Jan. 18, 2006
Sandra Johnson Morrow, librarian for 22 years at Brentwood Christian Schools in Austin, will receive one of 12 Distinguished Alumni Citations being presented from Abilene Christian University during its Centennial year.
A ceremony and reception will take place at her church, Westover Hills Church of Christ, in Austin on Sunday, Jan. 22, at 4:30 p.m.
Morrow's extensive career as an educator along with many years of Christian service to the community, including helping hurricane evacuees, starting church libraries in other countries and helping charter the National Christian Librarian’s Association, has proved her eligibility for this honor.
Her interest in books started at an early age.
"When I was 6, my parents took me to the county library and checked out George Washington Carver, Boy Scientist, by Augusta Stevenson," Morrow said.
"When the overdue notice came, I hid the book because I assumed it was the only copy in the world, and I had never heard of a bookstore. Of course I had to return the book, and after the nickel fine was paid, I was allowed to check it out again and again. I believe that God-given experience helped shape my career as a future champion for quality children’s literature."
Throughout her career, Morrow has earned a number of awards for her service as a librarian and educator. In 2001, she received the Teacher of the Year Award for Outstanding Contribution to Christian Education from the Texas Christian Schools Association. The same year she received the Vaughn D. Luster, Jr., Educator of the Year award from the National Christian School Association.
In 1992, she created the Children's Crown Awards to encourage elementary and junior high students to read wholesome and uplifting books by providing lists of outstanding literature. Each year the award recognizes 20 high-quality, wholesome and uplifting children’s books.
Librarians from around the country began calling Brentwood Christian Schools, asking how they could become involved with the program. Brentwood’s junior high librarian asked Morrow to create an award for the junior high level, and in 1994, the Lamplighter Awards were born. In 2000, the Children’s Crown Gallery, a K-2 picture book category, was established.
"Our influence far exceeds participating schools, because so many public schools use our program or our list informally," Morrow said. "The children's representatives at Borders in Austin has our list, and Barnes & Noble has our books and brochures about the program. Parents want the best for their children, so why not provide the best books?"
In 2005, Thomas Nelson Publishers invited Morrow and 33 other librarians to its headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., for a conference to establish the National Christian Librarians’ Association.
Morrow graduated from ACU with a degree in education in 1966 and received her library certification from the University of Texas in 1973. She is married to Troy and has two sons, Paul and Kile.
Morrow said that she loves searching in bookstores and libraries for the newest titles in children's literature.
"It's a great gift to hand a book to a child and watch their eyes light up and know that everything in it is going to be just fine for them to read," she said.
For more information about the honor or presentation, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 325-674-2622.
If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact ACU's Public Relations Office.