Grand Canyon Reader Award Winner Speeches

By Multiple People

Please join me to the Grand Canyon Reader Award winners!

2020 Picture Book – Cookiesaurus Rex by Amy Fellner Dominy and Nate Evans 

2020 Children’s Non-Fiction Book – Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb and The Boston Marathon by Annette Bay Pimentel

2020 Intermediate Book– The Great Pet Escape by Victoria Jamieson

2020 Tween Book – Refugee by Alan Gratz

2020 Tween Non-Fiction Book – Fly Girls: The Daring American Women Pilots Who Helped Win WWll by P. O’Connell Pearson

Below are the speeches given by the winners:

Picture Book: Cookiesaurus Rex by Amy Fellner Dominy and Nate Evans 

Nate Evans

15802 South Gilbert Road, #44

Chandler AZ 85225

Amy Dominy

3544 E Dakota Ct

Phoenix, AZ 85044

To members of the Arizona Library Association:

We’re so disappointed we can’t be with you to accept this Grand Canyon Readers Award in person. A letter just won’t do justice to how much we appreciate this honor.

Thank you for nominating our bossy cookie.

Thank you for sharing this story with your students.

Thank you for inviting us to your classrooms and libraries for visits and readings.

Thank you for all you do to build a love of reading and an appreciation for books.

Thank you for keeping on in times like these when everyday feels like a hurdle.

When we wrote Cookiesaurus Rex, we hoped our dinosaur cookie with his frosting costumes and chocolate chip poops would spark some smiles. We’re the ones who are grinning now with this very special award.


Amy Fellner Dominy and Nate Evans

Nonfiction: Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb and The Boston Marathon by Annette Bay Pimentel

Annette Bay Pimentel

123 N. Hayes

Moscow ID 83843

Dear Arizona readers,

Thank you so much for choosing Girl Running for the Grand Canyon Reader Award! 

When I first read about Bobbi Gibb I was astounded to learn that in my lifetime it had been against the rules for women to run marathons. But then I started to remember…I remembered my grandmother warning me I shouldn’t go jogging because it would hurt my lady parts…I remembered when the only athletic shoes in the store were for boys…I remembered when only the boys at my school played sports. 

Sometimes it seems like our world will never change, that the problems we have now will never go away. But brave, passionate people like Bobbi Gibb, who just keep on going, nudge the world in new directions. And suddenly it’s a different place!

I believe passionately in the power individuals have to bring about change. I’m so glad I got to share a story about pushing the world in a new direction. I rely on librarians to get my stories into the hands of children. I am grateful for all you do to make that happen! Every day you help nudge the world toward openness, fairness, and inclusiveness. Thank you for raising up changemakers and for being changemakers yourselves!

Annette Bay Pimentel

Intermediate: The Great Pet Escape by Victoria Jamieson

Victoria Jamieson

111 Parsons St.

Easton, PA 18042

Tween: Refugee by Alan Gratz

Alan Gratz

PO Box 474

Asheville, NC 28802

On the way….

Tween Nonfiction: Fly Girls: The Daring American Women Pilots Who Helped Win WWII by P. O’Connell Pearson

P. O’Connell Pearson

3913 Rust Hill Pl. 

Fairfax VA 22030 

Dear Readers,

Thank you, thank you for choosing FLY GIRLS for the Grand Canyon Readers Award in tween nonfiction! I am very pleased that you liked the book and the story of those amazing women. It’s been a real privilege to be able to introduce more people to the WASP, especially young people.

I first came across the WASP in 2015 when Elaine Harmon, a WASP who lived in the Washington, DC area where I live, died at the age of 95. Her story appeared in the Washington Postand interested me because I had never heard of the WASP even though I taught American history for many years. How could I have missed them?!? I missed them because they’d been left out of textbooks and even detailed books about World War II. They were a piece of “hidden history – the many stories that most of us never hear. They’d been left out of the medals and the honors awarded to other WWII pilots, too. That was sad for them and is sad for us because there is so much to learn from the WASP and other “left-out” heroes.

The women of the WASP, like millions of Americans who worked to save the United States and the world during WWII, grew up in a frightening and difficult time – the years of the Great Depression. They became adults as the most destructive war in history swept the globe. But the WASP knew what they believed in and what they valued and they didn’t let go of it when they were afraid. They were determined to use their skills for the good of their country and they didn’t let anyone keep them from doing that. They faced prejudice and discrimination as they tried to break barriers, yet they persisted in following their dreams. In the end, their selflessness and hard work resulted in great contributions to the war effort and opened doors for the women who followed them. 

Today, you and I face a frightening time of pandemic and unrest. For you, school changed overnight, activities disappeared, and no one has a clear picture of the future. I suspect the WASP would advise you to hold onto your dreams, persist in following them, and use your skills for good, even in dangerous times.You, too, can make a great contribution. 

Thank you again. I hope you’ll check out my other books. FIGHTING FOR THE FOREST: HOW FDR’S CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS HELPED SAVE AMERICA (2019) tells the story of the CCC during the Great Depression. If you’ve hiked some of  the trails at the Grand Canyon or visited any of the dozens of parks and monuments in Arizona, you’ve seen the work of the young men who built those parks, planted tees, and saved the land. CONSPIRACY: NIXON, WATERGATE, AND DEMOCRACY’S DEFENDERS will be out in Fall, 2020. It’s the story of the 1972 presidential scandal that shook the country and the Constitution.  

My best to all of you. Stay safe, stay healthy.

P. O’Connell Pearson

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