Edward Gets Messy Wins Anna Dewdney Read Together Award

Compiled by Gayleen Rabakukk
for Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Cynsations

Penguin Young Readers, the Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader announced yesterday Edward Gets Messy by Rita Meade, illustrated by Olga Stern (Simon & Schuster, 2016) is the winner of the first Anna Dewdney Read Together Award.

This award is to be given annually to a picture book that is both a superb read-aloud and also sparks compassion, empathy, and connection.

The award commemorates the life and work of author/illustrator Anna Dewdney and celebrates her commitment to reading with young children and putting books into as many little hands as possible.

Rita Meade,
photo by Michael Bialaszewski

Rita Meade is a public librarian who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Rita is a contributor to BookRiot and formerly hosted the Dear Book Nerd podcast, a bi-weekly bookish advice show.

Her writing has appeared in American Libraries Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Atlantic Wire, and more.

Rita also reviews children’s books for School Library Journal, occasionally writes about library-related things on her blog Screwy Decimal, and even less occasionally sings with a librarian band, Lost in the Stacks.

Olga Stern is a passionate illustrator and visual development artist. She loves using her imagination to create new worlds full of colorful environments and characters.

Olga Stern

When Olga is not drawing, she is off surfing somewhere around the globe. She currently lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

In Edward Gets Messy, a very particular little pig discovers the joys that come with getting messy in this sweet and fun debut picture book.

Edward the pig never pets friendly dogs on the street. He never, ever eats food that spills or splatters. And he never, ever, ever uses markers or glue sticks or paint. They are just too messy.

But what happens when a big tub of paint falls on Edward’s perfectly neat little head? Well, it might just turn out that getting messy has its upsides, too.

Copyrighted interior illustration by Olga Stern, used with permission.

Meade and Stern will share a prize of $1,000 from the Children’s Book Council, and Penguin will purchase and donate 250 copies of Edward Gets Messy to a school, library, or literacy organization chosen by the award winners. There will be a ceremony to honor Edward Gets Messy at the
Brooklyn Public Library‘s Bay Ridge Branch at 10:30 a.m. May 4.

Anna Dewdney was the New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of Llama Llama Red Pajama (Penguin, 2005). Other award-winning books in the Llama Llama series include Llama Lama and the Bully Goat (Penguin, 2013), Llama Lama Time to Share (Penguin, 2012), Llama Llama Misses Mama (Penguin, 2009), Llama Llama Holiday Drama (Penguin, 2010), and Llama Llama Mad at Mama (Penguin, 2007). She was also the author/illustrator of Nobunny’s Perfect (Penguin, 2010), Roly Poly Pangolin (Viking, 2010), and Grumpy Gloria (Viking, 2006).

Anna worked as a rural mail carrier and taught at a boys’ boarding school for many years before becoming a full-time author and illustrator. A committed advocate of literacy, she spoke regularly on this topic and published articles in the Wall Street Journal and other outlets. Her essay, How Books Can Teach Your Child to Care, garnered national attention in 2013.


Penguin Young Readers Group is one of the leading children’s book publishers in the United States. The company owns a wide range of imprints and trademarks including Dial Books, Dutton, Grosset & Dunlap, Kathy Dawson Books, Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Workshop, Philomel, Puffin, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Viking, Razorbill, Speak, and Frederick Warne.

Every Child a Reader is a 501(c)(3) literacy charity dedicated to inspiring a lifelong love of reading in children and teens across America.

Their national programs include Children’s Book Week, the longest-running literacy initiative in the country; the Children’s & Teen Choice Book Awards, the only book awards chosen by children and teens; and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature program in partnership with the Library of Congress.

Individual and corporate donations, grants, and the CBC support Every Child a Reader.

Every Child a Reader works in partnership with the Children’s Book Council, the nonprofit trade association for children’s book publishers in North America.

The CBC offers children’s publishers, from smaller independent presses to large international houses, the opportunity to work together on issues of importance to the industry at large, including educational programming, diversity in employment and books, literacy advocacy, and partnerships with other national organizations.

We Need Diverse Books & Children’s Book Council To Partner on Publishing Internship Program

From Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Cynsations

The Children’s Book Council (CBC), the non-profit trade association for children’s book publishers in North America, and grassroots nonprofit We Need Diverse Books™ (WNDB) today announced their partnership on educational programming and resources for interns selected for the WNDB Internship Program, launching this summer.

The program is designed to open up the children’s book publishing industry to talented job-seekers from diverse backgrounds, providing them with an invaluable opportunity to learn about the industry through professional guidance and hands-on experience.

As part of this effort towards creating a more diverse children’s book publishing industry, the CBC will offer WNDB Publishing Interns:

  • Exclusive educational opportunities, including a luncheon with the CBC Diversity Committee, comprised of children’s book editors and publicists at top publishing houses 
  • Inclusion in the CBC Early Career Committee’s summer event, connecting the interns with publishing staffers in their first five years in the industry
    Invitation to a CBC Forum, a CBC-member event which provides information and discussion on current publishing trends and issues 
  • Invitation to a CBC Diversity Panel, a CBC-member opportunity which brings together voices within and outside of children’s publishing to communicate the challenges they face in selling and promoting diverse books, and to work together to develop solutions. 
  • Tip sheets for getting jobs in the publishing industry and making the most of their internships
    CBC-member exclusive multimedia content, including videos and recordings of educational programming 
  • Access to the CBC Early Career Committee’s ECC Newsletter, featuring interviews with mid-level publishing staffers, industry job moves, & member-exclusive news, opportunities, and invitations 
  • Access to Diversity in the News, the CBC’s monthly newsletter rounding-up relevant news in children’s books and diversity 
Ellen Oh

“The Children’s Book Council has been a dedicated champion of diverse books and voices since the launch of the CBC Diversity Initiative in 2012” said CBC Executive Director Jon Colman. “We are excited to team up with WNDB to further the work of creating an inclusive and representative children’s book publishing industry.”

WNDB President Ellen Oh says of the collaboration: “We are thrilled to be partnering with the CBC on our pilot internship program. Not only do we need diverse books, but a diverse and dedicated workforce.”