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From 1996-2014, the Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance presented an annual Once Upon A World Children's Book Award to two outstanding children's books.
To support and perpetuate the values and mandate of the Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance by honoring children's books aimed at young readers (ages 6-8) and older readers ("tweens" ages 9-12) which deal with issues of tolerance, diversity, and social justice, thus inspiring readers to promote positive change in the world.
Winning books demonstrated the following:
1. Heroic deeds that lead to tolerance and social justice
2. Acceptance of social and personal responsibility
3. Good communications between people
4. A sense of urgency and empowerment of the individual
5. The importance of history
The Once Upon A World Children's Book Award helped build the model collection of children's and young adult literature at the Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance Library. With a bountiful collection of books, spanning fiction, non-fiction, classics and contemporary subjects, these specialized holdings are an invaluable resource for librarians, educators, parents and children.
For a list of previous winners, please click HERE.
Statement From Sonia Levitin, author of Journey To America who, with her family, endowed the book award from 1997 to 2012.
"I am hoping that fifty years from now, the Once Upon A World Children's Book Award will seem a quaint thing of the past. My wish is that children will whisper to each other in astonishment: 'You mean, they gave awards for books that talked about--uh-people being good to each other? You mean, they had to write books about that?'"
"Imagine a future when embarrassed parents have to explain to their incredulous children that there was a time when certain people thought it was their right to dominate and persecute others: to enslave them, or worse still to murder them by the millions. Imagine, trying to explain why a man would kill another just because he didn't approve of the way he worshipped, or the flag he flew, or the anthem he sang. Imagine trying to explain the existence of Hate Groups. Imagine, being able to say: 'It was a different world back then...'"
"This is our dream: to help, in our small way, to bring about a better world through the children of today. A Once Upon A World, where there is complete understanding that every person has certain rights: they are inalienable, and they are universal."