Second Annual Horace Mann Upstanders Book Award Winner Announced

CULVER CITY, CA – Antioch University Los Angeles today announced that it has chosen Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen as the 2009 Horace Mann Upstander Award winner for Children’s Literature. The award will be given as part of the 2nd Annual Children’s Literature Conference, to be held on June 6, 2009 on the AULA campus in Culver City.

The Horace Mann Upstanders award honors new children’s literature that best exemplifies the ideals of social action and encourages young readers to become agents of change themselves.

The 2009 award winner, Violet the Pilot, is published by The Penguin Group. It is the endearing, underdog story of Violet Van Winkle, who by the age of eight is building elaborate flying machines from scratch–mind-boggling contraptions such as the Tubbubbler, the Bicycopter, and the Wing-a-ma-jig. And although the kids at school tease her, she demonstrates true upstander behavior as she saves a Boy Scout troop and sacrifices her dream as a pilot.

“It’s wonderful to have my character, Violet Van Winkle, recognized as an upstander” said Steve Breen. “I feel the spirit of the award blends well with the message of Violet the Pilot: The best use of our God-given talents is not for serving ourselves but for serving others. And the greater the sacrifice, the greater the value of that service. I hope Violet’s selflessness is an inspiration to kid’s and adults alike and I thank Antioch University for this honor.”

Mr. Breen is a nationally syndicated cartoonist, who currently works for the San Diego Tribune. In 1998 he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. His cartoons appear regularly in The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek and US News and World Report Mr. Breen’s comic strip “Grand Avenue” appears in more than 150 newspapers across the country.

The Horace Mann Upstanders awards are sponsored by the Antioch University Los Angel teacher education program, in partnership with the Better World JL Institute and the South Bay Literacy Foundation. The award committee was comprised of Antioch University Los Angeles credential candidates, faculty members, K-12 students and local educational leaders from the greater Los Angeles community.

The 2009 Children’s Literature Conference will be held on Saturday, June 6th begininning at 10am at the AULA campus located at 400 Corporate Pointe in Culver City. Registration is only $20.00 and the conference is open to the public. Nationally recognized author Tim Tingle, young adult author Tracey Porter as well as Horace Mann Upstanders Award winner Steve Breen, will speak and answers questions from the audience.

For more information contact Joanna Gerber, Director of Communications & Public Relations, at (310) 578-1080 ext. 119 or

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