Jamaica Plain Author Receives Award for Children’s Book about Segregation

Jamaica Plain writer Susan E. Goodman was honored with the 17th Annual Massachusetts Book Award in the Picture Book/Early Reader category for The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial, in a recent State House ceremony. Goodman's book is the true story of a young African American girl who challenged segregation in the public schools of Massachusetts more than a century before Brown v. Board of Education. With hundreds in attendance, including legislators, writers, librarians and the book community, Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB) presented the 2019 Library of Congress/Massachusetts Literacy Award and the Massachusetts Book Awards on September 17 at a State House ceremony. State Rep. Paul McMurtry, D-11th Norfolk, chairperson of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, and state Rep. Natalie Higgins, D-4th Worcester, house co-chair of the Library Caucus, provided the legislative welcome. The Massachusetts Book Awards presentations commenced with Sharon Shaloo, MCB Executive Director, reminding the audience that this is the largest state book awards program in the country.

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Jamaica Plain Author Susan E. Goodman Wins Massachusetts Book Award

Celebrated Jamaica Plain children’s author Susan E. Goodman recently won the best Picture Book/Early Reader Award in the 17th Annual Massachusetts Book Awards. “The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial,” illustrated by E.B. Lewis, tells the story of Sarah Roberts, the brave girl who fought to desegregate Boston’s public schools in the 1800s. Although her family lost its case against the city, the case laid important groundwork for the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case that desegregated American schools. “Winning any award is an honor, but acknowledgement from your home state is a real thrill, especially since we have so many great writers here,” said Goodman, a professor of creative writing at Lesley University in Cambridge. The 2017 Massachusetts Book Awards were announced last week, marking the most recent accolade for Goodman’s “The First Step.” Her book also won a Jane Addams Peace Award, a 2017 Orbis Pictus Honor Book from the National Council of Teachers of English, a 2017 Carter G. Woodson Honor Book from the National Council of Social Studies and “Kids Best of the Best Book” from Chicago Public Library.

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