The Shepherd’s Granddaughter

Monday 10 February 2014

Anne Carter

Award Letter

February 2, 2009
Dear Staff of Groundwood Books,
On behalf of the International Reading Association’s Notable Books for a Global Society, it is my distinct pleasure to inform you that our committee has selected one of the extraordinary titles from your publishing house to appear on our 2009 Notable Books for a Global Society list: The Shepherd’s Granddaughter. The list of award-winning books will be presented in May at the International Reading Association’s Annual Convention, and the books will be highlighted in a literary journal called Dragon Lode this spring. The nine members of the committee found this title to be particularly noteworthy and deserving of our commendation. Several committee members praised The Shepherd’s Granddaughter for its lovely language and writing style as well as the entire idea that cultural identity runs much deeper than language and food. The book and its complexly drawn characters appealed to our committee members, many of whom found themselves understanding the complex issues in the Middle East more than they had previously. We were impressed by the power of friendships that cross borders and the borders that keep people separated as described in this wonderful book. Committee members found the book compelling and troubling, and several spoke favorably about the author’s skill in forcing readers to notice the world anew and through different lenses. The protagonist is complex, and our committee was quite impressed with how the world around her forces her to change in ways that she isn’t always willing to do. We are delighted that your publishing house chooses to publish books that celebrate the diversity of the world in such exceptional ways, and this is a memorable title worthy of our notice.
As you know, our annual list consists of books that honor and celebrate diversity as well as common bonds in humanity; provide in-depth treatment of cultural issues; include characters within a cultural group or between two or more cultural groups who interact substantively and authentically; and include members of a “minority” group for a purpose other than filling a “quota.” The books on our list invite reflection, critical analysis, and response; demonstrate unique language or style; meet generally-accepted criteria of quality for the genre in which they are written; and have an appealing format and be of enduring quality. We are proud of the 25 titles that have been selected by our nine committee members from among the 400 titles that were submitted to us during 2008.
I was particularly impressed by The Shepherd’s Granddaughter from the first time I read it, and my regard for the book throughout the year never ebbed. From the moment I opened the book’s pages, I found myself thinking about the meaning and importance of culture, family, and land. For me, a great book is one that leaves the reader thinking about things in different ways and one that forces readers to ponder difficult questions. The Shepherd’s Granddaughter certainly does that. Our committee appreciates all that your publishing house does to promote great children’s and young adult trade books. Thank you so much for submitting this title to our committee. We appreciate your support and the worthwhile work you do. Again, congratulations on this award! This title is truly deserving of this distinction and deserves much attention from the next generation of readers.
Barbara A. Ward
NBGS Chair

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