Dr. Florita Bell Griffin named recipient of Zora Neale Hurston Award for promotion of African-American Literature

BOSTON— Dr. Florita Bell Griffin, Creative Director of ARC Communications, LLC, a Texas-based Visual Art Communications and Publishing Company is named as the 2016 recipient of the Zora Neale Hurston Award, an annual achievement award administered by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association and sponsored by HarperCollins Publishers.

The Zora Neale Hurston Award Committee has selected Dr. Florita Bell Griffin in recognition of her outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in promoting literacy and African American literature through the creation of the Little Flower® literacy project. The Little Flower® project works to improve youth literacy, self-esteem, and imagination through the use of art, artistic media, and African American literature (storytelling).

Little Flower® utilizes African American Literature, educational products, film, paint, sculpture, transmedia, performing arts, photography, music, mobile games and even the wildly popular Minecraft game platform to inspire children of all ages to read.

Little Flower®, the project’s namesake and storybook heroine, is a young African-American girl growing up during the early days of the Civil Rights Movement.  A vocal anti-bullying advocate, Little Flower® uses her sharp mind, big heart, and even bigger imagination to inspire and organize  her ever expanding circle of multi-cultural friends to address the problem of bullying in their school.

The Zora Neale Hurston Award honors an ALA member who has demonstrated leadership in promoting African-American literature. Dr. Griffin will be honored at the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando. Dr. Griffin will also receive a $1,250 monetary prize to fund travel expenses to the ALA Annual Conference, two tickets to the United for Libraries author events: The Gala Author Tea and The Laugh’s On Us, two complete sets of Zora Neale Hurston’s books and audiobooks and a beautiful personalized plaque.

Dr. Griffin was selected by the Zora Neale Hurston Award committee: Deborah Abston (Chair), Arizona State University; Janice Derr, Eastern Illinois University; Sue K. Dittmar, St. Charles City-County Library (Mo.); Cynthia Sorrell, University Of Maryland.

Zora Neale Hurston Award: RUSA seeks librarians demonstrating leadership in promoting African American literature

Do you know someone(s) who should be recognized for their work in promoting African American literature? Could it be you? We encourage you to submit a nomination for the 2013 Zora Neale Hurston Award. The deadline for all nominations is Dec. 15, 2012.

The Zora Neale Hurston Award recognizes any ALA member who has demonstrated leadership in promoting African American literature. The winner receives funds to attend the ALA Annual Conference, tickets to the FOLUSA Author tea, and a set of the Zora Neale Hurston books published by Harper Perennial at the time the award is made.

Recent past winners include:
2012  Vanessa Irvin Morris, Assistant Teaching Professor, Drexel University

2011  Theresa Venable, Librarian for Children’s Defense Fund Haley Farm’s Langston Hughes Library
Venable was chosen for her work in library programming designed to promote African American authors and African American illustrators of children’s picture books.  Examples of Venable’s programming include directing the 2009 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture sponsored by the Association of Library Service to Children and coordinating the 2010 Big Read Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

2010  Anthony Loum, Coordinator of Adult Library Services, Brooklyn Public Library
For his work planning and ensuring the quality of programs delivered by the Brooklyn Public Library in the 2009 Big Read for which Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” was the chosen book.

2009  Miriam Rodriguez, Assistant Director, Public Services, Community Integration of the Dallas Public Library

Don’t delay! You can download the nomination form (PDF) here.

Questions? Contact Jannie R. Cobb, Zora Neale Hurston Award Committee Chair at jcobb@nlc.edu.