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The Sandal Artist Wins Bock Book Award


The Sandal Artist

Neumann University has selected The Sandal Artist, written by Kathleen T. Pelley and illustrated by Lois Rosio Sprague, as the recipient of the 2013 Frances and Wesley Bock Book Award for Children’s Literature. The award will be presented on Friday, October 4, at 10:30 a.m. in the Neumann University Library.


This book tells the story about an ambitious young artist, Roberto, who was made to wear an old pair of sandals while waiting for his shoes to be repaired.  Roberto who aspires to be a “great artist” only paints things he considers beautiful, but can't seem to see the beauty in all that surrounds him, such as poor children playing, or old Stefano and his donkey. While wearing the sandals, however, he begins to see his surroundings in a different light and beauty in the people around him.

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 of Philadelphia, 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. Criteria for the award include text that is 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 includes The Ocean Story by John Seven, 2012; Mama The O Miti by Donna Jo Napoli, 2011; Felina’s New Home by Loran Wlodarski, 2010; Zen Ties by Jon Muth, 2009; 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.



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