JP Writer Honored at State House Ceremony

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 Sept. 17 at a State House ceremony.

Representative Paul McMurtry, Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, and Representative Natalie Higgins, 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.  “It’s a testament to the vitality of the contemporary writing community in our commonwealth,” she stated.

Representative Higgins presented citations to Susan E. Goodman of Jamaica Plain on behalf of Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representative Nika Elugardo.   Goodman received the 17th Annual Massachusetts Book Award in the Picture Book/Early Reader category for The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial, 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.

The 2019 Massachusetts Literacy Award was given to Beacon Press in recognition of its history of ethical publishing that “elevates and actuates the promise of a literate populace.”  Helene Atwan, Director of Beacon Press, accepted the award and underscored the publisher’s commitment to promote dialogue around social justice and issues of diversity.    The Library of Congress State Literacy Award program is funded through the generous support of David M. Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group and a major benefactor of our nation’s library. The Massachusetts Center for the Book, chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is a public-private partnership charged with developing, supporting and promoting cultural programming that advances the cause of books and reading and enhances the outreach potential of Massachusetts public libraries.  For more information about the Library of Congress Literacy Award or the Massachusetts Book Awards, contact [email protected] or visit

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