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Newtown Author A Finalist In 2023 Shoreline Arts Alliance Tassy Walden Awards



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Shoreline Arts Alliance has announced the finalists and award winners for the 23rd Annual Tassy Walden Awards for New Voices in Children’s Literature. This program is unique in Connecticut, rewarding unpublished Connecticut-based writers and illustrators for their hard work and dedication to their craft.

Newtown resident Sherry Peterson was a finalist in Picture Book Text for Baby Truck Takes a Bath.

This marks the second consecutive year for Peterson to be honored by SAA. In 2022 she received an honorable mention I the Picture Book Text category for her manuscript, Is There Something In My Teeth?

Peterson began writing Baby Truck, she shared with The Newtown Bee, after a visit to a park.

“I saw a little boy running toward the parking lot and heard his mother shout ‘red light!’ He immediately stopped. The moment really stuck with me,” Peterson said. “It occurred to me that kids and trucks have a lot in common. They both get dirty and need a bath. They run around until their tank gets low and need to ‘fuel up.’ And at night, they get tucked away to rest their engines.”

That realization led to the creation of Baby Truck, “a little truck whose day is filled with activities that are familiar to kids,” she continued. “A truck character who, like them, is learning how to behave at the park or while out to eat with their family.”

Additional 2023 Tassy Walden Awards included Karen Fox of Fairfield, first place winner Picture Book Text for Mishmash Garden.

Additional finalists in that category were Victoria Reed of Southington (Farm Pride) and Claudia Wolen of Trumbull (A Library for You).

A panel of professional judges also selected the following winners, honorees and finalists for 2023.

Illustrated Picture Book Writer-Illustrator: Honorable Mention — Ed Chicoine of Guilford, for Otto the Oyster.

Middle Grade Novel: Winner — Kelly Kandra Hughes of Norfolk, for Bird on a Wire; Honorable Mention — Stephanie Lim of Guilford (Etta Mouse Sings Again); and Finalists —John Hastings of Durham (The Adventures of Ronny Starlight and Lucy Blue), Bethany Jensen of Ledyard (Blue Earth) and Diana Sussman of Westport (The Neighbor’s Secret).

Young Adult Novel: Winner — Ginger Merante of Northford for Flying Horses; and Honorable Mention — Patricia M. Carey of East Lyme (The Swan Maiden).

Illustrator Portfolio: Winner — Hollie Michaels of Wilton; and Finalist — Marcus Fort of Branford.

Peterson was pleased, of course, to see her name among the list of winners this month.

“The Tassies are known for their rigorous judging process, led by industry professionals," she said. "I am honored that two of my manuscripts have received recognition through this competition.”

Newtown resident Sherry Peterson is a two-time honoree of the Tassy Walden Awards For New Voices In Children’s Literature competition.
Newtown resident Sherry Peterson is a two-time honoree of the Tassy Walden Awards For New Voices In Children’s Literature competition, an annual program overseen by Shoreline Arts Alliance.
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