Skip to main content

'Ninth Ward' adds two more honors to the list

May 02, 2011

“Ninth Ward,” ASU faculty member Jewell Parker Rhodes’ book for young adults about Hurricane Katrina, has won two more awards.

The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award committee has announced that “Ninth Ward” has been selected as an Honor Award for Older Readers. The award will be presented Oct. 14 during an event in the U.N. Plaza in New York City.

And, “Ninth Ward” has been chosen as the first book club pick for “Time Our Chicago Kids!”

The Jane Addams Children's Book Awards are given annually by the Jane Addams Peace Association to the children's books published the preceding year that “effectively promote the cause of peace, social justice, world community, and the equality of the sexes and all races as well as meeting conventional standards for excellence.”

Jane Addams was a pioneer settlement worker, founder of Hull House in Chicago, a leader in woman suffrage and world peace, and she was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Marianne I. Baker, an associate professor of early, elementary, and reading education at James Madison University and chair of the Jane Addams Children's Book Award, said, “Jewell's book was not only superbly written, it was woven with layers of class and race and culture and family, all the while remaining hopeful and true to Mama Ya-Ya, TaShon, and, of course, Lanesha.

“Jewell tells their story, which certainly mirrors our own society, particularly in light of the setting; the Ninth Ward during- and post-hurricane Katrina. Jewell mentioned to me that the element of ghosts turned off some publishers, but that richness could not be taken from the story to still be true to the characters,” Baker added.

“Children's and young adult literature certainly reflects life as we know it and the top quality books push us (all readers) a bit further into not only interpreting the world, but into a sense of advocacy, even agency. The world is better for books such as Ninth Ward. It's really a privilege to pay homage to this work of art!”

“Time Out Chicago Kids!” is a new club that pairs a middle grade or young adult book with an adult book with a similar theme. Kids and adults then read the books and discuss them.

“Ninth Ward” also was Al Roker’s 2010 Today Show Book Club selection, and Rhodes appeared on the show with Roker on September 17, 2010.

The book also is one of the 30 books for grades K-12 recommended by the International Reading Association as 2011’s “Notable Books for a Global Society.”

It also is on the 2011-2012 master list for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award (30 books recommended, State of Vermont children vote their favorite next spring), and won the 2011 American Library Association Coretta Scott King Honor Book Award.

In 2010, “Ninth Ward” also was a finalist for Best Fiction for Middle Grade Readers,, selected by Indie booksellers for the Autumn Kids’ Next List, winner of the 2010 Parents Choice Foundation Gold Award, and named Best Fiction of 2010 by the School Library Journal.

Rhodes’ book “Season” was a finalist in the “Mystery” category in the 2005 African American Literary Awards, and an excerpt from “Moon “ was included in “Best African American Fiction 2010,” edited by Nikki Giovanni.

Rhodes holds the Piper Endowed Chair and is artistic director for global engagement in the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.