WKU Libraries Honors Winner of 6th Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award


On November 16, 2012, WKU Libraries honored this year’s winners of “Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award” George Ella Lyon and Lynne Avril, author and illustrator respectively of the book The Pirate of Kindergarten, with a reception at the Kentucky Building. One of the highlights of the reception was a speech in honor of Thurman given by Linda, a student of hers from Tennessee. The reception concluded with a book-signing ceremony.

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george_lynneWestern Kentucky University Libraries has selected The Pirate of Kindergarten, written by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by Lynne Avril, as the winner of the sixth Evelyn Thurman Young Readers Book Award. The national award was created to honor the memory of former WKU librarian Evelyn Thurman, who made significant contributions to children’s librarianship and literacy during her 25 years of service to the university and community. Books eligible for the award must be written or illustrated by a Kentucky author or illustrator or have a significant Kentucky-related connection.

School Library Journal review says, “Ginny suffers from undiagnosed double vision, and seeing two of everything is causing her difficulties in school. On vision screening day, a nurse discovers the problem, and the prescribed eye patch gives Ginny a new identity—the pirate of kindergarten. Lyon’s short, descriptive sentences set up the situation deftly, and Avril’s astute chalk, pencil, and acrylic drawings of “two of everything” provide a vivid window into Ginny’s pre-treatment world. It is not until the end of the story that Ginny declares herself a pirate, but as a metaphor for confidence and competence, her patch effectively declares her to be captain of her own ship.”

George Ella Lyon grew up in the mountains of Kentucky. She loved words, tree climbing, bike riding, singing, her family, stories, dinner, and school. A poet first, Lyon started writing poems in third grade. She loves words and their transformative powers. She studied music and English at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, where she discovered her true desire for writing. Her career has shifted audiences over the years from college to elementary age students, but her focus remains the same: writing and teaching.

Lynne Avril grew up in Montana with an artist dad and followed his path. After years as a freelance artist, Avril fell into children’s book illustration with close to 80 books in her library. She has been selected for awards by the American Library Association, the Junior Library Guild, the Society of School Librarians International, the Children’s Book Council, and the Oppenheimer Toy Portfolio.

Both the author and illustrator will be honored at an awards luncheon at the Kentucky Museum in November where they will receive monetary awards from Ms. Thurman’s endowment and commemorative plaques. While in the area, Lyon and Avril will visit local schools as part of the Southern Kentucky Book Fest’s “Fall into Books” program. To learn more about the author and illustrator, go to georgeellalyon.com and lynneavril.com. For more information about the Evelyn Thurman award, visit http://www.wku.edu/library/awards/evelynthurman.php.

This program is made possible by the Evelyn Thurman Children’s Author Fund, the Southern Kentucky Book Fest partnership, and WKU Libraries.

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