NEW YORK, June 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Harvard Library in New York (HLNY) and the Fund for Public Schools along with The Chapman Perelman Foundation yesterday announced the winners of the Second Annual Young Readers Prize. The Young Readers Prize was awarded to two 8th grade public school students: Melissa Alcantara from PSMS 161 (Manhattan) and Alicia Galarza from MS 582 (Brooklyn). The prize is intended to recognize students who show a deep love of reading for its own sake – irrespective of academic or testing performance – and show thoughtfulness about what they read and how it impacts them. HLNY Board members Richard Chapman and daughter Dr. Anna Chapman spearheaded the effort to create the annual prize in 2017 as an opportunity encourage the next generations of thoughtful, young readers.
Guest speaker, author Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award Winner and National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, attended the event and read from her award-winning book Brown Girl Dreaming. Anna Chapman and Richard Chapman, along with the Sherman siblings in honor of their late father and Harvard alumnus, Julius Sherman, sponsored this award which included a $250 gift certificate to the Strand Bookstore, a signed copy of Brown Girl Dreaming, as well as a selection of four of Jacqueline Woodson's favorite coming-of-age books:
- If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
- Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
- In the Land of Words by Eloise Greenfield
- Honey, I Love and Other Love Poems by Eloise Greenfield
"As a member of the Harvard Library of New York Board of Trustees for over twenty years, a love of books and reading has long played an important role in my own life. We have created this award to encourage a similar affection for literature amongst young New Yorkers," said Anna Chapman.
"We wanted to do something that would make our father happy and this seemed like a perfect fit. He was a lifelong learner and voracious reader," said Valerie Sherman, one of the four Sherman siblings. "We hope that his love of reading will inspire young readers to continue reading throughout their lives."
"For the second consecutive year, the Harvard Library in New York has recognized middle school students purely for their love of reading, a pursuit that helps young people embark on a lifetime of learning," said Julianne Rana, deputy executive director at the Fund for Public Schools. "We thank Dr. Chapman and her fellow board members for celebrating NYC public school students, and congratulate this year's Young Readers Prize recipients."
The celebration was held on Wednesday June 13th at the Harvard Library's Gordon Reading Room, where the two selected students, Melissa Alcantara and Alicia Galarza, were announced and each was awarded the Young Readers Prize. To be considered for the prestigious award, the students were asked to write a personal statement highlighting why reading is important to them; how reading has changed their perspective, or helped them better understand the world and themselves; share thoughts or impressions on their favorite books and authors; and describe how they hope and expect books will play a role in their future lives.
"Before I got into reading, there was always a barrier to how far I could imagine things, how much new knowledge I gained, and how deeply my emotions could be moved by mere words," wrote Young Readers Prize recipient, Melissa Alcantara from Don Pedro Albizu Campos at PSMS 161 in Manhattan.
"Reading is important because it exposes me to new ideas and concepts. I feel that reading has allowed me to be a more open-minded person and has allowed me to better understand others' points of view," wrote Alicia Galarza, Young Readers Prize recipient from MS 582 in Brooklyn. "I fell in love with the ability to go into a different world and see it through someone else's eyes."
About the Harvard Library of New York
Since its founding, The Harvard Library in New York has remained true to its mission "to stimulate and maintain interest in good literature by raising, administering and expending funds for the establishment and maintenance of a library in the city of New York to be located at the Harvard Club of New York City."
In addition to preserving and caring for all documents, memorabilia and literature relating to Harvard and Harvard Club members, the Library is home to a significant collection of rare books and archival materials. As a public benefit and a public service, the Library has made these documents available for research and scholarship to members of the Harvard community and to the broader community of scholars and researchers world-wide. Research requests must be made in advance however, and are made by appointment only.
About the Fund for Public Schools
The Fund for Public Schools has consistently and rigorously dedicated itself to supporting New York City's public schools since 1982. The Fund has secured unprecedented investment from foundations, businesses, and individuals, raising more than $440 million for the city's 1,800 public schools and 1.1 million students.
As a partner to the NYC DOE, the Fund sits in a unique position. We facilitate partnerships between the philanthropic community and the NYC DOE to pilot innovative projects; accelerate promising, outcome-driven initiatives; and respond quickly and strategically to emerging needs across the NYC public school system.
We support some of the most innovative programs in K-12 education at the largest school district in the country. With our partners, we have the potential to make significant impact in the lives of millions of New Yorkers.
SOURCE The Chapman Perelman Foundation