Antioch University Los Angeles’ Education Department is honored to announce Pam Muñoz Ryan as the 2021 Horace Mann Upstanders Book Award recipient for Mañanaland (Scholastic Press). The Horace Mann Upstanders Award honors children’s literature that best exemplifies the ideals of social action and encourages young readers to become agents of change themselves by standing up to injustice. The Horace Mann Upstanders Book Award will be formally presented to Muñoz Ryan on May 20, 2021, at the 14th Annual Upstanders Book Award Ceremony. The ceremony will be held virtually from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm (PT). Register for the live presentation and conversation here.
“An Upstander is a person or a group who chooses to take a positive stand and act on behalf of themselves and others. This award honors 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. “Pam Muñoz Ryan exemplifies an Upstander in all her work. We are honored to present her with this award.”
In Mañanaland, Muñoz Ryan weaves an entrancing tale of courage and self-discovery. Córdoba loves stories, especially the legend Buelo tells him about a mythical gatekeeper who can guide brave travelers on a journey into tomorrow. If Max could see tomorrow, he would know if he’d make Santa Maria’s celebrated fútbol team and whether he’d ever meet his mother, who disappeared when he was a baby. He longs to know more about her, but Papá won’t talk. So when Max uncovers a buried family secret—involving an underground network of guardians who lead people fleeing a neighboring country to safety—he decides to seek answers on his own. With a treasured compass, a mysterious stone rubbing, and Buelo’s legend as his only guides, he sets out on a perilous quest to discover if he is true of heart and what the future holds. This timeless tale of struggle, hope, and the search for tomorrow has much to offer today about compassion and our shared humanity.
“We are preparing children to meet not only their neighborhood, but a much broader existence, filled with people from all walks of life, who speak many languages, whose families originated from many different countries and cultures,” said Pam Muñoz Ryan. “We can’t always just look at someone—at their countenance, their clothing, or the color of their skin—and comprehend their life experience. We often have to first hear a person’s story before the seeds of understanding take hold.”
Pam Muñoz Ryan is the recipient of the Newbery Honor Medal and the Kirkus Prize for her New York Times bestselling novel, Echo, and the NEA’s Human and Civil Rights Award and the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award for multicultural literature for her body of work. Her celebrated novels, Echo, Esperanza Rising, The Dreamer, Riding Freedom, Becoming Naomi Léon, and Paint the Wind, have received countless accolades, among them two Pura Belpré Awards, a NAPPA Gold Award, a Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, and two Américas Awards. Her acclaimed picture books include Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride and When Marian Sang, both illustrated by Brian Selznick, and Tony Baloney, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham, as well as a beginning reader series featuring Tony Baloney.
Photo Credit: Mike Brown