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The 2015 National Book Award Winners Revealed

During his acceptance speech, Shusterman brought his son Brendan — the inspiration for the story — to the stage to share in the moment.

Shusterman recalled the difficulties his son Brendan had as a teenager and how his story became the basis for Challenger Deep, the young people’s winner. At the depth of Brendan’s illness, Shusterman recalled, his son said, ‘Dad, sometimes I feel I’m at the bottom of the ocean screaming at the top of my lungs and no one can hear me.’…[Shusterman] called writing the book ‘a healing process for both of us.’ He added that he hopes Challenger Deep continues to help people and ‘remove the stigma of mental illness.’  (Shelf Awareness)

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