April 13, 2009


When the Sid Fleischman Humor Award was announced in 2003 by the SCBWI, I turned to my husband and said, "I want to win this award someday." Hubby smiled and said, "You will. Someday."

I hadn't published a book yet, but I'd written several that had made the rounds and resided quietly in a filing cabinet. I had sold humorous greeting cards, essays for a variety of magazines and short stories, puzzles and poems. At that point, "someday" seemed a long way off.

The first year, 2003, the award was presented to Sid Fleischman to honor his body of work.

Each year, I watched fabulous authors win this prestigious award.

2004 -- Lisa Yee for Millicent Min, Girl Genius
2005 -- Gennifer Choldenko for Al Capone Does My Shirts
2006 -- David LaRochelle for Absolutely Positively Not
2007 -- Sara Pennypacker for Clementine
2008 -- No award given

Last Tuesday, I returned home from attending a play at our son's high school and listened to a message on our answering machine. "Hi, Donna. This is Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser from SCBWI. We're calling with some very happy news. Your novel has been awarded the Sid Fleischman Humor Award . . ." They said some other things about flying me to California this summer to accept the award, but I heard none of it.

I grabbed my husband and screamed, "I won the Sid Fleischman Humor Award!" He pulled back and said, "I knew you'd do it." I grabbed my sister, who was visiting from Philadelphia, and squeezed the stuffing out of her. And our boys. Then I screamed and screamed and screamed so loud and so long that I scared our dog half to death and managed to lose my voice for the next three days.

I replayed that message at least half a dozen times before calling Lin and Steve at SCBWI to confirm. It was true. I will be flown to the national conference in L.A. this August to accept the award and to give a workshop about writing humor for children.

Dreams really do come true . . .

2009 -- Donna Gephart for As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President!

In January 2008, I had the great pleasure of meeting Sid Fleischman when we were both speaking at the FL SCBWI conference in Miami. During the faculty dinner, Sid leaned over, touched my arm and said, "Your speech was fantastic." When I was able to breathe again, I replied, "It's my greatest ambition to win the award named after you." Sid nodded sadly. "I'm sorry to hear that. You really should have higher ambitions."

Thank you, Sid Fleischman!


Obsessedwithlife said...

Awesome! Congrats!!


Lisa Firke said...

Wow, what wonderful news! Congratulations, Donna!

Stephanie J. Blake said...

SO COOL!!!! And well-deserved. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Donna! Can't wait to see you next week.
(sorry I'm anonymous. Can't remember my Google password!)

Anonymous said...


Congratulations, Donna!

xo, Cynthia Lord

Lisa Yee said...

Wheeeeeeeee . . . congratulations!!!

Anonymous said...

CONGRATS DONNA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Yay for you and for Vanessa! I love the Sid quote.

candycana said...

Donna! I am soooo proud of you! Yes! Dreams DO come true! Congratulations!

kathleen duey said...

YAY YOU! And isn't Sid the best? I adore him and treasure the advice he has given me here and there over time.

See you in LA!


Danette Haworth said...


WOW! What a whirlwind, girl! How many more awards are you going to scoop up?!

What an excellent showing for your book. And now you're going to California--wowzie!


Paul R. May said...

Way to go, Donna!! This is so cool, and well-deserved! Congratulations!!!

Sylvia said...

Wooo-oooo! Hooray for our own award-winning author!
Congratulations, Donna!

We, in the West Palm Beach SCBWI group are so very proud of your achievements and your award, Donna.

Love that book! And Vanessa! And that Sid Fleischman Award!

We're thrilled for you.

Amanda Coppedge Bosky said...

WOWOWOWOW Donna!!!! I am so happy and proud!!!!

JKW said...

Hi Donna,
I knew you were the best of the best. Please don't stop.

Your teaching will be as fantastic as you are. Have fun with all of this.

Congratulations and God Bless you and family.

Jan Wilcox

G. Neri said...

So cool! Congrats. I guess now you are officially funny.

See you next week.

Virg said...

Donna, and to think we knew ya when you were just a philly girl with an attytood! Congrats and hi to all!!!

Anonymous said...

Just got the news! Fantastic! Hug LA for me.

Anonymous said...

Thrilled for you! Way to go! Congratulations! Laura

Anonymous said...


Edrian said...

Donna, This is fantastic! I am so happy for you! You really deserve it!

Anonymous said...

I sent you an e-mail, Donna, but I have to leave a message here, too...this is just so fantastic! Enjoy every minute, and I hope to see you in L.A. this summer!

Marjorie Flathers

Wild About Words said...

Thanks so much for the kind and generous words. Sharing the news with such wonderful people is what makes it feel so special.

Unknown said...

Congratulations, Donna! Virginia passes on her best as well.

Kelly Milner Halls said...

Donna, we've known each other a long time and I've always known you had the chops. It's SO nice to hear Lin and Steve recognized it too. It couldn't happen to a nicer person or a better writer. Well done, my friend. Well done.

Kelly : )

PS Why wasn't the award given in 2008? Do you know?

Debby G said...

Congratulations! What a great honor!

Anonymous said...


You Rock!

Jill N.

Anna said...

Great congrats!
Really happy to hear that. And your post is really on time. I'm a bit laid off for loosing a contest I wanna win no matter what. But this is my first year writing seriously, so I guess I'll have to wait.
Thanks a lot for the post,and for not giving up. You are inspiring :)

Anonymous said...

Great news for a great book! Congratulations. Chip Gibson (RHCB)

Anonymous said...

Your excitement tells me this award is really special. I'm so happy for you!


Linda said...


Linda S. M.

nicole matthesen said...

donna, so happy to hear!!! thats very honorarble thing to receive. CONGRATS from the north! my mom told me the story sounded pretty funny! (poor lady, hahah) hope i get to see you sometime this summer

xoxo nicole

Unknown said...

Absolutely FANTASTIC!!!

See you in LA!

jan godown annino said...

Way to go, girl.
Such a funny thing Mr. Fleishman said back to you when you met him, he loved your talk & you revealed your goal.

This is not only a tribute to your writing skills, but also a lasting validation for us all, of naming a goal, staking out the territory & putting it at the top of the writing list.
Would enjoy meeting you some time.
Say hi to wonderful Linda for those of us up here in North Florida.


Z-Kids said...


Barbara Cairns said...

Congratulations, Donna!
I loved the fact that you had a goal,focused on that goal and then reached it. Way to go!