This year kicked off with a Women’s Day March that inspired millions of women (and men) all over the world to take to the street to march in solidarity of womankind. This makes 2017 the perfect year for our First Annual Women’s Day Awards!
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating “the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women”. Our award criteria is based on the spirit of International Woman’s Day, achievements over the past year and women we think ROCK! If you happen to run into any of these ladies give them a high-five and thank them for all they do.
So without further ado, presenting your YA Wednesday 2017 National Women’s Day Award Winners!
Winner of the
Female Author with the Most Anticipated Release of 2017 Award is…..
The Hate U Give entered into the publishing world with a bang, not a whimper. The book Salon.com said should be “required reading for clueless white people” sparked a 13 house auction that resulted in an undisclosed, but no doubt substantial payout for the debut YA author. But if that wasn’t impressive enough for you, the movie rights were snatched up soon after for good measure.
Impressive book and movie deal aside, what really sparked our interest in THUG is how relevant it is. Thomas’s story is sparked by the Black Lives Matter movement, which was even more relevant a year ago than it is today. And trust me, it’s plenty relevant today. Like All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely before it, THUG has the power not only to entertain, but to engage, enthrall and most importantly, start a dialogue. As a matter of fact, we are so excited to discuss this book, we’re making it our April YA Wednesdays Book Club selection (more on that in another post).
So Ms. Thomas, thank you for giving us The Hate U Give and congratulations on the first of many awards!
Winner of the
Creator of Characters to Strengthen Women Award is……
It’s no surprise we love Leigh Bardugo. If you didn’t know then you haven’t spent half as much time stalking our Goodreads as we spent stalking Leigh at San Diego Comic Con! But really, what’s not to like? Leigh can weave a tale like nobody else. Her worlds and characters are dense, beautiful and complex. And some of our favorite characters in the past few years were her band of troubled yet lovable misfits from the Six of Crows series. While we could go on and on about all the crows, the character that earned a special place in our hearts was Inej Ghafa.
Inej’s origin story is a sad one. She was stolen from her family of nomadic acrobat performers and sold into a brothel. Inej, like nearly 2 million children all over the world annually, is a victim of sex trafficking. This is a sad and painful aspect of Bardugo’s character, but it’s a very important one. As readers, we don’t really understand that extent of Inej’s dark past into we’re far enough into the story to already get to know Inej the wraith, the girl, the friend. Her past is certainly a part of her, but she is not defined by it. I was brought to tears by the girls and woman who identified with both Inej’s struggle and her strength.
While the story may take place in a land where magic is real and anything is possible, the characters are still human (well, at least mostly human). This means they need to reflect real people, flaws and all. Leigh Bardugo, we thank you for creating a fantasy character who is a symbol of hope for real girls everywhere.
Winner of the
Reading List for Young Feminists Award is…
Depending on your age, you either grew up with Emma Watson or watched Emma Watson grow up. Either vantage point you had, the end result is impressive. In a time when CelebriTeens were flashing their privates bits from limos and making under-aged sex tapes, our Hermione Granger was cloistered at Leavesden Studio outside London filming the most iconic fantasy book series of the 21st Century. There were no tantrums. There was no public feuds. There was no sex tape (Thank Dumbledore!).
Emma Watson could have taken her HP earnings (her current estimated net worth is $60 million) and vanished into obscurity. Well, if not obscurity at least a very public, very lavish, very early retirement. But Emma like Hermione has always been an overachiever. Emma Watson devoted the time she wasn’t working on her craft to earning her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Brown University in 2014, which was the same year she was named UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. While this is already way more than yours truly had accomplished at Emma’s age (or since), what really interested me was her reading list.
In early 2016 Emma Watson started a Feminist book club called Our Shared Shelf. What started as a small idea via social media has grown into a movement with a HUGE impact. There are girls who never would have known about the Feminist movement or who Gloria Steinem was if it hadn’t been for Emma Watson and Our Shared Shelf. And this is a very good thing.
Say what you will about her movies, her acting or her latest Vanity Fair photo shoot, but Emma Watson is THINKING. Not only is she THINKING, she is encouraging female dialogue, interaction and the exchange of ideas. And girls helping girls is it’s own kind of magic. House Cup to Emma Watson!
Winner of the Drawing Girls To Comics Award is….
Despite what some very out of touch people may want you to believe, comics and graphic novels are not just for boys. Just ask Amanda Conner who has been reading, drawing and living comics most of her life. Amanda Conner made a name for herself in an industry that is primarily male- from the comic creators to the owners to the artists to the fans. But boys’club or not, Conner’s talent and drive are impossible to ignore. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s just one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet.
In November 2013, DC Comics began publishing a new Harley Quinn series co-written and drawn by Conner. The other half of the Harley Quinn writing duo was Conner’s husband and fellow comic veteran, Jimmy Palmiotti. Under the Conner/Palmiotti banner, Harley Quinn was modernized and re-imagined as an antihero rather than a plaything or a villain. This is the version of Harley Quinn embodied by Margot Robbie in the 2016 live action film Suicide Squad.
Amanda Conner is proof positive that strong women can be represented on the pages of the comics and they can write and draw them too.
*And Amanda get a BONUS AWARD for badass babe with her artwork on cereal boxes everywhere!*
There are so many women we could have honored this year so narrowing the list down to just a handful was difficult. But we honor women all year long and so should you. Woman continue to make great strides toward gender equality, but we’ve still have a ways to go. The only way we can get there is together.
Have a suggestion for a woman we should honor next year? Let us know in the comments.