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'Tessa's Dance' Wins National Young Adult Book Medal from IPPY

First-Time Author David Edward Walker Garners National Props With Multicultural YA Thriller


Seattle, WA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/21/2013 --'Tessa’s Dance' by Seattle-based author David Edward Walker has won a Bronze Medal in the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards for Multicultural Fiction in the Juvenile-Young Adult (YA) category. As one of two multicultural YA medal winners this year, 'Tessa’s Dance' joins a handful of young adult novels recognized with IPPYs in this category since the awards inception in 1997. Past IPPY medalists in multicultural fiction include Rafik Schami, Usla Aslam Khan, Stella Pope Duarte, Roma Tearne, and Simone Elkeles. Dr. Walker will accept the award in person at the 2013 IPPY gala at Providence 57 in New York City on May 29th.

A thriller about a strong-hearted Yakama Indian girl and her mixed-blood, curmudgeon psychologist, 'Tessa's Dance' is Walker's first novel and distinguished itself from over 5300 entries. The author explores the fragile trust between Tessa, a 15-year-old Yakama Indian girl, and mixed-blood Indian Health Service psychologist, Dr. Ret Barlow. Things fall apart when Tessa is arrested for alcohol abuse and her childhood tormentor, ‘Cowboy’ Jack Brie, reenters her world. Along the way, the reader journeys between organizational dysfunction and cultural misunderstanding, while encountering spiritual traditions, youth gangs, and reservation dynamics. Finishing touches are currently being put on a sequel, 'Signal Peak, due out in the summer of 2013.

Harvard feminist psychologist, author, and psychiatric critic, Paula Caplan, calls 'Tessa’s Dance' “remarkable and enthralling” with prose that is “crystal clear, perceptive, and impassioned.” Gina Nikkel, Executive Director of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care says: “This is a beautiful, well-written 'novel' that is all too real. I enjoyed it immensely on so many levels.” Psychiatrist Anthony Stanton, a consultant with the Suquamish Tribe, marvels at Walker’s ability to capture “the stupidity of the system allegedly designed to help the native population” while turning out “a real, honest-to-God thriller—a book you can't put down.” Throughout his research, Walker has enjoyed considerable support from friends and readers among the members of the Yakama Nation community in central Washington state.

He worked as the sole doctoral-level psychologist with the Yakama Indian Health Service from 2000 to 2004 and continues in his role as a contracted consult to Yakama Nation. Prior to embarking on his fiction projects, Walker provided a chapter entitled “ADHD as the New ‘Feeblemindedness’ of American Indian Children” for 'Critical New Perspectives on ADHD' (Routledge) which won the 2006 Academic Book Award from NASAN in the UK. Another chapter he penned is currently in preparation for a forthcoming book on historical trauma in indigenous communities from Syracuse University Press. Walker is also a poet and singer who released three CDs and toured under the pseudonym ‘David Folks’ in the 1990s “draw[ing] his audience into a warm space of feeling and introspection, which he supports with elegant moral ambition,” according to Music Hound Guide to Folk Music. During those years, he shared the stage with luminaries like Richie Havens, Rodney Crowell,Richard Shindell, Clive Gregson, and Pierce Pettis.

'Tessa’s Dance' is available in print and electronic versions through Amazon at Print copies are in-stock at the Yakama Nation Cultural Heritage Center & Museum Gift Shop in Toppenish, Washington and The Elliot Bay Book Company, 1521 Tenth Avenue, Seattle, 800.962.5311. An online press-kit can be found at