Author/Illustrator Guest Posts

Truth and Love: Don Tate on the Bluebonnet Master List

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The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch
The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch

Thank you, Texas Library Association and the Bluebonnet Award committee, for including The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch on your prestigious list. It’s especially a thrill to share this honor with my critique partner, friend, and collaborator Chris Barton.

As an author and illustrator of youth literature, I visit a lot of elementary schools. I’m always impressed with the librarians I meet throughout Texas who genuinely love and care for each student who enters their libraries. The Bluebonnet books, and the time and attention devoted to selecting them, are a testament to that love and care. When I ask children about the Bluebonnet books, their eyes light up, and they are ready to discuss their latest adventure experienced through a book.

This honor comes at an important time when, in Texas, one particular textbook company refers to African slaves as “workers” and “immigrants,” and politicians are trying to downplay slavery as a “side issue of the Civil War.” Chris Barton and I conducted extensive and thorough research in telling Lynch’s story; I take pride in knowing that we did not shy away from telling a true story. Thanks to the Bluebonnet committee, The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch will now reach a broader audience, students all over Texas and beyond who deserve and are capable of handling the truth.

Don Tate
Don Tate

As a child, I wasn’t an avid reader. I wish I had had a Bluebonnet program in my school. The Texas Bluebonnet Award engages young readers and gives them a voice. It’s an empowering program that will spark interesting and important dialogue. I’m so grateful to the Bluebonnet Committee for inspiring a love of reading for the next generation.

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You can read author Chris Barton’s reflections on the Bluebonnet Master List selection here, and you can also read Five (or Twenty) Questions with Don Tate here on Eerdlings.

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