Gettysburg College grads, profs win international book awards

Two Gettysburg College graduates and two faculty members have won international book awards.

The Nepalese Society for Children's Literature this month named Search for a New Clean Home by Jackie Powell '09 and Sneha Shrestha '10 its 2011 Best Book for children under 8.

In the summer of 2009, Powell and Shrestha went to Nepal on a Davis Projects for Peace grant. Their goals were to develop a library for a school and work on literacy projects for children. An article describes their project.

Search for a New Clean Home is "about environmental issues and solutions," said Powell. "It's a book about the state of your personal environment and your responsibility to take care of it." Kathalaya Publication in Kathmandu is the publisher.

Powell majored in environmental studies, Spanish-Latin American studies, and globalization studies. A story describes her summer service-learning experience in Nicaragua. Shrestha, who hails from Kathmandu, majored in globalization studies and studio art. An article about her art is here.

• José Montelongo, Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish, received an international book award for his work, Mi abuelo fue agente secreto (My Grandfather Was a Secret Agent).

Authors from 27 countries sent entries to the competition Invenciones 2010, an award devoted to literature for children and young adults. More than 600 books competed for the two categories of the award: illustrated book and narrative. Montelongo, a native of Mexico, won in the category of narrative. The award comes with $10,000 and the publication of the book. Montelongo received the award at the Guadalajara International Book Fair on Nov. 30, 2010.

My Grandfather Was a Secret Agent, which will be published in Mexico within the next few months, recounts the life of Jesús Galindo, member of the Mexican Secret Service in the 1930's and 1940's. The author hopes to publish it along with photographs and documents belonging to his grandfather.

"In the beginning I was planning to publish the book myself, 50 copies or so to give away to family and friends, a sort of memento to my grandfather," the author said. "Later I realized it was a text that could be read and enjoyed by a wider audience, partly because of the political and historical context, partly because it is an unusual profession, a dangerous and delicate job."

• Gettysburg College Prof. Emelio Betances received the Dominican Republic's National Book Award in the scientific essay category.

The Dominican Ministry of Culture honored Betances, a professor of sociology and Latin American studies, for his book The Catholic Church and Power Politics in Latin America: The Dominican Case in Comparative Perspective. In granting the award in the summer of 2010, the ministry lauded the book's rigorous social-science methodology.

The book, which Betances discusses in a video, analyzes the circumstances that allowed the Catholic Church in the Dominican Republic to accommodate the political and social establishment: the Church offered nonpartisan political mediation, rebuilt its ties with the lower echelons of society, and responded to the challenges of the evangelical movement. Betances' historical examination of church-state relations in the Dominican Republic leads to important regional comparisons and a broader understanding of the Church in the whole of Latin America.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Jim Hale, senior staff writer

Posted: Fri, 15 Apr 2011

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