I woke up to wonderful news! Runaway Smile has just been announced as the winner of the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award, in the Young Adult Fiction category. A lovely gold medal has been awarded (see below), and the book will be included in the Gelett Burgess Center’s educational outreach for the next year.
The Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award
The Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award highlights excellence in family-friendly books covering the broad expanse of a child’s existence, helping them grow socially, emotionally, ethically, intellectually, and physically. Each year Gelett Burgess Children’s Book awards are given to 40 books in 4 distinct classifications: Lifestyle, Arts and Letters, Society and Culture, and Education. The list of winners is promoted throughout the year with additional activity and lesson plan resources made available.
Parents, Educators, Librarians and Retailers trust the high mark of distinction the Gelett Burgess Foundation honors provide a product. Informed decisions about purchasing products designed for children and families can be made knowing they have passed the foundation’s stringent evaluation process. More information can be found at www.GelettBurgessCenter.com.
Who was Gellet Burgess?
Frank Gelett Burgess was born January 30th, 1866 in Boston, Massachusetts. His most lasting contribution to the arts was probably the invention of the word “blurb” in 1917, when he humorously inscribed a book to Miss Belinda Blurb. From that day forward descriptive copy used for marketing purposes has been called a “blurb.” If you the word “blurb” isn’t part of your vocabulary, perhaps you’ve heard Burgess’ famous lines, “I never saw a purple cow, I never hope to see one; But I can tell you, anyhow, I’d rather see than be one.” (From Gelett Burgess’ poem, The Purple Cow)
In 1895, Burgess became founding editor of The Lark, a San Francisco-based magazine devoted to humorous poetry — which, in the 1890s, meant a healthy dollop of nonsense. He contributed a steady stream of quatrains in that genre, all accompanied by his uniquely-styled cartoons.
Another of Burgess’ lasting creations was his Goops series, which brought humor to the subject of polite behavior and child rearing, and opened doors for many popular books and television series later in the century.
Frank Gelett Burgess died on September 18, 1951, in Carmel, CA. Since then, several important writers and illustrators have cited Gelett Burgess as an inspiration for their work, including Dr. Seuss:
Dr. Seuss’ mother fostered the pleasure her son took in the music of words when she presented him with Goops and How to be Them by Gelett Burgess as a child primer in etiquette: “Like little ships out to sea, I push my spoon away from me.” (Theodor Seuss Geisel by Donald E. Pease)
The Gelett Burgess Center for Creative Expression recognizes Burgess’ disctinct style in both writing and illustration, and holds this standard to the books and scholarship applicants we award.
A big thank-you to the kind people there and to all of you who believed in Runaway Smile!