2009 New Voices Award Winners
New York, NY—January 25, 2010—LEE & LOW BOOKS is proud to announce that Tiare Williams Solorzano of Citrus Heights, California, is the winner of the New Voices Award Honor for 2009. Her exuberant story, Little Fish, portrays a hard-working young Haitian girl, Lisette, who wants to participate in carnaval—a vibrant festival full of costumes, parades, and music. Since her family does not have money to spare, Lisette must use her resourcefulness and creativity to discover her own unique way to shine. With sweet, realistic storytelling, Ms. Solorzano brings to life the joy and beauty of Haitian culture.
Ms. Solorzano is an African American writer who first became interested in Haiti while researching her own family tree and learning of possible French-Creole roots. After more exploration of the island culture, she was hooked and wanted to share what she had learned with young readers. With Little Fish she hoped to create "an honest portrait of Haitian life." Although Lisette is from a poor family, representing some of the harsher realities for many Haitians, Ms. Solorzano also wanted "to emphasize the bright colors, close family ties, the beautiful natural setting, and joyful celebrations" that make this culture so special. Currently, Ms. Solorzano is a full-time writer who has not yet been published. She is inspired by the work of other writers including Beverly Cleary, Jamie Gilson, and Ellen Conford. Ms. Solorzano has three young children. She will receive a prize of $500 for her winning story.