bottling Ventures of Delmarva.

Awards will be presented to the winning authors on April 14 at the Ward Museum in Salisbury, Maryland.

Cynsational Notes

The Newton Marasco Foundation‘s mission is to inspire responsible environmental stewardship. NMF designs innovative programs that foster learning, appreciation and caring for our natural environment. The foundation promotes awareness and responsibility for the environment by individuals, schools, businesses and communities. The foundation educates companies on sustainable green business practices and promotes the conservation and restoration of unique community ecosystems and habitats. The foundation conducts award programs that recognize small deeds and great acts that promote environmental awareness and further sustainable, environmental solutions.