Dean Pitchford, a multihyphenate tunesmith and screenwriter, has experience on the awards show circuit. He won an Oscar for original song ("Fame") and he's been nommed for two more. He's been up for a Tony (for the tuner rendition of "Footloose"; he also wrote the screenplay for the 1984 pic), and nommed for multiple Grammy Awards.

This year he's going through the Grammy festivities all over again, but he's nommed in a category that he never dreamed he'd compete in — children's spoken word album — and for a project that has a significance to Pitchford unlike anything else he's ever written.

Pitchford's life changed seven and a half years ago when his younger sister, Patricia Colodner, died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. He had been a devoted uncle to his sister's two children, Colby, who was 9 at the time of her mother's death, and Jordan, who was 2, but amid the unspeakable trauma of losing their mother, the bonds between Pitchford and his niece and nephew grew immeasurably stronger.

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