Each year, Reach Out and Read of Greater New York presents awards to individuals and/or organizations in recognition of their extraordinary commitment towards promoting children’s literacy.

2015 Honorees


Joyce Wan, children’s author and illustrator, recipient of the Mills-Tannenbaum Award for Children’s Literacy.

Joyce Wan is an author-illustrator of several award-winning books for children, including You Are My Cupcake (Scholastic), We Belong Together (Scholastic), and The Whale In My Swimming Pool (FSG), which was a Junior Library Guild Spring 2015 selection. Sleepyheads (Simon & Schuster), written by Sandra J. Howatt, was most recently chosen as a CCBC 2015 Children’s Choice Selection.

Joyce designed her first greeting card when she was in first grade for a city-wide greeting card design contest. The design won first place and was sold through a major department store chain. Twenty years later that design would inspire her to launch Wanart design studio. Today, products featuring Joyce’s designs are sold worldwide.

When she’s not working on books, Joyce teaches courses at The School of Visual Arts in New York City. Joyce lives with her husband in New Jersey.

Through all her work, Joyce hopes to inspire people to embrace the spirit of childhood and follow their dreams.

About the Mills-Tannenbaum Award for Children’s Literacy

Founded by Gary Tannenbaum and Helen Mills, long-time advocates of children’s literacy in New York and dedicated supporters of the Reach Out and Read early literacy program, the award recognizes children’s book authors dedicated to promoting a lifelong love of reading in young children.

Read about last year’s award recipient Todd Parr:

Children’s Book Author/Illustrator Todd Parr to Receive 2014 Mills Tannenbaum Award for Children’s Literacy

Emelin Martinez Headshot circleEmelin Martinez, Reach Out and Read program manager at the Ambulatory Care Network of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, recipient of the Literacy Champion Award

Emelin Martinez manages the Reach Out and Read Program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. For the past nine years, Emelin has worked in partnership with community leaders and faculty members from the Medical Center to implement the ROR Program in the Ambulatory Care Network pediatric clinics of Northern Manhattan.

Under her leadership, the program has grown to serve over 10,000 children and families. To maximize the impact of ROR’s mission, Emelin has facilitated trainings for 1st year medical residents in addition to a network of community members who serve as program volunteers at several sites. She has also worked to build the capacity of community-based organizations to help improve childhood literacy rates in low-income, mostly immigrant neighborhoods.

To complement these efforts, Emelin created the Health Education and Adult Literacy (HEAL) Program, a volunteer-based initiative that trains pre-med and medical students to serve as volunteer patient educators in the aforementioned clinics.

Emelin’s background in education has fueled her commitment to ensuring that children of all socioeconomic backgrounds have the tools to achieve their full potential. A former certified teacher, Emelin has extensive experience working with children in an educational setting. She is passionate about working with young children everywhere, and has accordingly launched a series of professional development literacy workshops at a bilingual school in the Dominican Republic. As the 6th grade teacher and English Department Literacy Specialist, Emelin implemented several curriculums to help increase the literacy levels of children in grades 1 through 6. She also led professional development workshops in literacy for the faculty of the school.

Emelin received her Bachelor of Arts in Human Services, with a concentration in Elementary Education, from St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida.

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