March 5, 2012

Antioch University Los Angeles Announces 2012 Horace Mann Upstanders Book Award Winner: Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri

Neri to be presented with honor at Fifth Annual Children’s Literature Conference

CULVER CITY, CA – March 5, 2012- Antioch University Los Angeles has announced its 2012 Horace Mann Upstanders Book Awardwinner; Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri. Neri will be presented with the award at the 5th Annual Horace Mann Upstanders Book Award Conference on Saturday, June 16, 2012, from 9:00am to 3:00pm at Wildwood School (elementary campus).The award honors new children’s literature that best exemplifies the ideals of social action and in turn encourages young readers to become agents of change themselves.

“I love that this award exists. Nothing is more important than teaching about injustice in the world and that anyone can become an agent of social change,” says Neri. “Cole, the main character in Ghetto Cowboy, is not only an outcast and an outsider; he’s a black teenager with an attitude. But even he comes to learn that there’s real power in living the Cowboy Way. All it takes is one person to make a stand. Thank you for choosing this book for this honor. Cole would be proud. Rise up and ride on!”

Two additional awards will be presented at the 5th Annual Children’s Literature Conference.The Outstanding Community Upstander Award will be presented to Father Greg Boyle, author of “Tattoos on my Heart” and founder of Homeboy Industries. Sam Swope,author of The Araboolies of Liberty Street, will be honored with The Horace Mann Upstanders Lifetime Achievement Book Award.

The Upstander Award was created by J. Cynthia McDermott, Ed.D., Fulbright Scholar and Professor and Education Department Chair at Antioch University Los Angeles. “We started the award to honor authors who create characters who portray “upstander” behavior, or, those who stand up to injustice and who act in a way to right the wrong,” said McDermott. “We encourage our teachers to be Upstanders and want to encourage the production of more literature that does the same.”

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $20.00 at for $25.00 at the door the day of the conference. (AULA alumni and Wildwood School employees may purchase tickets for $12.00.) Ticket prices include award presentations, author discussions and breakout groups; and a boxed lunch from Homegirl Café. Teachers will receive one Continuing Education Unit through Antioch University Seattle.  Wildwood School (elementary campus) is located at 12201 Washington Place, Los Angeles, CA 90066. The conference is sponsored by Antioch University Los Angeles Education Department and Wildwood School (elementary campus).

About Ghetto Cowboy:  From a 2011 Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor winner comes a street-smart tale about a displaced teen who learns to defend what’s right– the Cowboy Way.Ghetto Cowboy published by Candlewick Press, is inspired by the real life black urban cowboys in Philadelphia. The story is about an 11 year old named Cole who is abandoned on the doorstep of the father he’s never met—a black urban cowboy in Philly. Stuck in a strange new world filled with odd characters and big animals, Cole befriends a runt of a horse named Boo. He thinks about running away, but when the City threatens to destroy his dad’s stables, Cole finds his inner cowboy. Together with Boo, Cole rallies the other cowboys to defend their turf, the Cowboy Way.

Horace Mann was a renowned educator, architect of the American Public School System, social reformer and abolitionist. His goal was to create an educational environment that was stimulating and unconventional in its approach to learning. The teacher education program at Antioch University Los Angeles encourages both teacher candidates and masters students to work in urban schools where issues of mediocre education and life challenges loom large.

About Antioch University Los Angeles

Antioch University Los Angeles (AULA) provides a rigorous progressive education to prepare students for the complexities of today’s diverse societies. AULA, a not-for-profit institution and part of the Antioch University system, has served the greater Los Angeles area for 40 years. The core values of social justice, service to the community and lifelong learning lie at the heart of the BA degree completion program and master’s degree programs in Organizational Management, Education and Teacher Credentialing, Psychology, Creative Writing, and Urban Sustainability.

Inspired by the work of pioneering educator Horace Mann, Antioch University provides learner-centered education to empower students with the knowledge and skills to lead meaningful lives and to advance social, economic, and environmental justice. With campuses in Keene, New Hampshire, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Seattle, and Yellow Springs, Ohio, Antioch University is a bold and enduring source of innovation in higher education. The University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.