"We are all creative, and each of us has important things to say in our own unique voices that are valuable to others." -Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
The annual Nonfiction Award is presented to "an author or illustrator whose total body of work has contributed significantly to the quality of nonfiction for children". Dorothy Hinshaw Patent is the 28th winner of the award. Past awards have been given to Steve Jenkins, George Ancona, Jim Murphy, Diane Stanley, Isaac Asimov, Jean Craighead George and Jean Fritz. The Award winner is selected by a committee of Children's Book Guild members. The Guild is a professional organization of authors, illustrations and children's literature specialists in Washington, D.C.
Patent is an author and teacher who has now published more than 100 books, including many chosen as Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children by the National Science Teachers Association. Her books about nature and science have been winning major awards for more than 25 years, beginning with a Golden Kite Honor Book award in 1977 for Evolution Goes on Every Day. Her newest titles include the Lewis and Clark Trail, Then and Now (Dutton, 2002), Animals on the Trail with Lewis and Clark (Clarion, 2002). Patent shares her love of nature, food, travel and gardening through her writing for adults and children. She lives in Missoula, Montana, where she teaches at the Athanor Arts Center in a nearby forest. The center was established by her friend Deborah Milton who also illustrated Patent's upcoming fall book, Garden of the Spirit Bear: Life in the Great Northern Rainforest. For many years, she traveled to Yellowstone National Park to teach a class on writing and art called "Creating with the Elements" in which she helped young students draw on earth, water, fire and air as inspiration for their writing.
Patent's books "can be read for pleasure; they answer children's questions about the natural world and satisfy their curiosity outside the classroom as well as inside," according to Mary Downing Hahn, who chaired this year's Nonfiction Award Committee for the Children's Book Guild. An author and former librarian herself, Hahn says Patent's books "have long filled a need in schools for quality nonfiction to assist children in researching and writing reports."
Patent will receive her award at the annual Children's Book Guild Luncheon on November 13, 2004, when she will be joined at the podium by author/illustrators Eileen and Jerry Spinelli and illustrator Mark Teague. More information available at www.childrensbookguild.org.