Children’s book about Lewes wins state press association award

March 13, 2019

The Lewes Historical Society announced that its publication, “The Lost Locket of Lewes,” won the first-place award in children’s fiction from the Delaware Press Association.

In this beautifully illustrated book, readers join Virginia and Rodney as they discover a world in Lewes that spans two centuries. Through its unique blend of fiction and nonfiction, readers are introduced to life in Lewes in 1893, when King’s Ice Cream was a fish market and Biblion was a men’s clothing shop. Leah Burton, the daughter of Dr. Rodney Burton, helps the twins solve the mystery of the locket.

Author Ilona Holland drew her story inspiration from an actual locket owned by the Lewes Historical Society. The keepsake containing a lock of hair and a photograph was found on Lewes Beach after the Great Blizzard of March 1888. No one knows how it ended up on the beach or who once owned it.

After researching the Journals of the Lewes Historical Society, and interviewing Hazel Brittingham and Mike DiPaolo, Holland created this original story for all ages. Since the book’s release in September 2018, Holland has visited many area schools to share both the book and the creative process of writing historical fiction. Children respond with enthusiasm and keen interest as they learn about life in Lewes in 1893, and engage with the mystery and humor of the story.

“I am very honored to have received this recognition. I hope it will mean that more children will have the opportunity to read the book and become interested in history,” said Holland.

Ilona Holland has more than 20 years of experience as a consultant advising writers and producers on how to best communicate educational topics. She received her master’s and doctorate degrees in reading and cognition from Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and she has served on Harvard’s faculty for more than a decade.

Holland serves as a trustee of the Lewes Historical Society, is on the board of the Children’s Beach House and is a member of the Delaware Council on Libraries.

“The Lost Locket of Lewes” is available at the Lewes History Museum Store and from its online shop, as well as at Kids’ Ketch in Lewes and Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach.