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The Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance Library and Archives annually provides the Once Upon A World Children's Book Award to two outstanding children's books.

Award Mission

To support and perpetuate the values and mandate of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance by honoring children's books, aimed at young readers (ages 6-10) and young adults (ages 11+), which deal with issues of tolerance, diversity, human understanding and social justice, thus inspiring readers to promote positive change in the world.

Winning books demonstrate the following:

  1. Heroic deeds that lead to tolerance and social justice.
  2. Acceptance of social and personal responsibility.
  3. Good communications between people.
  4. A sense of urgency and empowerment of the individual.
  5. The importance of history.

The Once Upon A World Children's Book Award builds the model collection of children's and young adult literature at the Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance Library. With a bountiful collection of books, spanning fiction, non-fiction, classics and contemporary subjects. these specialized holdings have become an invaluable resource for librarians, educators, parents and children.

Statement From Sonia Levitin, author of Journey To America who, with her family, have endowed the book award in perpetuity.

"I am hoping that fifty years from now, the Once Upon A World Children's Book Award will seem a quaint thing of the past. My wish is that children will whisper to each other in astonishment: 'You mean, they gave awards for books that talked about--uh-people being good to each other? You mean, they had to write books about that?'"

"Imagine a future when embarrassed parents have to explain to their incredulous children that there was a time when certain people thought it was their right to dominate and persecute others: to enslave them, or worse still to murder them by the millions. Imagine, trying to explain why a man would kill another just because he didn't approve of the way he worshipped, or the flag he flew, or the anthem he sang. Imagine trying to explain the existence of Hate Groups. Imagine, being able to say: 'It was a different world back then...'"

"This is our dream: to help, in our small way, to bring about a better world through the children of today. A Once Upon A World, where there is complete understanding that every person has certain rights: they are inalienable, and they are universal."

For information regarding submission, please see: submissions 2010.

Sonia Levitin, author of
Journey To America

Winner 2008 Award
Winner 2007 Award
Winner 2006 Award
Winner 2005 Award
Winner 2004 Award
Winner 2003 Award
Winner 2002 Award