On Thursday, September 28th the Bank Street Writers Lab (BSWL) received a prestigious award from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA.
Each year, the Carle gives out four awards to individuals “whose creative vision and dedication are an inspiration to everyone who values picture books and their role in arts education and literacy.”
The BSWL received the Carle Honors Mentor Award which recognizes editors, designers, educators, librarians, scholars and others who champion picture books and picture book art. The BSWL received the award “in recognition of its leadership and support of writers and artists throughout its long history.”
Members of the Bank Street Writers Lab were present at the gala event which took place at Gustavino’s in New York City. Also, present was the legendary author and founder of the museum, Eric Carle. The awards ceremony was moderated by Newbery award winning author, Jack Gantos. Other award recipients included illustrator Ed Young, Dr. John Cole and Anthea Bell.
The Bank Street Writers Lab was started by the founder of Bank Street College, Lucy Sprague Mitchell in 1937. Mitchell a progressive educator, advocated for children’s literature that focused on the world that children knew the “here and now” versus the once upon a time fairy tale fantasies favored then by librarians. To encourage the development of this new material she formed the Writers Lab. Early members of the Lab included Margaret Wise Brown, Maurice Sendak and Mordecai Gerstein.
Over the years, the members of the Lab continued to contribute to the canon of children’s literature through development of Little Golden Books as well as The Bank Street Readers.
Today, professional authors, many who are well known in the field of children’s literature, continue to meet for three hours a month to collaborate, share information and give constructive feedback on each other’s manuscripts. Some of the current members have been with the Lab for as much as 50 years.
Says long time member and author, Doreen Rappaport (Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King) about the Lab.
“The Lab is an oasis for writers, where we get to share works-in-progress with a community with various talents and skills, who value each other, provide insight and critical and emotional support during the difficult creative task of producing a book, and are never, ever competitive.”
Bank Street Writers Lab members are profoundly grateful to Bank Street College of Education for the resources to continue creating great works of literature for children for 80 years!
Some photos from the event:
Bank Street Writers Lab Members from left to right: Caron Levis, Elizabeth Upton, Robin Newman, Selene Castrovilla, Susanna Reich, Cynthia Weill, Julie Gribble. Present but not shown: Myriam Chapman, Barbara Hazen and Caron Lee Cohen
Award recipients and Eric Carle Museum Board Members with the wonderful Eric Carle
CCL Director and BSWL Chair, Cynthia Weill receives the Award for Bank Street
Newbery Award Winning Author, Jack Gantos moderated the evening
The legendary Eric Carle says a few words at the event
Photo Credit: Johnny Wolf Photography