Nashvillian Ruta Sepetys has won the Golden Kite Award for Fiction from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Ilustrators (SCBWI), another prestigious honor for her acclaimed debut young-adult novel, Between Shades of Gray. Sepetys will be given the award, along with a $2,500 cash prize, at the organization’s annual meeting in August.
“Readers will be inspired by Lina’s strength of spirit and devotion to her family and moved by Sepetys’ heartfelt gift for storytelling,” noted the press release announcing the award.
The Golden Kite is the latest in a string of honors for the book, which has also been named a finalist for the Morris Award, given by the American Library Association, and is on the short list for the Waterstone Book Prize in the United Kingdom. She is also the first American author to win the prestigious French literary prize for “Best Novel for Young People,” given annually by LIRE magazine.
Between Shades of Gray tells the story of Lina, a fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl who in 1941 is sent to a Soviet work camp with her mother and brother while her father is sent to a death camp. Lina uses art as an escape and a means of communication, hoping that a piece of her work will make its way to her father’s camp so he will know his family is alive. Sepetys, who is of Lithuanian heritage, spent five years researching the novel, which is based upon the brutal massacres of Baltic peoples during Stalin’s regime.
Published in spring 2011, Between Shades of Gray received rave reviews from The New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and many others. At Chapter 16, reviewer Fernanda Moore called the book “an invaluable testament to a ghastly chapter in twentieth-century history and should become required reading for students of World War II, who deserve to know the story of Stalin’s victims as surely as they do those of Hitler.”
For more updates on Tennessee authors, please visit Chapter 16’s News & Notes page, here.
Tagged: Children & YA