Three outstanding New Mexico women writers will be honored for their work in children’s literature on Saturday, April 9, at 12:15 p.m. at the Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces. The 2011 Zia Book Award recognizes Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw for “My Travelin’ Eye” in first place, Jennifer Cervantes for “Tortilla Sun” in second place, and Karen Taschek for “Hanging with Bats: Ecobats, Vampires, and Movie Stars” in third place.
The award is presented by New Mexico Press Women. The winning writers will read and sign books at an award luncheon during NMPW’s annual conference, “Come see the stars in Las Cruces,” newmexicopresswomen.org/conference.
In “My Travelin’ Eye,” Jenny Sue’s eyes are different from other people’s eyes. Her right eye looks in one direction, while her left eye sometimes wanders. Jenny Sue has a travelin’, lazy eye. Although it makes her different, it also helps her see the world in a special way. Kostecki-Shaw is a freelance illustrator. She studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and The Illustration Academy. This is her first picture book. She lives in Northern New Mexico with her husband, Patrick.
“Tortilla Sun” is the story of 12 year old Izzy from California who must spend the summer with her grandmother in New Mexico. Along with some new friends and a pinch of magic, she finds herself on an adventure to connect the hidden pieces of her past. Cervantes was named a 2010 New Voices pick by the American Booksellers Association. She teaches young adult literature at New Mexico State University. She lives with her husband and three daughters.
“Hanging with Bats” explores bat fact and bat fiction, highlighting bats’ value in ecology and pop culture. Taschek introduces the world’s tiniest mammal, the 20 ounce bumble bee bat, the flying fox with a six-foot wingspan and others of the more than 1,100 species of bats. She explains common expressions like “bats in your belfry” and bats’ roles in movies, cultural legends and literature. Taschek is a freelance author and editor for Random House and UNM Press.
The Zia Award was started in 1953 to honor an outstanding woman in New Mexico media. Each year the award rotates to one of three categories: nonfiction, fiction and children’s literature. The 2011 award was judged by Leslie Chamberlin, director, Tireman Library, University of New Mexico; Mandy Cumming, assistant librarian, Albuquerque High School; and Sari Krosinsky, chair, Zia Book Award, and editor, University Communication and Marketing, University of New Mexico.
The 2012 Zia Book Award will be given to the author of an outstanding nonfiction book published in 2009, 2010 or 2011. The contest is open to all subgenres of nonfiction. Details will will be posted on NMPW’s Web site in the fall.
NMPW is an affiliate of the National Federation of Press Women and exists to provide professional development, networking and First Amendment rights protection to professional journalists and communicators. For more information, visit newmexicopresswomen.org.