Award-Winning Books: 2019

The following books were recognized by a variety of book/media awards in 2019, including the Newbery Medal, the Pura Belpré Award, the Walter Award, the Caldecott Medal, and the Stonewall Book Award.

The featured titles include books for children and young adults, as well as audio recordings.

A Big Mooncake for Little Star

By: Grace Lin
Age Level: 3-6
Little Star loves the delicious Mooncake that she bakes with her mama. But she's not supposed to eat any yet! What happens when she can't resist a nibble? In this stunning picture book that shines as bright as the stars in the sky, Newbery Honor author Grace Lin creates a heartwarming original story that explains phases of the moon. A 2019 Caldecott Honor Book.

Alma and How She Got Her Name

Age Level: 6-9

If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names. Winner of the 2019 Caldecott Honor Award.

Darius the Great is Not Okay

Age Level: 12-14

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He's a Fractional Persian — half, his mom's side — and his first-ever trip to Iran is about to change his life. Adib Khorram's brilliant debut is for anyone who’s ever felt not good enough — then met a friend who makes them feel so much better than okay. Winner of the 2019 William C. Morris Award and Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature.

Drawn Together

By: Minh Lê
Illustrated by: Dan Santat
Age Level: 6-9

When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens-with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words. With spare, direct text by Minh Lê and luminous illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, this stirring picturebook about reaching across barriers will be cherished for years to come. Winner of the 2019 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Picture Book.

Dreamers

Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish: Bilingual Text

In 1994, Caldecott Honor artist and five-time Pura Belpré winner Yuyi Morales left her home in Xalapa, Mexico and came to the U.S. with her infant son. In this picture book which she wrote and illustrated, Yuyi tells the story of how she and her son made a home in a new place, finding refuge at the public library. A Spanish-language version is also available. Pura Belpré Author Award Winner.

Esquivel! Space Age Sound Artist (Audiobook)

Illustrated by: Duncan Tonatiuh

Juan Garcia Esquivel was born in Mexico and grew up to the sounds of mariachi bands. He loved music and became a musical explorer. Defying convention, he created music that made people laugh and planted images in their minds. Juan's space-age lounge music – popular in the fifties and sixties – has found a new generation of listeners. And Duncan Tonatiuh's fresh and quirky illustrations bring Esquivel's spirit to life. Winner of the Odyssey Honor Audiobook Award.

Front Desk

Age Level: 12-14

Mia Tang has a secret. Actually, a lot of secrets. She doesn't live in a house like her friends. She doesn't haev a dog. And her parents are hiding an even bigger secret, one that could get them all in trouble. It will take all of Mia's courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams? Winner of the 2019 Asian/Pacific American Award for Children's Literature.

Grandmother's Visit

Illustrated by: Carmen Mok

Carmen Mok's gentle illustrations show the love between a child and her grandmother in this story that will resonate with anyone who has lost a loved one. Winner of the 2019 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Picture Book Honor.

Hurricane Child

Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and twelve-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline's luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline's first and only friend – and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline's missing mother – before Caroline loses her forever. Winner of the Stonewall Book Award.

Islandborn

Illustrated by: Leo Espinosa

When Lola's teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can't remember The Island — she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories — joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening—Lola's imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island and she comes to understand the truth of her abuela's words: "Just because you don't remember a place doesn't mean it's not in you." Winner of the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award.

Julián Is a Mermaid

Age Level: 6-9

While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Winner of the Stonewall Book Award.

Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Age Level: 12-14

Merci Suarez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. In a coming-of-age tale full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family. Winner 2019 Newbery Medal.

Thank You, Omu

By: Oge Mora
Age Level: 6-9

Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu's delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself? Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu's stew, with an extra serving of love.

The Astonishing Color of After

Age Level: 14-16
Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. When Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time and find her mother, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. A luminous debut novel about finding oneself through family history, art, bravery, and love. Winner of the 2019 Walter Award and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature Honor.

The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor

Discover the inspiring life of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, in this middle-grade adaptation of her bestselling adult memoir, My Beloved World. Finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults.

 

The House that Lou Built

Age Level: 9-12

Lou Bulosan-Nelson has the ultimate summer DIY project. She's going to build her own "tiny house," 100 square feet all her own where she can escape her crazy but lovable extended Filipino family. When challenges arise, Lou doesn't give up; with the help of friends and relatives, her dream begins to take shape, and she learns the deeper meaning of home and family. Winner of the 2019 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Children's Literature Honor Award.

The Night Diary

Age Level: 9-12

It's 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders. Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn't know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together. 2019 Newbery Honor Book and Walter Honor Book, Younger Readers Category.

The Poet X

Xiomara Batista, a Dominican teen who feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. So when she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she doesn't know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can't stop thinking about performing her poems. Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent. Winner of the 2019 Walter Award, Printz Award, and Pura Belpré Author Award.

They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems

Age Level: 12-14

Twelve-year-old red-headed Güero is Mexican American, at home with Spanish or English and on both sides of the river. He’s starting 7th grade with a woke English teacher who knows how to make poetry cool. Trusting in his family’s traditions, his accordion and his bookworm squad, he faces seventh grade with book smarts and a big heart. Winner of the 2019 Walter Honor Book Award for Younger Readers and the Pura Belpré Author Honor Award.

When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana

Illustrated by: José Ramírez
Age Level: 9-12

When Carlos Santana picked up la guitarra, he took the soul of the Blues, the brains of Jazz, and the energy of Rock and Roll, and added the slow heat of Afro-Cuban drums and the cilantro-scented sway of the music he’d grown up with in Mexico. There were a lot of bands in San Francisco but none of them sounded like this. Had Carlos finally found the music that would make his angels real? Winner of the 2019 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Award and the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal.