Books on JA WWII Experience Win Independent Publisher Awards

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NEW YORK — Winners of the 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards were honored at a gala in New York on May 23. Some 2,000 independent authors and publishers participated in the 15th annual ceremony.

• In the Multicultural Fiction–Children’s category, the gold medal went to “A Boy of Heart Mountain” by Barbara Bazaldua (Yabitoon Books). Illustrated by Willie Ito, the book is based on and inspired by the experiences of Shigeru Yabu, who was 10 years old when he and his family were incarcerated at a Wyoming concentration camp during World War II. Yabu and Ito also collaborated on a book for younger children, “Hello, Maggie!”

The silver went to “A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk” by Jan L. Coates (Red Deer Press) and the bronze to” Desta and King Solomon’s Coin of Magic and Fortune” by Getty Ambau (Falcon Press International).

• In the Short Story Fiction category, the silver medal went to “Georgic Stories” by Mariko Nagai (BkMk Press). This collection of short stories juxtaposes the beauty of rural life against its cruelty. Born in Tokyo and raised also in Europe and America, Nagai teaches creative writing and literature at Temple University’s Japan Campus in Tokyo.

The gold went to “In the Eyes, in the Mouth” by Adrienne Ross (Lost Coast Press) and the bronze to “Lessons in Another Language” by Megan Staffel (Four Way Books).

• In the Multicultural Nonfiction, Juvenile-Teen-Young Adult category, the bronze medal went to “Lucky Ears: The True Story of Ben Kuroki, World War II Hero” by Dr. Jean A. Lukesh (Field Mouse Productions). The book profiles one of the few Japanese Americans to fly air combat missions during World War II and the only one to see active duty over mainland Japan.

The gold went to “Lolli’s Apple” by Tomas Fleischmann (A.K.A. Publishing) and the silver to “The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Real Princesses” by Shirin Yim Bridges (Goosebottom Books).

A total of 346 medalists were named in 69 national categories, followed by regional categories and Outstanding Books of the Year. The winners came from 45 states and the District of Columbia, seven Canadian provinces, and seven other countries. There were 3,907 entries. Judges said they found excellence in every category and proclaimed the quality, creativity, and originality of independent publishing to be better than ever.

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