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Sustainable Literature Awards:

The first annual Green Prize for Sustainable Literature Awards were given at the Santa Monica Main Library on September 29. These awards were created to draw attention to authors, illustrators, and publishers who are making contributions to the awareness of environmental issues and sustainability.

The public submitted nominations, and the judging committee considered 19 submissions. From among the entries, winners were selected in two adult and three youth categories. In addition, according to Nancy Bender, Public Services Librarian, two additional awards were created to accommodate books of local significance.

Senior Environmental Analyst Shannon Parry presented the awards, noting that they are part of an overall sustainability effort that includes such achievements as the use of electric City vehicles, the promotion of solar energy, and the construction of LEED buildings. She also mentioned that the trophies given to the winners were made from recycled glass and were crafted locally.

The winners were:

Adult Non-Fiction: An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergence of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It, by Al Gore, published by Rodale Books. This is the print analogue to the widely seen film.

Adult Reference: Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century, edited by Alex Steffen, published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc. A huge environmental reference book.

Adult Honorable Mention (local significance): Greenopia: The Urban Dweller’s Guide To Green Living, edited by Ferris Kawar and Terrye Bretzke, published by Green Media Group. A compact book that offers information on the where and how of green consumerism.

Youth Non-Fiction: Birds of Prey Rescue: Changing the Future for Endangered Wildlife, by Pamela Hickman, published by Firefly Books. A beautiful volume of text and photography documenting the lives of birds in their natural habitat.

Youth Fiction: Home, and Other Big, Fat Lies, by Jill Wolfson, published by Henry Holt and Co. A novel about a girl raised in foster homes who develops an ardent interest in saving trees.

Youth Picture Book: Why Are The Ice Caps Melting? The Dangers of Global Warming by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Paul Meisel, published by Harper Collins. A young person’s guide to the global warming issue.

Youth Honorable Mention (local significance): All the Way to the Ocean, by Joel Harper, illustrated by Marq Spusta. Two boys discover the importance of storm drains and how waste matter must be kept out of them.

In addition, a “Pioneer Award” was given to the late author and biologist Rachel Carson, whose books The Sea Around Us and Silent Spring alerted people to environmental dangers back in the 1950s and 1960s.

Recipients Ferris Kawar and Terrye Bretzke were present at the awards ceremony. “We’re incredibly honored,” said Bretzke. She explained that the impetus for the book came from her editor who found the task of “greening” her home daunting and wished there was a guide that could tell her where to look for the materials and products she needed.

Kawar added that a second edition of Greenopia is being prepared “which will be twice the size of the first edition” and that editions are being planned, or have already been published, in cities like San Francisco and New York.

Future Sustainable Literature prizes may be given in additional categories. Public input is welcome. For more information about the prizes visit smpl.org/greenprize.htm.

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