Congratulations to our ALA YMA Award Winners and Notable Recipients!

This Monday the 2023 American Library Association (ALA) Youth Media Awards were held in New Orleans at the LibLearnX program. Today it’s our pleasure to share the following awards and recognition for Lerner titles.

From the Tops of the Trees named the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature winner in the Picture Book Category

From the Tops of the Trees, written by Kao Kalia Yang and illustrated by Rachel Wada, received the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in the Picture Book Category. This award “honors and recognizes individual work about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, based on literary and artistic merit.”

Previously, this moving and inspiring true story also received four starred reviews and numerous awards including an ALA Notable Children’s Books, Irma S. and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature, Kirkus Best Children’s Books, and New York Public Library Best Books for Kids.

After her title won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, author Kao Kalia Yang said, “I’m happy that From the Tops of Trees has garnered this recognition. I’m hopeful that refugee children from everywhere will have one more book to look to for representation.” 

Illustrator Rachel Wada shared her excitement as well, saying, “With this recognition from the Asian/Pacific American Awards, I feel like I am with Little Kalia at the top of the tallest tree in the camp, secure in the arms of a loved one, seeing the spread of a world beyond. I hope that this special story of resilience and generational hope will continue to reach audiences far and wide.”

Both Spanish and Hmong editions of From the Tops of the Trees will be published in August of this year.

To learn more about the Youth Media Awards, read the press release posted in the Lerner Press Room. The winner and honor books for the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature can be found on the APAAL website.

From the Tops of the Trees | Kao Kalia Yang; Illustrated by Rachel Wada | Interest Level: Grade K-3 | Reading Level: Grade 2 | 32 Pages | HC: 978-1-5415-8130-2

Shoham’s Bangle, Raquela’s Seder, and The Prince of Steel Pier received Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable Designation

Shoham’s Bangle and Raquela’s Seder were both named a Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable Book in the Picture Book Category. The Sydney Taylor Book Award ” is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience,” and is organized by the Association of Jewish Libraries.

In Shoham’s Bangle, written by Sarah Sassoon and illustrated by Noa Kelner, a little girl named Shoham wears a golden bangle on her wrist, just like her Nana Aziza. When Shoham’s family emigrates from Iraq to Israel, Nana Aziza gives Shoham a way to remember where she came from.

Upon hearing of the Sydney Taylor Notable distinction, author Sarah Sassoon said, “The Sydney Taylor Notable Award means so much to me because it recognizes my family’s story of Iraqi Jews who had to flee their homes after 2,600 years of Babylonian Jewish history. It recognizes the story of refugees everywhere who have to rely on resilience, strong values and hope to rebuild their new lives.”

Raquela’s Seder, written by Joel Edward Stein and illustrated by Sara Ugolotti, tells the story of a girl who learns to appreciate her Jewish heritage in Inquisition-era Spain. When Raquela yearns to celebrate a Passover seder, her clever papa creates a unique celebration for his family. In his fishing boat on the sea, far from prying eyes, they celebrate Raquela’s first seder with matzah and the Passover story.

“It humbles me to be counted among the talented authors who had the distinction of being presented with the Sydney Taylor Book Award,” said author Joel Stein. “It is an honor I will always cherish.”

The Prince of Steel Pier by Stacy Nockowitz was selected as a Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable Book in the middle grade category. Set in 1975, this historical fiction follows thirteen-year-old Joey whose grandparents’ Jewish hotel has begun to struggle and whose family won’t take him seriously when he says he can help.

So when he gets a job offer from mobster Artie Bishop, the so-called king of Steel Pier, he jumps at the chance to prove his mettle. But running with Artie and his crew means questioning everything he sees and deceiving the people he loves most. And when Artie asks Joey for a very dangerous favor that puts his family at risk, Joey must decide what strength really means to him.

“I am thrilled that THE PRINCE OF STEEL PIER was named a Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable Book for 2023!” said author Stacy Nockowitz. “It means a great deal to me that the Sydney Taylor judges thought my debut novel was worthy of such an honor. As a lifelong reader of Jewish children’s literature, including the books by Sydney Taylor, I am proud to be able to add my book to such an exceptional list of titles.”

Visit the Sydney Taylor Book Award website for more information on the Winner, Honor, and Notable books.

Shoham’s Bangle | Sarah Sassoon; Illustrated by Noa Kelner | Interest Level: Grade K-3 | Reading Level: Grade 2 | 32 Pages | HC: 978-1-7284-3896-2

Raquela’s Seder | Joel Edward Stein; Illustrated by Sara Ugolotti | Interest Level: Grade K-3 | Reading Level: Grade 2 | 32 Pages | PB: 978-1-7284-2796-6

The Prince of Steel Pier | Stacy Nockowitz | Interest Level: Grade 3 – 7 | Reading Level: Grade 4 | 248 Pages | HC: 978-1-7284-3033-1

And don’t forget to explore other announcements on the Lerner Blog!

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