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March 2023 - BETWEEN THE PAGES: New Mexico Press Womens' Book Winners

The New Mexico Press Women held their annual conference and awards banquet. Writers from all over New Mexico submitted their books and other writing projects for a chance to win a coveted ranking. Two of the books that won first place have a lot in common. They both focus on history and facing hard times with perseverance. First is Katy Hammel’s tween historical fiction book, Meg and the Rocks. The story follows Meg Binnenkerk and her family as they work with a Japanese internment camp in California, and it follows the development of the materials for the atomic bomb. Meg based her character on Katy’s mom, and the book weaves two intricate stories into a powerful narrative. Katy said, “This contest involves the no-nonsense journalists and communicators in our state who make it their life’s work to get important stories told. I’m proud they honored my writing.” Also in First Place was Loretta Hall’s nonfiction young adult book, Higher, Faster, longer: Wally Funk. Wally grew up in the 1940s in Taos, loved aviation, and received her pilot’s license in college. In her 20s, she learned that NASA was selecting the first astronauts. Funk volunteered to take the same grueling tests as the men. She passed and ultimately became one of the Mercury 13 (but due to limitations placed on women couldn’t be an astronaut). But you’ll have to read the book to see how she finally made her way into space. Loretta said, “The book encourages young people to pursue their dreams.”


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