Judy Goddard Award

2017 Judy Goddard Awards

Tucson Author and illustrator Adam Rex has been selected as the 2017 winner of the Judy Goddard Award for Children’s Literature, and Phoenix author Amy Fellner Dominy was chosen to receive the Judy Goddard Young Adult Award. These awards were presented on October 27th at the annual conference of the Arizona State Library Association (AzLA) in Mesa.



Toby Smitt presents awards to Adam Rex and Amy Fellner Dominy.





Below is Adam’s letter of acceptance:

I’m a longtime Arizona resident, but I was born in Ohio, a state I barely remember. My family moved to the Moon Valley neighborhood of Phoenix when I was four, and I had a happy childhood there. I attended Lookout Mountain Elementary, was among the inaugural 7th grade class of Mountain Sky Junior High, and graduated from Thunderbird High School in 1991.
I was recognized early as an artist, but didn’t know I’d be an illustrator until many years later, despite having essentially been an illustrator all my life. When people ask me (and they always ask me), “When did you start drawing?” I tend to ask them, “When did you stop?” Because all kids are illustrators – all kids draw, and all kids draw to tell stories. And the main difference between me and everyone else is that they stopped illustrating at that point, and I didn’t.
I really started trying my hand at fiction-writing in high school, and around this time I got an after-school job at a Waldenbooks. I decided, around the age of sixteen, that I’d like one day to write and illustrate something like the amazing picture books that were being published then.
I got a BFA in illustration from the University of Arizona in 1996, and made my living as a freelance illustrator while trying fruitlessly for years to break into kid’s books. My future wife, Marie, and I moved to Philadelphia in 2001 so she could continue her study of physics, and around this time I landed my first picture book assignment, The Dirty Cowboy, by Amy Timberlake. And it’s been all kid’s books all the time ever since.
We moved back to Tucson in 2009 and we’re here to stay. In 2014 we adopted our son, Henry, and this fall he started kindergarten. He’s a very good reader, and keeps me humble by every night, choosing to read some book that I didn’t write or illustrate.
My first novel, The True Meaning of Smekday, came out in 2007. It was loosely adapted into the movie HOME in 2015. I’ve worked with some of my favorite writers, including Neil Gaiman, Mac Barnett, Kate DiCamillo, and Drew Daywalt. Recently I’ve been writing picture books that I do not illustrate, so I’ve been able to collaborate with favorite illustrators like Christian Robinson and Scott Campbell (and, soon, Laura Park, Laurie Keller, and Carolyn Keane.)
Currently I’m illustrating a big new picture book by Jon Scieszka, which feels especially poignant–his books with Lane Smith had more to do with convincing teenaged me that my future lay in children’s literature than any others.

Thank you once again for this honor.

Amy Fellner Dominy states:

I have written books for teens, tweens, and even toddlers! A former advertising copywriter and MFA playwright, my teen novels include: Die For You, A Matter of Heart, Audition & Subtraction, and OyMG, chosen as a Sydney Taylor Notable Book. My picture books are: Cookiesaurus Rex, and Cookiesaurus Christmas, to be published in 2018.  I live in Phoenix with my husband, various pets, and two children.
One of the best parts of being an author is getting to interact with teachers, writers, students, and librarians. I love to inspire kids through my own journey to publication – ( I got my first rejection letter when I was thirteen!) and to empower them to value their own stories and unique voices. That’s why I love to do all kinds of events, from school visits, to book festivals, and library conferences.
It’s very special when you’re recognized by a group that you respect so much. My mom is a retired librarian; my sister is a librarian. I have so much admiration for the job librarians do – this is definitely a day I’ll always remember.


What is the “Judy Goddard Award”?

Sensing the importance of recognizing authors and illustrators whose work captures the uniqueness of Arizona and the Southwest, Judy Goddard, the founder of Libraries, Ltd., worked with members of the Arizona State Library Association in 1983 to establish an award for excellence in books about Arizona for children.

Originally, the award was named the Arizona Author Award. In 1997, this evolved into two awards: one for children’s authors and illustrators and the other for writers for the young adult audience. At this time, the boards of both organizations voted to change the name of the awards to honor the work of the awards’ sponsor. The awards were renamed the Judy Goddard/Libraries, Ltd. Arizona Children’s Author/Illustrator Award and the Judy Goddard/Libraries, Ltd. Arizona Young Adult Author Award.

The criteria for the awards are flexible, specifying only that the recipient be a living writer, preferably one who lives in Arizona or has lived in the state or the immediately surrounding region, or met the requirements until his or her recent death. The children’s award goes to books intended for children up to twelve years old. The young adult author award is intended for readers twelve to nineteen years old. Selection committees are comprised of members from both Libraries, Ltd., and the Arizona State Library Association. As stated above, the committees look for books with an Arizona setting or connection; however, other books of literary merit are sometimes chosen, particularly those written for young adults.

In over 30 years of history, these awards have represented a wide variety of types and styles of literature. The selected recipients are honored guests and featured speakers at the Libraries, Ltd. annual spring luncheon meeting.