LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2018) — A third international book award has been presented to University of Kentucky Professor Emeritus Edward Stanton for his young adult, prehistorical fiction novel “Wide as the Wind” (2016, Open Books Press).
He was recently awarded the Silver Feathered Quill Book Award in the category of teen fiction (13-18 years).
Stanton’s “Wide as the Wind” first won the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Award for Young Adult Fiction, presented by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group. A few months later in October 2017, Stanton was awarded the coveted Moonbeam Children’s Book Award by the Jenkins Group for authors, illustrators and publishers from the United States, Canada and six additional countries.
“Wide as the Wind” tells the story of the 15-year-old son of a tribal warrior who abandons his warring, starving island to search a dangerous ocean for the precious seeds to regrow the life-giving forests of his homeland. Described by the publisher as “a timely piece of environmental fiction,” “Wide as the Wind” is the first novel of any genre to deal with the stunning, tragic history of Easter Island and its implications for our modern world. It has been described as “both a stirring novel of adventure and a prophetic tale for our times.”
That’s an impressive achievement for any book, much less one written for middle and high school “young adults.”
Formerly a professor of Hispanic studies at UK, Stanton relied on the decade he spent researching and visiting Easter Island to create “Wide as the Wind.”
Easter Island is a small, isolated volcanic island of about 63 square miles, more than 1,000 miles from any of its closest neighboring islands, and more than 2,000 miles west of Chile. The island’s most distinctive landmarks are the massive and mysterious ancient stone statues, called moai, that ring the island’s coastline. National Geographic has speculated that “the moai were created to honor ancestors, chiefs or other important personages. However, no written and little oral history exists on the island, so it’s impossible to be certain.”
Stanton particularly wanted to share the Polynesian culture’s heroic prehistoric exploration of the vast Pacific Ocean in wooden canoes, guided only by their courage and curiosity. Experts have called this exploration the greatest feat in human prehistory, as courageous as our first voyages into outer space 50 years ago.
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