2013 South Asia Book Award recognizes best in children’s, young adult literature

Illustrator Kanyika Kini and author Lynne Kelly will be honored for and talk about their work, at the 2013 South Asia Book Award Ceremony, which recognizes the year’s best among children’s and young adult literature that portray South Asia or South Asians living abroad.

Sponsored by the South Asia National Outreach Consortium (SANOC), the ceremony will be held Saturday, October 19, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Assembly Room, at the Madison Concourse and Governor’s Club Hotel, 1 W. Dayton Street, Madison. The public is invited to attend this free event.

The South Asia Book Award (SABA) – coordinated by Rachel Weiss, of the Center for South Asia at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, on behalf of SANOC – each year honors up to two outstanding works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry or folklore, from early childhood to secondary reading levels, that accurately and skillfully portray South Asia or South Asians living in South Asia or in other parts of the world.

The countries and islands that make up South Asia are: Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the region of Tibet.

This year, SABA is honoring:

  • The Rumor, by Anushka Ravishankar, illustrated by Kanyika Kini (Tundra Books, 2012).  In the village of Baddbaddpur, the people tell the tale of Pandurang, who is so dour that he can make milk turn sour. One day he coughs up a feather. As it is passed from one person to another, the story of Pandurang’s feather grows and grows and grows until it can hardly be recognized. (Grades PreK-4).
  • Kids of Kabul: Living Bravely Through a Never-Ending War, by Deborah Ellis (Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press, 2012). Ellis interviewed children in Kabul, Afghanistan, about their lives since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Despite living in a country still torn apart by war, violence and oppression, the children are weathering their lives with courage and optimism. (Grades 5 – 12)

In addition, the award committee also recognizes up to five Honor Books and Highly Commended Books for their contribution to the body of literature on the region.

Kanyika Kini, illustrator of The Rumor, and Lynne Kelly, author of Chained (Farrar Straus Giroux, Margaret Ferguson Books, 2012) will be the featured speakers at the awards ceremony.  Chained – named among the 2013 SABA Honor Books – tells the story of 10-year-old Hastin, who leaves his desert village in India to work off a family debt as a circus elephant keeper. (Grades 4-7)

Books will be sold at the event and authors will sign copies after the ceremony.

Those planning to attend the SABA ceremony are asked to RSVP by October 10, by emailing including name and affiliation, to saba@southasiabookaward.org.

In addition to Chained, the 2013 Honor Books are:

  • The Elephant’s Friend and Other Tales from Ancient India by Marcia Williams (Candlewick Press, 2012)
  • The Wooden Sword by Ann Redisch Stampler, illustrated by Carol Liddiment (Albert Whitman & Company, 2012)
  • Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani (Candlewick Press, 2012)

The 2013 Highly Commended Books are:

  • Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes (Chronicle Books, 2012)
  • Shadow by Michael Morpurgo (Feiwel and Friends Book, an imprint of Macmillan, 2012)
  • The Sweetest Mango by Malavika Shetty, illustrations by Ajanta Guhathakurta (Tulika Publishers, 2012)
  • Tina’s Mouth: an Existential Comic Diary by Keshni Kashyap, illustrations by Mari Araki (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012)
  • The Whole Story of Half a Girl, by Veera Hiranandani (Delacorte Press, 2012)

For more information, visit the SABA website: http://southasiabookaward.org.

– by Kerry G. Hill