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.
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.