PSU Author Joe Monninger Honored by University of Illinois

January 16th, 2009 by Adam

Plymouth State University English Professor and author Joe Monninger’s latest book, Hippie Chick, has been chosen one of 2008’s Most Distinguished Books by the The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Book. The Bulletin is published by The Johns Hopkins University Press for the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which selects the best children books each year for its annual Blue Ribbon prize.

Hippie Chick is a Robinson Crusoe-like survival story of a 15-year-old free spirited girl, Lolly, who enjoys sailing in the Florida Keys until she is thrown off her capsized boat. After regaining consciousness in the water, she is ready to accept death until she is helped by an unlikely rescuer, a trio of manatees. Monninger says he was inspired to write the story after visiting the area.

“My wife and I visited a manatee sanctuary in Florida and I loved seeing them,” Monninger said.

Monninger noted that once he created the main character, Lolly, it was easy to tell her story in her own words.

“I liked the narrator’s voice. She simply came into my mind and wouldn’t let go.”

Bulletin editor Deborah Stevenson said the authors making the list are the best in the country and are often a precursor to receiving other book awards.

“Blue Ribbons are chosen annually by the Bulletin staff and represent what we believe to be the best of the previous year’s literature for youth,” said Stevenson.

“It’s a genuine honor to be included,” said Monninger. “It serves as encouragement to keep writing for young people and gives me hope that my novels may reach an appreciative audience.The best reading we ever do – certainly it was in my life – is when we are young. Certain novels like the Call of the Wild and Lord of the Rings carried me away. I hope to give young readers a little of that experience.”

Monninger has published stories and non-fiction pieces in major magazines such as Sports Illustrated, Glamour, Readers Digest, American Heritage, McCall’s, Redbook and Ellery Queen. He had twice won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was awarded a fellowship from the New Hampshire Council on the Arts in 2007. Monninger’s young adult novel, Baby, won an award from the Peace Corps Writers Association for best children’s writing in 2008.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or Bruce Lyndes