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21st Century Storytelling: W.A.R. Persons of the Year (Congratulations!)

Without further ado…

The 2010 W.A.R. Persons of the Year Award:

The posthumous award goes to the late Virginia Hamilton who said, “I hope teachers realize their power and the importance of kindness and fairness as well as firmness. How one mixes the magic potion of the creative process, heritage, ethnicity, place and time, and language, makes the magic of words and writing.”

Arianna (aka Miss Attitude) says, “I do what I do because I want all teens of color out there to see themselves in books. I want them to know that they aren’t alone in searching for books about people who look like them, I too am searching. I want to spotlight new up and coming authors of color writing for us teens. I want to create a change, to show the publishing companies that we want to see more YA books about people of color with colorful faces on the cover!”


Zetta Elliott says, “And in our visual culture, we tend not to look beyond the surface of things; we’re bombarded with so many images that we tend to think that what we SEE is complete. But literature, for me, is about interiors—the spaces inside that can’t be captured on film. Literature gives us access to the inside lives of people we might otherwise dismiss or assume that we know; books counter the use of stereotypes as a kind of shortcut to truly knowing someone who’s different than us. Literature nurtures our capacity to dream, and I think many of the problems facing our society today are caused by a simple failure of imagination.”

Congratulations to the winners (send me your e-mail address for your certificate, please)! And thank you to those who sent me e-mails, Facebook messages, tweets, and blog comments.  Your input is most appreciated!

Closing thoughts…

Certainly there are more W.A.R. (writers against racism) out in the world, pushing the important messages: diversifying school’s outdated reading lists, including more authors of color and getting them more recognition in the literary world, and including young people into the conversation. etc.  But what I’ve learned about W.A.R., is that we our writers are all working together and we’re also open to hearing everyone’s story, since our stories matter, too!

In 2011, we will continue to focus on the 21st century stories…stories that are relevant to all of us.

Happy New Year!


  1. What wonderful selections! Heartfelt congratulations to the winners.

  2. Wow! Thanks, Amy–I’m proud and honored to be in such esteemed company. And thank YOU for all you’ve done to promote the cause…here’s to continued progress in the New Year!

  3. Huzzah! Congratulations to Ari and Zetta, and I include you in that winner category, Amy! Thanks so much for all that you do.

  4. *speechless* Aw thank you so much! I didn’t think I’d ever be mentioned in the same breath as Virginia Hamitlon and Zetta Elliott 😀 Amy you are definitely the ultimate W.A.R. person of the year though, thank you for organizing this

  5. Congratulations!!! I need your addresses to send you your certificates 😉

  6. Congratulations, Ari and Zetta!


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