Kendall Haven to Be Honored by California Readers

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Kendall Haven, master storyteller, prize-winning author, and research scientist, is slated to receive the prestigious Leo Politi Golden Author Award from California Readers at its annual luncheon on February 23.

Known nationally as an expert on the structure and use of a story, Kendall Haven is the author of more than thirty books for children and young adults, among them Wonders of the Sea, Marvels of Math, The Killer Brussels Sprouts, and Get It Write! Since childhood, he has been making up stories, especially tales of the old West. After college graduation from West Point, Haven served as an army officer. He then earned a doctorate in oceanography from Oregon State University and spent eight years as leader of a research team conducting studies for the Department of Energy.

Haven ultimately left the field of science to become a storyteller and has since performed for 3,000,000 children and presented storytelling and writing workshops for more that 270,000 students and 40,000 teachers. During his presentations he focuses on fiction, but his publications have been mostly non-fiction.

Each year California Readers, the state's leading literacy and school library advocacy group, presents its Leo Politi Award to a California young adult or children's author who has had the most books in the organization's California Collections over time. Thirteen of Kendall Haven's books have been included in 36 California Collections.

The Leo Politi Golden Author Award is named in memory of the well-known Los Angeles author and artist whose books and illustrations have delighted children since 1938. His book, Song of the Swallows, won the Caldecott Award in 1950. An elementary school in the Los Angeles Unified School District now bears Leo Politi's name.

As a special tribute to Haven, students from McAlister High School, under the leadership of teacher Claire Martin, have prepared an exhibit of his books and have created three-dimensional art projects to illustrate the varied topics that he writes about. Some of the books which generated ideas for the art projects include Voices from the American Revolution, 100 Greatest Scientific Inventions of All Time, and Amazing American Women.

California Readers is a not-for-profit organization located in Southern California. Its mission is to connect California children, young adults, and their school communities with California authors, artists, and their creative works. Since 1996, California Readers has provided more than 4500 books to budget-starved California school libraries and brought authors and artists to meet in person with students at over 55 schools, changing the lives and attitudes toward reading, writing, speaking, and illustrating of more than 30,000 young Californians. California Readers publishes three lists of excellent books (California Collections) each year and maintains a website of resources.

For more information on California Readers and its work or to become an active sponsor of reading and school libraries in your community, visit on the web or contact Fran Oberman at poandfro(at)aol(dot)com.

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