Zen Ties by Jon Muth
Neumann University will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Bock Book Award this year by awarding the prize to Zen Ties by Jon Muth. The Frances and Wesley Bock Book Award for Children’s Literature is awarded each year by the Neumann University Library and the Neumann Institute for Franciscan Studies.
According to the book, Zen Ties is a disarming story of compassion and friendship that reaffirms the importance of our ties to one another.
Wesley Bock was co-owner of Kilner’s, a store in north central Philadelphia that provided equipment, clothing, and supplies to religious institutions. As a sales representative to the Sisters of St. Francis, he grew to be quite fond of the Sisters and began making contributions to the order.
When Wesley passed away, his wife Frances continued the contributions. When she passed away, the estate passed to their nephew, who, in consultation with the library, established the Bock Book Award in their memory.
The award acknowledges Franciscan values in children’s books and gives each year’s winner a prize of $500, a plaque, and a gold emblazoned emblem for the book. The text for the book should be values-oriented, interesting and stimulating for ages 3-8 years, and pleasing and aesthetic. The illustrations should provide support for interpreting the story, instill a reverence for and compassion for all creation, and depict creation, in all of its diversity. Both the text and illustrations should promote a moral attitude and/or action.
Previous winners include We Are One by Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell, 2008; Brother Juniper by Diane Gibfried, 2007; Daniel and His Walking Stick by Wendy McCormick, 2006; Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming, 2005; The Boy with a Wish by Harry B. Knights, 2004; In the Blink of an Eye by Dieter Wiesmuller, 2003; Where does God Live? By Holly Bea, illustrated by Kim Howard, 2002; Each Living Thing by Joanne Ryder, illustrated by Ashley Wolff, 2001; and Saint Francis and the Christmas Donkey by Robert Byrd, 2000.