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FOCAL Award Luncheon Honoring Author Uma Krishnaswami for Her Book STEP UP TO THE PLATE MARIA SINGH

By Carolinearnoldtravel @CarolineSArnold

FOCAL Award Luncheon Honoring Author Uma Krishnaswami for Her Book STEP UP TO THE PLATE MARIA SINGH

Uma Krishnaswami, Author of Step Up to the Plate Maria Singh

Last Saturday was the 39th annual FOCAL Award Luncheon, held at the elegant Smereldi's Restaurant at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. (FOCAL–Friends of Children and Literature–is the support group of the Los Angeles Public Library Children’s Department.)

FOCAL Award Luncheon Honoring Author Uma Krishnaswami for Her Book STEP UP TO THE PLATE MARIA SINGH

Uma Krishnaswami and Caroline Gill, FOCAL President

This year’s honoree was author Uma Krishnaswami for her middle grade novel Step Up to the Plate Maria Singh, about a young girl living in Yuba City, California, during World War II, who wants to play baseball on the school team.

FOCAL Award Luncheon Honoring Author Uma Krishnaswami for Her Book STEP UP TO THE PLATE MARIA SINGH

Book sale table and committee member Meredith McGowan

Maria copes with the disapproval of her traditionalist Mexican mother and the many financial worries of her doting Punjabi father as she tries to fit in with the other students at her school. In her excellent speech accepting the FOCAL award, Uma Krishnaswami told us how she got the idea for this historical fiction story and the background of this little known culturally blended group in the Yuba City area of northern California.

FOCAL Award Luncheon Honoring Author Uma Krishnaswami for Her Book STEP UP TO THE PLATE MARIA SINGH

Student winners of the essay contest: Rachel Hume, Christopher T. Redekopp, Olive R. Sanders. With Sandy Schuckett, Essay Judge Chair and Uma Krishnaswami

I always enjoy going to the FOCAL Award Luncheon. It is an opportunity to see friends, hear the student winners of the essay contest read their insightful essays about why they would like to meet the author, see the wonderful book theme centerpieces made by the art students of Ray Moscoszkowicz at Nobel Middle School and the puppets created by Jesse Kingsley and Moira Lael Macdonald, and, of course, to enjoy a delicious lunch.

FOCAL Award Luncheon Honoring Author Uma Krishnaswami for Her Book STEP UP TO THE PLATE MARIA SINGH

Jesse Kingsley and his puppets of Maria Singh. One was given to the author and the other to the Children's Room at LAPL

For four years I served on the Award Committee and I know how hard it is to select just one book for the award.

FOCAL Award Luncheon Honoring Author Uma Krishnaswami for Her Book STEP UP TO THE PLATE MARIA SINGH

Carol Raby, Chair of Award Committee

Nominees are books for children that take place in California or shed light on some aspect of California life or history. (For a list of past winners, click HERE.)

FOCAL Award Luncheon Honoring Author Uma Krishnaswami for Her Book STEP UP TO THE PLATE MARIA SINGH

Renny Day, VP Correspondence, Membership, FOCAL Points Editor and Barbara Metzenbaum, Past President

I thank all the hard working members of the 2018 Award Committee for their excellent choice, the judges of the Essay Contest and the students and their parents and teachers for their enthusiasm for the book, and the members of the FOCAL Board for their support of the library and for putting on another excellent Award Luncheon.

FOCAL Award Luncheon Honoring Author Uma Krishnaswami for Her Book STEP UP TO THE PLATE MARIA SINGH

Centerpiece depicting Maria playing baseball; made by students of Ray Moszkowicz at Noble Middle School



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