Antioch University Los Angeles’ Education Department is honored to announce Christopher Paul Curtis as the recipient of the 2019 the Horace Mann Upstanders Book Award for The Journey of Little Charlie. The Horace Mann Upstanders Award honors children’s literature that best exemplifies the ideals of social action and in turn encourages young readers to become agents of change themselves by standing up to injustice. The Horace Mann Upstanders Award will be formally presented to Curtis on May 6, 2019, at the 12th Annual Upstanders Book Awards Ceremony. The ceremony will be held at the Willows Community School, 8509 Higuera Street, Culver City, CA 90232 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
“An Upstander is a person or a group who chooses to take a positive stand and act on behalf of themselves and others. These awards honor literature that encourages readers to take that risk and stand up for something they believe in,” said Dr. J. Cynthia McDermott, chair of Antioch University Los Angeles’ Education Department. “Christopher Paul Curtis exemplifies an Upstander in all his work. We are honored to present him with this award.”
The Journey of Little Charlie is a historical adventure about a twelve-year-old boy named Charlie, who, after the death of his father, makes a pact with Cap’n Buck, a sinister debt collector. While Charlie is doing everything he can to survive, he finds he got more than he bargained for in his newfound partnership. The Journey of Little Charlie showcases the power of resilience through loss and being true to oneself in the face of evil. It was chosen as the National Book Award Finalist (2018) for Young People’s Literature.
A best-selling and multi-award-winning author, Curtis received both a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor for his debut book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963, which was adapted for a TV movie of the same name. He was awarded the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award, two of the most prestigious prizes in the field of children’s literature, for his second novel Bud, Not Buddy. He is also the author of the Golden Kite Award-winning Bucking the Sarge, The Mighty Miss Malone, and the books in the Buxton Chronicles: the Newbery Honor book Elijah of Buxton, The Madman of Piney Woods, and The Journey of Little Charlie.
Curtis founded the Nobody but Curtis Foundation to improve the level of literacy among children in Canada, the United States, and Africa by providing books, computers, school supplies, and scholarship opportunities to young people. He is from Flint, Michigan and received his Bachelor’s at the University of Michigan in 1996.