Teachers as Readers, the Newbery Award and Sheila Turnage

Author Sheila Turnage photographed here by Rodney L. Beasley

The 2013 NC Reading conference featured Sheila Turnage as a presenter, and her book, Three Times Lucky, was one oftwo books chosen for Teachers as Readers. She spoke about her book and answered questions on Monday night at the NCRA conference. A Teachers as Readers session will be held on Monday at this year’s conference, scheduled for March 16-18, 2014. Renee Cameron and Rosemary Enos serve as co-chairpersons for Teachers as Readers. More on Teachers as Readers is available on the website: http://www.ncreading.org/leaders/about-leaders/ncra-committees/teachers-as-readers/ or  www.ncreading.org, click on Leaders and Committees and scroll down to #22-Teachers As Readers and click on Learn more about the Teachers as Readers Committee.

Sheila’s story gets better. Sheila’s work has been recognized for its excellence. Three Times Lucky received a Newbery Honor Book Award for 2013. Because of the award, she received front-page coverage in the Mini Page that was published in newspapers the week of August 18. Her connections to NC and NCRA run deeper.  Sheila was born in Jacksonville and lives now in Pitt County.

And, Sheila’s part of Mary Jo Floyd’s family. Mary Jo is NCRA’s Membership Director and serves as media specialist for Fuquay-Varina Middle School.  Inspired by her cousin and her love of books, Mary Jo attended the Caldecott/Newbery Award ceremony. On short notice, she and her daughter, Mary Catherine, bought tickets in July to join Sheila in Chicago for the celebration.

And, Mary Jo has no regrets. Sheila was the headliner for her family, but other outstanding writers spoke. Of KatherineApplegate, Newbery winner for The One and Only Ivan, Mary Jo says, “Katherine Applegate had a delightful speech…  a blog entry on the event from Horn Book summarized it well.  ‘The gracious Katherine Applegate came next, with a Newbery speech that started out with a little autobiography and a lot of funny, especially when she read aloud from a cheesy romance novel she wrote early in her career, which brought down the house (redux Jon Scieszka). Her speech got more serious toward the end, touching on the nature of humanity; the state of the world, especially as it affects children; and the importance of the work of those in the room, connecting children to books.’” The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has posted the Newbery Medal presentation and acceptance speech at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQM-geB-LnE and the Caldecott Medal presentation and acceptance speech by John Klassen for This Is Not My Hat at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dhe8OJMkftQ.


The ceremony came with a bonus. Katherine Paterson spoke after receiving the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award.  This award presentation and acceptance speech can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e08KR1VwBUo.

What’s next for Sheila Turnage? A sequel titled The Ghost of Tupelo Landing.

What’s next for NCRA’s Teachers as Readers? Attend the Monday session at the conference and discuss the books chosen for Teachers as Readers.