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No Trouble Garnering Awards for St. John Writer

St. John author Cristina Kessler is off to Washington, D.C. in November to accept an award for her children’s book, “Trouble in Timbuktu.” She’ll receive the 2010 Honor Book for Older Readers from the Children’s Africana Book Award program on Nov. 6.

“I’m jazzed," Kessler said of the award. "I’m honored. I’m proud. I’m happy.”

The ceremony will be held at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art. While in Washington, she’ll participate in a special program at the Library of Congress’s Young Readers Center.

The Children’s Africana Book Awards come under the umbrella of the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association, a non-profit organization founded in 1957 and open to all persons and institutions interested in African affairs. The Outreach Council’s goal is to provide information about Africa.

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“Trouble in Timbuktu” is a story about twins Ahmed and Ayisha, on a quest to save three ancient manuscripts of Timbuktu, the ancient city in Mali, from being stolen. They also want to catch the thieves in the act so they can be punished as an example for all who might follow.

Kessler is the author of numerous books. This latest award tops a string of awards including another Africana Book Award in 2001 for “My Great-Grandmother’s Gourd.” She’s also received awards from the American Booksellers, the Junior Library Guild Association, New York Public Libraries, and many other organizations.

The California-born Kessler moved to St. John in 2001 when her husband, Joe Kessler, took a job as president of Friends of V.I. National Park.

After a stint in the Peace Corps, the couple spent nearly 20 years in Africa thanks to her husband’s job with the aid organization CARE. They have also lived in various other locations.

For more on Kessler’s books and awards, visit her website.

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