Amelia Island Book Festival
Author Coordinator, Past President
Raffaela Marie Rizzo Fenn
April 6, 2018 11:00 p.m.
During the recently concluded 17th annual three-day Amelia Island Book Festival the following were named winners in The Amelia Island Book Festival Awards program in several categories.
Festival Honorary Chairman Steve Berry, along with AIBF Board President Dr. John Ruis, congratulated the 2018 Book Festival Award Winners at a special ceremony, Saturday, February 17, during the Author Expo.
The 2018 Stellar Award was presented to Kentrell Martin, author of the Shelly’s Adventure series of books for children. Growing up with a deaf brother, Martin saw how the world viewed deaf people. He created Shelly’s Adventures so that he could introduce children and parents to American Sign Language and the deaf culture. Mr. Martin views his Shelly’s Adventures, Inc. as a company that will play a part in helping bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing worlds. He has made scores of visits to schools all across Florida and Georgia and is now getting out to other parts of the country. Mr. Martin has been chosen several times by our Nassau County schools as one of our Authors in Schools Literacy Program presenters and the festival gifted his books to our Nassau County students. Also, Kentrell was a speaker at the recent AIBF’s Tween/Teen Scene event. A past recipient of this award himself, Berry said, “This Stellar Award is presented to you, Kentrell Martin, for inspiring children to read and write through your participation in the Authors in Schools Literacy Program and Tween/Teen Scene, and for creating valuable stories bringing awareness to the needs of those with disabilities.”
The Literacy Champion Award is given annually to a person who has made a significant contribution to literacy in our local community. Although not normally given to someone who is an author, in 2017 this award went to David Baldacci for his help in promoting literacy through the ”Wish You Well Foundation”, which he formed with his wife, Michelle.
This is a highly prestigious award with nominations coming from the AIBF Board of Directors, the Award Committee and past Board and Advisory Board members. The final selection is by vote of the Board. The 2018 Literacy Champion Award was given to Sue Nelson. Ms. Nelson is owner of the Book Loft. She has been a partner with the Book Festival in so many capacities–as a sponsor and on-site bookseller, and a force in fundraising. A local landmark in the historic district, Ms. Nelson has made the Book Loft a haven for authors, children and community groups, while promoting literacy in every form and fashion. Mr. Berry said, “The Literacy Champion award is awarded to you, Sue Nelson, for offering a supportive environment for local authors and promoting events that encourage the joy of reading, writing and lifelong learning among people of all ages.”
The Live Oak Award is presented to someone who has been invaluable to the Amelia Island Book Festival in helping it achieve its goals of promoting lifelong learning. Last year, Steve Berry was the recipient of this award for his work with the festival as honorary chairman and for his help over the years.
This award is given to someone who has made a significant difference in helping the Festival achieve its goals of lifelong learning, especially among students. The 2018 Live Oak Award was presented to Jim Weinsier. In making the presentation, Mr. Berry said, “The 2018 Live Oak Award is presented to you, Jim Weinsier, for your positive, ‘can do’ attitude and unceasing willingness to help in any way needed to execute the goals of the Amelia Island Book Festival—serving as past Board Director and vice president and currently as a tireless ambassador and volunteer for the Festival.”
The Book Island Literary Awards—fiction and non-fiction. These author awards were established in the last few years to recognize excellence among emerging authors who are registered to exhibit at the Festival’s Expo. The submitted books are judged by an independent, group of professionals, comprised of authors, editors, educators and literary critics against a set of specific criteria.
The 2018 Book Island Literary Award for Fiction was presented to author Randall Reneau for his book The Paloma Crossing. The 2018 Book Island Literary Award for Non-Fiction was presented to Elizabeth Osta for her book saving Faith. These books were recognized as outstanding works with distinctive voice, compelling story, originality and well-crafted writing, exemplifying the values of reading and promoting literacy.