An Award Winning Weekend!

photo credit Anne Baehr, Pensacola, FL

photo by Anne Baehr of Pensacola,FL

The Vinnie Ream Awards Banquet at the NLAPW Biennial Conference was so inspiring and I felt incredibly honored to receive one of the four 1st place Awards. The four award categories are Letters, Arts, Music and Multi-Discipline. I won in the multi-discipline category for writing and illustrating my children’s picture book Lonely Lola Ladybug. The book’s cover will now proudly display the NLAPW 2016 Vinnie Ream Award gold sticker! Yea!

LLL Cover with Award SealThe National League of American Pen Women’s three day Conference was a wonderful experience for everyone who attended! There was a wide variety of speakers, awards and multiple events starting with a quality art show and ending with musical and ballet performances. My presentation of “How a Children’s Picture Book Gets Made” was only one of many informative talks.

The banquet speaker was well known journalist Cokie Roberts. She was impressive but I was most impressed by the amazingly talented Pen Women I met during the conference!  For those of you not familiar with the NLAPW, it is a very old (119 years) and prestigious organization (Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Mitchel, and Vinnie Ream were members) dedicated to the recognition and advancement of professional women in the fields of arts, letters and music. There are 82 branches of American Pen Women throughout the United States and my branch is the Chesapeake Bay Branch of Virginia.

Vinnie Ream, (1847-1914) for whom the award is named, was a member of the League in all three categories; Letters, Arts and Music. She is mentioned in Cokie Roberts’s new book, Capital Dames, about the women in Washington DC during the civil war. Besides being an accomplished musician of the harp Vinnie was a gifted sculptor. At age 18, she received the first congressional commission to a female artist to sculpt the statue of President Lincoln that stands today in the Rotunda of our nations Capital.

Vinnie Ream

Vinnie Ream

Lincoln statue by Vinnie ReamWow! More people should know about Vinnie Ream and the NLAPW. Check out the website . You may want to look for a branch near you.

More to come in May- May 12th brings me to Cedar Elementary School in Hanover, MA for a school visit with the first graders. Then I’m on to Quebec City and I’m not quite sure what I will be doing there other than eating French food!



28 thoughts on “An Award Winning Weekend!

  1. Hi Mary Jo,
    I knew when I took a painting workshop with you several years ago, that you were a very special woman. It was a pleasure to spend those few days with you then, and enjoying all your successes with your children’s book now

  2. Congrats Mom!! I am so happy for you. You are such a wonderful role model and inspiration for your grand daughters. I am very proud of you and Happy Mother’s Day!!

    • Thank you Allison! I think my Mom would be proud if she were still alive. She was a first grade teacher for 20 years. I love teachers… and school librarians too!

  3. It’s so fun for us because now Rory and I can point to the fact that we KNOW “Award Winning” authors and illustrators! Rarefied air indeed! 🙂
    Love you.


  4. Congratulations on your award Mary Jo. You are an amazing woman. Your hard work dedication and talent is remarkable. Happy mother’s day.


  5. We are so proud of you. Wish mom could see this!! Such a large talent in such a small package. We know your next book will be just as wonderful as your first book! Love you?

  6. What a wonderful and well deserved award!
    Your sister keeps me up on all that you are doing and I am SO
    pleased for you! Can’t wait to see your next creative project.
    Judy Coleman (Buck Hill).

  7. Hi Mary Jo,
    I save your information and reread it. Always interesting and informative! Thank you.
    Congrats on all your traveling and being an inspiration to children and adults. It was exciting to see your name in the Otterbein Towers as the author of Lola.
    Keep up the good work and happy summer!

    • Hi Ann! When I write my blog, I always wonder what to write about? I just tell/show people what I am working on or doing and hope that they find it interesting. So I thank you for saying that you find my blog interesting! I love hearing that! Happy summer to you too!

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