Valerie James Abbott’s debut children’s book, Padapillo, was recognized as a bronze medal winner of the 15th Annual 2021 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Launched by the Jenkins Group in 2007, the competition seeks stories that inspire wonder, exploration, and inclusivity. Awards are given to the year’s best children’s books and bring increased recognition to authors, illustrators, and creative teams.

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The illustrated children’s book Padapillo is based on the Abbott family’s true account and is narrated through the lens of an incredulous, yet observant older sibling who discovers her younger sister has lost her hearing and no one has noticed.  The story was selected from nearly 1,500 entries from all over the US and 22 countries around the world. The competition was judged by expert panels representing youth educators, students, librarians, booksellers, and other members of the book and literacy industry.

“My family and I are beyond overjoyed to receive this award. Having our story about childhood hearing loss recognized by the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award program is surreal. I’m so grateful,” Abbott said. 

Padapillo was published on May 4, 2021 through KWE Publishing, Inc.

“Valerie is a very motivated parent-advocate and she has taken her family’s experience with postnatal hearing loss and leveraged it to improve things for other families of children who are deaf and hard of hearing,” said Dr Johnnie Sexton, AuD, executive director and founder of The CARE Project. “Her characters in the book explore the emotional part of a hearing loss diagnosis and I am not surprised that people are connecting to it.”   

The awards ceremony, which has historically been hosted in Traverse City, Michigan, will take place online this year due to COVID-19 concerns, but program officials hope to attract guests of the authors and other book lovers who might not otherwise have been able to join an in-person celebration. At a time when authors, publishers, and booksellers continue to promote books through virtual book launches and other online events, literary awards such as the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award program continue to spotlight great new titles and inspiring writers.  

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Source: Valerie James Abbott

Image: Valerie James Abbott