Children’s book by local authors wins 2017 literary award

From left are Brenda Olive, Diane Vaszily, and Abby Hemingway, members of The Desert Awareness Committee. (Submitted photo)

Chloe and the Desert Heroes: A Tale of Adventure in the Sonoran Desert” recently won third place in the 2017 Arizona Literary Award, children’s literature division.

Chosen out of 54 entries, the book has entertained fourth graders in the North Valley, for the last two years, according to a press release.

The collaborative product is between some residents affiliated with the Desert Awareness, a heritage program of the Foothills Community Foundation including writers: Abby Hemingway, Kathleen Hindle, Brenda Olive, Phyllis Strupp, and Diane Vaszily; original color illustrations were by Judy Speer and Georgia Taylor, the release noted.

“It is a good feeling to be recognized for something that has been a labor of love and has done so much good in promoting conservation and stewardship of the Sonoran Desert,” said Diane Vaszily, spokesperson for the Scottsdale-based Desert Awareness Committee, in a prepared statement.

The book is a coming-of-age tale about 12-year old Chloe who gets lost in the desert when her dog chases a rabbit, the release detailed. She encounters familiar desert animals—the book’s heroes—who help her learn important lessons not only about the Sonoran Desert but how to deal with school bullies.

The book is an important supplement of the fourth grade Arizona Studies curriculum, enhancing understanding of the desert ecosystem through a hands-on desert classroom program and field experience, the release said.

The Desert Awareness Committee wants to expand the popular program statewide and nationally.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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