Book Award for The Greedy Sparrow

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Book Award for The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale

April 2013

Reach And Teach is pleased to share the news that “The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale” has been honored with a Nautilus Silver Award in the Children’s Picture Book category.

When we first read this book last year we knew it belonged among our "Books That Transform the World" series. We're so pleased that it has received this recognition and hope that because of greater visibility more people will discover this book, learn about the importance of standing up and saying "NO," and also become aware of one of the lesser talked about attempts at genocide in the world's history. (Yes - I know that putting Childrens Picture Book and genocide in the same paragraph can seem somewhat shocking, but books that transform the world often do that.)

Here's how we reviewed the book:

Is there any point in discussion when dealing with a bully? Or should you just give in to whatever the bully wants?

Just the other evening we were blessed to see "To Kill a Mockingbird" in Ashland and one of the most profoundly moving scenes was when Scout, a young girl, is trying to stop a lynching and also keep her own family from being beaten or killed, and she calmly but forcefully talks to one man in the mob whom she knows. She reminds him of their connection, their humanity, speaking to him as a friend and neighbor, and asking how he can think of hurting her family given their relationship. She says to him, "You make sure you say hey to your son for me, you know I go to school with him every day" as a way of saying you can go ahead and do this terrible thing, but what are you going to say to your son about killing one of his schoolmates? Scout saves the day through one of the most powerful examples of nonviolent resistence ever seen.

"The Greedy Sparrow" reminds me of Scout's encounter, although none of the characters in this Armenian folk tale stand up to the bully as they should. The tale is rich in imagery and makes a great launching point for discussions about being nice, doing what we are asked or told, what happens when you are selfish and greedy, and when it is appropriate to say "heck no" and stand up to bullies. It also provides an incredible opportunity to learn about the Armenian people and the attempt that was made to erase them and their culture from the earth.

Here's the full press release about this great award. Congratulations Lucine Kasbarian!

Belmont, MA and Teaneck, NJ, USA; April 19, 2013 – “The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale” has won the 2013 Nautilus Silver Book Award in the Children's Picture Book category (readers 3 to 6 yrs.). The tale is retold by Lucine Kasbarian, illustrated by Maria Zaikina, and published by Marshall Cavendish (now Amazon Children's Books).

"The Greedy Sparrow” is an English-language retelling of a traditional Armenian folk tale about a bird who travels the countryside, encounters natives practicing traditional folkways, and gets a comeuppance for his trickery. Author Kasbarian and illustrator Zaikina convey ethnic authenticity in their adaptation of this tale from the Armenian oral tradition. The NJ and MA-based Kasbarian is a children's author known for her book, "Armenia: A Rugged Land, an Enduring People. Moscow-based Zaikina is an illustrator beloved for her companion animation to singer Hasmik Harutyunyan's folk lullaby, Agna Oror.

"Witnessing near-annihilation and exile as a result of the Armenian Genocide," said Kasbarian, "my surviving grandparents felt that our people might one day become extinct. From that grew a profound desire to preserve as much of our culture as possible, such as our language, songs, dances, cuisine and stories. While her infant children perished in the death marches, my paternal grandmother managed to smuggle out the deeds belonging to our family's confiscated property. Those were the only material possessions that made it to America. Thus, non-material possessions, such as what was carried in memories, become precious links to our identity and past. "The Greedy Sparrow" tale was one such heirloom, and UNESCO calls such treasures part of a people's "intangible cultural heritage."

"The Greedy Sparrow" was also named a 2012 Honor Book in the Storytelling World Awards. It was in School Library Journal's "Fuse #8 Production" blog's "100 Magnificent Children's Books of 2011" and in the Children's Literature Network's "Snipp Snapp Snute" blog's "Favorite Folktales published in 2011." Further information is available at the author's website: .

The Nautilus Awards recognize books that promote positive social change, spiritual development and conscious living as they stimulate the imagination and inspire the reader to new possibilities for a better world. Usually, one Gold and one or more Silver awards are given annually in each of 24 Adult and 4 Children's/Young Adult categories. Formal announcements about all Nautilus Award winners will be made in at BookExpo America (May 30-June 1) in New York City: .

The Nautilus Award is named for the pearl-lined mollusk that contains spiral chambers of increasing size, built by this sea inhabitant to accommodate its growth. According to the organization, the nautilus symbolizes ancient wisdom and expanding horizons, as well as the elegance of nature and a continual growth of understanding and awareness. Past Nautilus Award winners have included the Dalai Lama, Barbara Kingsolver, Dr. Andrew Weil and Deepak Chopra, among others. For further information, please visit: .