A writer with Dominican roots has become the pride of an entire community.
The 2019 Carnegie Medal was awarded to the poet Elizabeth Acevedo for her debut novel, The Poet X, in a ceremony that took place on June 18.
The book uses Acevedo's poetic skills when he tells the story of the shy 15-year-old Xiomara. In the book, the young Dominican girl joins a poetry club at her school. As a result, Xiomara gradually opens up to the world and shares her own voice.
The UK Carnegie Medal is an esteemed award for works of literature for children and young people. It was founded in 1936 and is named after Scottish-American businessman Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie was responsible for founding more than 2,800 libraries in the English-speaking world.
This is the first time in 83 years of the prestigious award that a writer of color has been honored.
As the literary world becomes more inclusive, new voices share experiences that various communities have long endured but never seen before.
The judges for this year's awards called The Poet X, "an ardent and unwavering exploration of culture, family and faith within a truly innovative line of verse." They add that the protagonist of the book "comes alive on every page and shows the reader how girls and women can learn to inhabit and love their own skin."
But this is not the first award given to Acevedo's literary work. The book won the Michael Printz Award for Best Young Adult Literature at the 2019 Youth Media Awards. In addition, The Poet X won the Pura Belpré Award, which honors the Latina writer who best portrayed the Latinx experience for children.
Before becoming a writer, Avecedo was an eighth-grade school teacher in Maryland.
How did you have the desire to write?
It was while one of her students rejected the books that Avecedo suggested that she read since the girl said that she could not read any of them because none of them represented her.
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