was one of the authors who responded to the invitation by Dorothy
C. McKenzie and a few of her close friends and colleagues in the
spring of 1961 to found a society called The Southern California
Council on Literature for Children and Young People, or, SCCLCYP,
(now known as Children's Literature Council of Southern California).
The new organization was created to promote greater interest in
literature for children and young people and to help in developing
standards of excellence in this field.
goals were important to her as evidenced by a note in the 1965 newsletter,
whose first editor was Clyde Robert Bulla, where he wrote that Myra
would be appearing in a one-week symposium designed to acquaint
educators and librarians with standards of excellence in poetry
to be held at the University of California at Berkeley. From then
on, Myra's name and photogenic image are scattered through the issues
of The Sampler, as recipient of numerous awards and, in 1968
for "Comprehensive Contribution of Lasting Value in the Field
of Literature for Children and Young People." But Myra was
not a prima donna. She served on SCCLCYP committees, took her turns
as award "presenter," and attended as many events as possible
to cheer on and congratulate her fellow authors.
Myra received Special Recognition for Excellence in a Poetry Quartet
in 1989, author and friend Michael Cart said, "So various are
her voices - poet, critic, anthologist, editor, teacher - and so
widespread the range of her interests - that Myra, as multi-voiced
singer, seems sometimes to rival even the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
As editor and anthologist, for example, she has set the standard
which all others must strive to emulate. As a critic, her hallmarks
are both her unwavering belief that we must care enough to send
only the very best in books to children...and her courage in challenging
all those - no matter how popular, powerful, or fashionable - who
dare to merchandise the meretricious."
'the stepchildren of children's literature,' are always surprised
by recognition of their work," Myra noted in her acceptance
speech. "Recognition in turn imposes a responsibility to live
up to it. Talent is not enough," she declared, using the title
words of her fellow luncheon speaker, Molly Hunter, "talent
requires other people who extend the reach of the writer - notably
teachers, leagues, past and present for being the voice, mind, and
spirit of the organization, and concluded, "May there always
be a SCCLCYP."
this award, we pay tribute and thank Myra Cohn Livingston for her
talent and her work. May there always be talented, dedicated people
like her to inspire all of us.