Jane Kurtz, author of 30 children's books, including a book about the Grand Forks floods of 1997, will be honored on Saturday with the University of Minnesota' s highest honor for children's literature, the Kerlan Award.
Kurtz will be honored at 1:15 p.m. at the Elmer Andersen Library at a free and public ceremony, where she will talk and show pictures of the flood, Ethiopia, and what she calls her other "Minneapolis heart connections."
The daughter of missionaries, Kurtz was born in Oregon and grew up in Ethiopia, but lived in Grand Forks for a dozen years and was active in the Twin Cities writing community and Ethiopian adoption community. She now lives in Kansas.
Her books include "River Friendly, River Wild," about the flooding Red River; "Lanie's Real Adventures," which was American Girl's book of the year in 2010; and "Do Kangaroos Wear Seat Belts?"
Kurtz is on the faculty of the MFA in children's literature at Vermont College and still travels regularly to Ethiopia, where she is a volunteer and supporter of the Ethiopia Reads program, which plants free libraries for children who have never before had the chance to hold a book.