2022 Dolly Gray Award Winners

 Picture Book: Dancing with Daddy by Anitra Rowe Schulte (author) & Ziyue Chen (illustrator)

Chapter Book: Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos

CONGRATULATIONS to Anitra Rowe Schulte and Ziyue Chen for their picture book, Dancing with Daddy, a beautifully depicted story of Elsie, a young girl who is looking forward to a daddy-daughter dance when a storm threatens to dash her dreams. Inspired by one of Schulte's daughters who has Wolf- Hirshhorn Syndrome, Elsie uses a wheelchair for mobility (which doesn't stop her from dancing!), eats using a g-tube, and uses an alternative communication device to assist her in engaging with her family and community. 

CONGRATULATIONS to Nicole Panteleakos for her middle-grade novel, Planet Earth is Blue. Set in 1986 prior to the launch of the space shuttle Challenger, twelve-year old Nova and her older sister Bridget are fascinated with astronomy. Nova has autism and is nonverbal, and it seems only Bridget understands how bright Nova really is. When Bridget disappears, Nova continues to reach out to her sister by writing her notes that are unintelligible to others. A story of sibling love, foster care, and space exploration, this book will entertain and engage readers of all ages. 

We appreciate all the authors, illustrators, and publishers who have submitted books to be considered for the 2022 award. These books are making an impact toward the general public’s recognition of the positive societal contributions of individuals with developmental disabilities, greater understanding and acceptance by teachers and school-aged peers, and encouragement of authors and illustrators to publish quality literature with authentic depictions of characters with developmental disabilities.

See a list of all books considered for the 2022 award here.

See brief synopses for all books considered for the 2022 award here.

Anitra Rowe Schulte & Ziyue Chen, Dolly Gray Award Acceptance Speech

January 26, 2022

Description of the Award

The Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award recognizes authors, illustrators, and publishers of high quality fictional and biographical children, intermediate, and young adult books that authentically portray individuals with developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, and Down syndrome.

Every even year, the award is presented to an author and illustrator (if appropriate) of a children's picture book, an intermediate, and/or a young adult book that includes appropriate portrayals of individuals with developmental disabilities.


This award is made possible through the dedicated work, creative insight, and funding from many individuals and organizations: the Council for Exceptional Children's Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD), Brigham Young University's McKay School of Education, the BYU Harold B. Lee Library, The Foundation for Enriching Families with Disabilities, and committee members and panelists,. We express our appreciation to the authors, illustrators, and publishers of the eligible and award-winning books, Dolly Gray and her family, and individuals with developmental disabilities and their families worldwide.

Dolly Gray Award Highlighted on Worlds Awaiting Podcast

Join Rachel Wadham, Education and Juvenile Literature Librarian, and Tina Taylor-Dyches, from the McKay School of Education at Brigham Young University as they discuss children’s literature that includes characters with disabilities and the Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award on the Worlds Awaiting radio program. Worlds Awaiting is a weekly program for grownups who care about children, with topics that will help the rising generation discover literature and experience the world around them.

This broadcast aired live Saturday, August 5, 2017. You can listen to the interview on the Worlds Awaiting website here.