The award, presented at the annual conference, is given to an individual in recognition of outstanding contributions in making quality literature accessible to children and young adults.

Our goal is to recognize and applaud those who have enriched the lives of children through multicultural literature.


Marilyn E. Nye

Dr. Nye was a Professor of Teacher Education at California State University, Hayward. She was Department Chair, the Director of the Children’s Literature Certificate Program, and creator of the Celebrating Children’s Literature Conference. For many years she led teachers and librarians on overseas study tours to meet with authors and illustrators, critics, editors and publishers in the field of children’s literature. On the tours, Dr. Nye introduced American teachers to schools, libraries and universities in Australia, Austria, Belgium, The Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Yugoslavia, and Wales. Upon retirement she founded and was director of The Read Aloud Volunteer Program. She was the recipient of the West Contra Costa Public Education Fund Distinguished Citizen Award in recognition of the Read Aloud Volunteer Program. Dr. Nye helped in the planning stages during the creation of Reading the World at USF.

Effie Lee Morris

Ms. Morris was a visionary, advocate, author, and San Francisco leader. During her distinguished career of over 40 years in urban libraries, Ms. Morris worked on behalf of children and youth at the local, state, and national levels. She was the first Coordinator of Children’s Services at the San Francisco Public Library and was a founding member of Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association that presents the Coretta Scott King Award. Ms. Morris taught children’s literature courses at Mills College, the University of San Francisco, Case Western Reserve, and Clark-Atlanta University. She served seven terms on the Newbery/Caldecott Committees and was one of the three founding members of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award committee. In 1999 Blue Shield of California presented Ms. Morris with the Ageless Hero – Joy of Learning Award. The San Francisco Public Library houses a Historical Research Collection of Children’s Literature named for her and sponsors the Effie Lee Morris Memorial Lecture in her honor.

Anita De Frantz

Dr. DeFrantz was a longtime member of the International and Multicultural Education Program at the University of San Francisco, teaching here from 1977 to 2000. She introduced an African American strand of study into the program. Courses she taught were Women of Color in Higher Education, African American Education in the United States, Pan African Language and Culture, and Inter Group Similarities and Differences. For past Reading the World Conferences she has provided sessions on books for children of African ancestry and African American literature for children and youth entering the 21st century.

Francisco Jimenez

Dr. Jimenez emigrated with his family from Tlaquepaque, Mexico to California. As a child he worked in the fields of California. He is currently chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and holds the Fay Boyle University Academic Endowed Professorship at Santa Clara University. He has published and edited several books on Mexican and Mexican American literature, and his stories have been published in over 50 textbooks and anthologies of literature. His collection of autobiographical short stories, The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child received many awards including the Boston Globe Horn Books Award for Fiction. His picture book Mariposa won a Parent’s Choice Recommended Award and was a Smithsonian’s Notable Book for Children. It has been published in Chinese and been adapted for a one-act play which has been performed at various schools and colleges throughout California. He has also written The Christmas Gift/El Regalo de Navidad, an illustrated bilingual book and has recently completed Breaking Through a sequel to The Circuit.

Milly Lee

Milly Lee grew up in San Francisco’s Chinatown and went back to college after her children were grown, and earned degrees from the University of San Francisco and the University of California at Berkeley. She has been a school librarian and was the Sonoma County Office of Education Librarian until her retirement. She was chosen to deliver the guest lecture at the sixth annual Effie Lee Morris Lecture in 2002, at the San Francisco Public Library. Lee has written about the Chinese-American experience in two popular and award winning picture books: Nim and the War Effort, and Earthquake, both from FSG publishers and illustrated by Yangsook Choi. Milly and her husband live in Santa Rosa, California.

Ruth Stotter

Ruth Stotter, former Director of the Dominican University Storytelling Program in San Rafael, California, is included in Storytellers: A Bibliographical Directory of 120 English-Speaking Performers Worldwide (McFarland & Co. Publishers, 1999.) A storyteller and folklorist, she served four years on the Aesop Prize Committee (which selects the best children’s books based on Folklore) sponsored by the Children’s Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society (AFS), two years as chairperson. She also served as chairperson of the AFS Folk Narrative Section 1999-2003. Ruth has written extensively about stories and storytelling and is the author of About Story, More About Story, The Golden Axe, and for ten years produced a multicultural Storytelling calendar. She received the first Pacific Region Service Award in 1996 from the National Storytelling Association, and was honored with the 1999 Keables Chair of English by Iolani School in Honolulu, Hawaii. She has performed and taught folklore and storytelling workshops on five continents. Closer to home, from 1982-1988 she produced and hosted a radio program, International Folkfest, on KUSF-FM in San Francisco.

F. Isabel Campoy

F Isabel Campoy is the author of numerous children’s books in the areas of poetry, theater, stories, biographies, and art. Many of her poems, put to music by Suni Paz, appear in the collection Músicaamiga. Also known for her work as a translator, she has written many books with Alma Flor Ada. A recent book of hers is Rosa Raposa.

Alma Flor Ada

Alma Flor Ada is an award-winning author, Pura Belpré Award, Under the Royal Palms, Simon Weisenthal Center Award, Gathering the Sun, Premio Mundial José Martí, Honors, San José, Costa Rica,Gold Medal, National Association of Parenting Publications, The Lizard and the Sun / La lagartija y el sol Parents’ Choice Honor Award, Dear Peter Rabbit, Christopher Award, The Gold Coin, Marta Salotti Gold Medal, International Award for Children’s Literature. She is professor emerita USF and an internationally recognized advocate of bilingual education. She was born in Cuba and now lives in Northern California.

Ashley Bryan

Ashley Bryan grew up in the Bronx, New York in a house full of storytellers and began making books in kindergarten. He attended The Cooper Union Art School and Columbia University. As a soldier in France, during World War II, he continued to sketch, keeping his drawing paper dry under his helmet. He later studied art in France and Germany on a Fulbright scholarship and has taught art at Dartmouth College. He won the Coretta Scott King Award for Beat the Story Drum, Pum-Pum. He received the Arbuthnot Prize, an international award for lifetime achievement in children’s literature. His numerous award winning books include Lion and the Ostrich Chicks: And Other African Folk Poems, The Cat’s Purr, Sing to the Sun, Ashley Bryan’s ABC of African-American Poetry, Beautiful Blackbird, as well as several collections of African American Spirituals. Ashley lives on an island off the coast of Maine.

Jack Zipes

Jack Zipes, author, scholar, teacher, translator, storyteller, and activist, is an internationally recognized researcher and critic. A professor of German at the University of Minnesota, Jack has also taught at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, the University of Florida, and New York University. His writings include, Don’t Bet on the Prince, The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Ridinghood, When Dreams Came True, Classical Fairy Tales and Their Tradition, Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre, and Sticks and Stones: The Troublesome Success of Children’s Literature from Slovenly Peter to Harry Potter with talks from previous RtheW conferences. He was editor of The Lion and the Unicorn, the Norton Anthology of Children’s Literature, and the four-volume The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature. He was born in New York and lives part of the year in Rome, part in Minnesota.