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2022 Tassy Walden Awards For New Voices In Children’s Literature Announced



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Shoreline Arts Alliance (SAA) recently announced the finalists and award winners for the 22nd Annual Tassy Walden Awards for New Voices in Children’s Literature, and a Newtown resident was among this year’s honorees.

The program is unique in Connecticut, rewarding unpublished Connecticut-based writers and illustrators for their hard work and dedication to their craft. SAA’s professional judges selected the following winners, honorees, and finalists for 2022.

Picture Book Text

Winner: Elizabeth Donnelly of Bridgeport, for Stacking Stones;

Honorable Mention: Sherry Peterson of Newtown, for Is There Something In My Teeth?

Finalists: Katherine Donohue of Plantsville, Monsters Say What; Kristine Giliberto, Glastonbury, The Horse Listener; Claudia LeBel, Mansfield, Night Blooms; and Rachel Shupin, Stamford, There Are No Bad Guys In This Book.

Illustrated Picture Book Writer-Illustrator

Finalist: Jillian Aurigemma, Deep River, for Rylee Finds A Family.

Middle Grade Novel

Winner: Michele Manning of Mystic, for Nooks and Crannies;

Honorable Mention: Ginger Merante of North Branford, for Lore;

Finalists: Jeanne Davies, Chester, Cast Away; Deb DiTomaso, Hebron, Gram Ridder; Jane Pronsky-Brothers, Niantic, Brooke Skyler & The Quest For Mysterium; and Lisa Yelon, New Haven, Cook Me A Winner.

Young Adult Novel

Winner: Paige Classey Przybylski of Madison, for Inheritance;

Honorable Mention: Debbie McGinley of Westport, for The Surge;

Finalist: Kelly Kandra Hughes, Norfolk, The Happiest Dog On The Internet.

Illustrator Portfolio

Winner: Anne Marie Drury of Columbia;

Finalist: Marcus Fort of Branford.

Peterson shared information about her 200-word picture book manuscript. The Newtown resident said it was inspired in part by her husband and his career.

“My husband is a dentist — Dr Brian Jaroniewski, joining Rolling Hills Dentistry in Danbury — and I’m always asking him if there’s something in my teeth,” Peterson said via e-mail May 24. “One day it occurred to me that this question would be really funny in a children’s picture book, specifically if animals were asking the question instead of people.”

According to the synopsis for the manuscript, while on “a family camping trip gone awry, a boy meets a slew of forest friends who stop to ask a relatable question: ‘Is there something in my teeth?’”

Children will learn and laugh while being “gently introduced to food chain concepts, making this an ideal resource for the classroom and school libraries,” the synopsis continues. Peterson believes the idea has a lot of potential if paired with the right illustrator.

At the end of the story, she said this week, she plans to include food chain facts, “making it a resource that could also be used in the classroom.”

Shoreline Arts Alliance is a non-profit 501(c)(3) based in Madison. SAA is the state appointed arts council for a 24-town region, including all of Middlesex County, East Haven, Guilford, Madison, Branford, North Branford, Lyme, Old Lyme, Salem, and East Lyme.

The alliance’s mission is to transform lives through the arts, which is done by educating students, encouraging artists, engaging the community, and enriching the cultural landscape of the shoreline and beyond.

Shoreline Arts Alliance offers free programs and services across the State of Connecticut. To learn more about these programs visit shorelinearts.org or contact the office at office@shorelinearts.org or 203-453-3890.

Shoreline Arts Alliance in May announced the finalists and award winners for the 22nd Annual Tassy Walden Awards for New Voices in Children’s Literature, and Newtown resident Sherry Peterson was among this year’s honorees. —photo courtesy Sherry Peterson
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