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Astrid Sheckels' "Nic and Nellie" wins Moonbeam Book Award


Children's author and illustrator Astrid Sheckels' picture book, Nic and Nellie, about a young girl who spends the summer away from home for the first time, received the 2013 Moonbeam Children's Book Award for Best Picture Book - All Ages. 

The Moonbeam Awards, presented by Jenkins Group and Independent Publisher Magazine, celebrates the year's best children's books, authors, and illustrators. 

This is Sheckels' second Moonbeam award in the past three years. Along with author Robert Baldwin, she won a Gold Medal, Best Picture Book, for The Fish House Door in 2010. Sheckels also illustrated The Scallop Christmas, which received a 2009 Maine Lupine Honor Award for a picture book of outstanding merit.

All three of Sheckels' award-winning books were published by Islandport Press and are set along the coast of Maine and Massachusetts. Sheckels' gorgeous watercolor images wonderfully capture the look, feel, and spirit of Maine and help bring the stories to life. Nic and Nellie is her first book as both author and illustrator.

"Astrid is a special young talent," said Dean L. Lunt, publisher of Islandport Press. "We are excited for her and thrilled at the much-deserved recognition she is receiving. In today's world of books and publishing where there is a strong prejudice toward established creators or stars, it is not always easy for new authors and illustrators to break in or stand out."

 Sheckels is a native of the small farming town of Hatfield, Massachusetts. She has been telling and illustrating stories since childhood. A talented artist who works primarily in watercolors, Sheckels has also won awards for her fine art, including the Archibald Macleish Prize for Art (2003) and the Medici Award in Visual Arts (2004). She lives and works in Greenfield, Mass. 

 The Moonbeam Children's Book Awards are designed to bring increased recognition to exemplary children's books and their creators, and to support childhood literacy and life-long reading. Awards are given in 36 categories covering a full range of subjects, styles, and age groups. To learn more about the award, visit