Award-Winning LDS Author Counts Blessings
February 21, 2006 — News from the Church
The best things Shannon Hale says she has ever written are the notes she used to leave on her parents’ pillows when she was little.
But that was before she received the Newbery Honor.
Now that her book Princess Academy has been awarded the prestigious children’s literature award, the LDS author says she feels like the nerdy girl who’s suddenly been picked as homecoming queen.
“I still don’t really believe that it’s true,” Sister Hale says. The book took her 12 drafts to complete, and she completed all the writing and editing while her then infant son took naps or rested in her lap. The accomplishment, she says, has fulfilled her wildest imaginings.
“It’s a huge award, the sort of thing that changes a writer’s career,” says Chris Crowe, a professor of English at Brigham Young University who knows her well.
The Newbery Medal and subsequent Honors are awarded annually by the American Library Association for the most distinguished children’s books published in the previous year. The award is the oldest and one of the most prestigious children’s book awards in the world.
The call informing her of the recognition came at 5:00 a.m., startling her out of sleep to hear the entire Newbery committee via conference call tell her Princess Academy had been selected to receive the Newbery Honor.
Sister Hale has published three books in all, gathering the inspiration for her works from things she’s experienced, dreamed of, and imagined—in addition to doing all she can to have the Spirit in her life.
“I say a prayer before I begin my writing time each day,” Sister Hale says. It is something she has always done. “By no means do I think that my books are ‘inspired,’ but I believe the Lord does give us a lift and aids us in completing our righteous endeavors when we seek His help.”
The award-winning children’s author currently serves as Primary president in her ward. “I’ve been in Primary for four years and never want to leave,” she says. Teaching the 8-11-year-old girls’ was her favorite calling.
“She is dedicated to making Primary enjoyable for the children,” said Jennifer Gainey, who serves alongside Sister Hale. “The children all love her.”