Award-Winning Books: 2022

The Last Cuentista

The following books were recognized by a variety of book/media awards in 2022, including the Newbery, the Pura Belpré Award, the National Book Award, and the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Award for Literature.  The featured titles include award winners and honor books for children and young adults.

Amina's Song

Amina's Song

It's the last few days of her vacation in Pakistan, and Amina has loved every minute of it. The food, the shops, the time she’s spent with her family — all of it holds a special place in Amina's heart. Now that the school year is starting again, she's sad to leave, but also excited to share the wonders of Pakistan with her friends back in Greendale. After she's home, though, her friends don’t seem overly interested in her trip. And when she decides to do a presentation on Pakistani hero Malala Yousafzai, her classmates focus on the worst parts of the story.

Apple: Skin to the Core

Illustration of apple peel surrounding young person

In this memoir written in verse, prose, and imagery, Eric Gansworth tells his story, the story of his family — of Onondaga among Tuscaroras — of Native folks everywhere. From the horrible legacy of the government boarding schools, to a boy watching his siblings leave and return and leave again, to a young man fighting to be an artist who balances multiple worlds.

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna

Girl holding up her arms

It is 1913, and twelve-year-old Petra Luna's mama has died while the Revolution rages in Mexico. Before her papa is dragged away by soldiers, Petra vows to him that she will care for the family she has left ― her abuelita, little sister Amelia, and baby brother Luisito ― until they can be reunited. They flee north through the unforgiving desert as their town burns, searching for safe harbor in a world that offers none. Each night when Petra closes her eyes, she holds her dreams close, especially her long-held desire to learn to read. Abuelita calls these barefoot dreams.

Boogie Boogie, Y’all

Grafitti on wall
Age Level: 6-9

The city is alive with vibrant art in every corner of the parks, the shops, the trains. But most people are too busy to see it — or worse, choose to ignore it! When three children stop to marvel at the art around their community, they realize it’s up to them to show everyone else how truly special it is when art and reality dance together so seamlessly.

Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua

Painting of Luz Jiménez
Illustrated by: Duncan Tonatiuh
Age Level: 6-9

As a young Nahua girl in Mexico during the early 1900s, Luz learned how to grind corn in a metate, to twist yarn with her toes, and to weave on a loom. By the fire at night, she listened to stories of her community’s joys, suffering, and survival, and wove them into her heart. But when the Mexican Revolution came to her village, Luz and her family were forced to flee and start a new life. In Mexico City, Luz became a model for painters, sculptors, and photographers such as Diego Rivera, Jean Charlot, and Tina Modotti.

Elatsoe

Illustration of young woman in black and white landscape
Illustrated by: Rovina Cai
Age Level: Young adult (14-18)

Elatsoe — Ellie for short — lives in an alternate contemporary America shaped by the ancestral magics and knowledge of its Indigenous and immigrant groups. She can raise the spirits of dead animals—most importantly, her ghost dog Kirby. When her beloved cousin dies, all signs point to a car crash, but his ghost tells her otherwise: He was murdered. Who killed him and how did he die?

Ella Cara Deloria: Dakota Language Protector

Illustration of Ella Cara Deloria
Illustrated by: Tashia Hart
Age Level: 6-9

Ella Cara Deloria loved to listen to her family tell stories in the Dakota language. She recorded many American Indian peoples' stories and languages and shared them with everyone. She helped protect her people's language for future generations. She also wrote many stories of her own. Her story is a Minnesota Native American life. Minnesota Native American Lives Series.

Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun

Two young men talking

Julián Luna has a plan for his life: Graduate. Get into UCLA. And have the chance to move away from Corpus Christi, Texas, and the suffocating expectations of others that have forced Jules into an inauthentic life. Then in one reckless moment, with one impulsive tweet, his plans for a low-key nine months are thrown ― literally ― out the closet. Then Mat, a cute, empathetic Twitter crush from Los Angeles, slides into Jules’s DMs. Jules can tell him anything. Mat makes the world seem conquerable.

Finding Junie Kim

Finding Junie Kim
By: Ellen Oh
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

Junie Kim just wants to fit in. So she keeps her head down and tries not to draw attention to herself. But when racist graffiti appears at her middle school, Junie must decide between staying silent or speaking out. Then Junie’s history teacher assigns a project and Junie decides to interview her grandparents, learning about their unbelievable experiences as kids during the Korean War. Junie comes to admire her grandma’s fierce determination to overcome impossible odds, and her grandpa’s unwavering compassion during wartime.

From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement

From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement
By: Paula Yoo

America in 1982: Japanese car companies are on the rise and believed to be putting U.S. autoworkers out of their jobs. Anti–Asian American sentiment simmers, especially in Detroit. A bar fight turns fatal, leaving a Chinese American man, Vincent Chin, beaten to death at the hands of two white men, autoworker Ronald Ebens and his stepson, Michael Nitz. Paula Yoo has crafted a searing examination of the killing and the trial and verdicts that followed.

Healer of the Water Monster

Two people sit at a campfire

When Nathan goes to visit his grandma, Nali, at her mobile summer home on the Navajo reservation, he knows he’s in for a pretty uneventful summer, with no electricity or cell service. Still, he loves spending time with Nali and with his uncle Jet, though it’s clear when Jet arrives that he brings his problems with him. One night, while lost in the nearby desert, Nathan finds someone extraordinary: a Holy Being from the Navajo Creation Story — a Water Monster — in need of help. Now Nathan must summon all his courage to save his new friend.

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe

When her twin sister reaches social media stardom, Moon Fuentez accepts her fate as the ugly, unwanted sister hidden in the background, destined to be nothing more than her sister’s camerawoman. But this summer, Moon also takes a job as the “merch girl” on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers and her fate begins to shift in the best way possible. Most notable is her bunkmate and new nemesis, Santiago Phillips, who is grumpy, combative, and also the hottest guy Moon has ever seen. Moon is certain she hates Santiago and that he hates her back.

Hunting by Stars (A Marrow Thieves Novel)

Hunting by Stars (A Marrow Thieves Novel)

Years ago, when plagues and natural disasters killed millions of people, much of the world stopped dreaming. The government soon finds that the Indigenous people of North America have retained their dreams, an ability rumored to be housed in the very marrow of their bones. Soon, residential schools pop up — or are re-opened — across the land to bring in the dreamers and harvest their dreams.

I Sang You Down from the Stars

I Sang You Down from the Stars
Illustrated by: Michaela Goade
Age Level: 6-9

As she waits for the arrival of her new baby, a mother-to-be gathers gifts to create a sacred bundle. A white feather, cedar and sage, a stone from the river . . .Each addition to the bundle will offer the new baby strength and connection to tradition, family, and community. As they grow together, mother and baby will each have gifts to offer each other. Tasha Spillett-Sumner and Michaela Goade, two Indigenous creators, bring beautiful words and luminous art together in a resonant celebration of the bond between mother and child.

Indigenous Peoples' Day

Indigenous Peoples' Day
Age Level: 6-9

The second Monday in October is a day to honor Native communities, their histories, and cultures. Readers will discover how a shared holiday can have multiple traditions and be celebrated in all sorts of ways.

Jo Jo Makoons #1: The Used-to-Be Best Friend

Illustration of Jo Jo Makoons with her cat
Illustrated by: Tara Audibert
Age Level: 6-9

Jo Jo Makoons Azure is a spirited seven-year-old who moves through the world a little differently than anyone else on her Ojibwe reservation. It always seems like her mom, her kokum (grandma), and her teacher have a lot to learn — about how good Jo Jo is at cleaning up, what makes a good rhyme, and what it means to be friendly. Even though Jo Jo loves her #1 best friend Mimi (who is a cat), she’s worried that she needs to figure out how to make more friends.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club

A streetlight shines in front of a night club on a San Francisco street at night

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the feeling took root — that desire to look, to move closer, to touch. Whenever it started growing, it definitely bloomed the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Suddenly everything seemed possible. But America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily.

Learning My Rights with Mousewoman

Learning My Rights with Mousewoman
Age Level: 3-6

The tiny but mighty Mousewoman is a legendary figure in the oral and visual practices of Northwest Coast Indigenous cultures. She is both grandmother and oracle, able to travel in and out of the spirit world. Mousewoman sits on young people’s shoulders in crucial times, whispering advice and knowledge. She protects and guides young people by helping them avoid or escape bad situations, and is never afraid to stand up to bigger beings.

May Your Life Be Deliciosa

May Your Life Be Deliciosa
Illustrated by: Loris Lora
Age Level: 6-9

Each year on Christmas Eve, Rosie’s abuela, mamá, tía, sister, and cousins all gather together in Abuela’s kitchen to make tamales — cleaning corn husks, chopping onions and garlic, roasting chilis, kneading cornmeal dough, seasoning the filling, and folding it all — and tell stories. Rosie learns from her abuela not only how to make a delicious tamale, but how to make a delicious life, one filled with love, plenty of spice, and family.

Notable Native People: 50 Indigenous Leaders, Dreamers, and Changemakers from Past and Present

Notable Native People: 50 Indigenous Leaders, Dreamers, and Changemakers from Past and Present
Illustrated by: Ciara Sana
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)

Celebrate the lives, stories, and contributions of Indigenous artists, activists, scientists, athletes, and other changemakers in this beautifully illustrated collection. From luminaries of the past, like nineteenth-century sculptor Edmonia Lewis—the first Black and Native American female artist to achieve international fame—to contemporary figures like linguist jessie little doe baird, who revived the Wampanoag language, Notable Native People highlights the vital impact Indigenous dreamers and leaders have made on the world.

Peggy Flanagan: Ogimaa Kwe, Lieutenant Governor

Illustration of Peggy Flanagan
Illustrated by: Tashia Hart
Age Level: 6-9

Peggy Flanagan is the Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota. This is the second-highest office in the state. She is the first Native woman to hold such a high elected statewide office in the United States. Her whole life she knew that the school system doesn't tell American Indian stories in a true way. Peggy is working hard to change how Native peoples' stories are told and to make life better for all Minnesotans. Minnesota Native American Life Series.

Soldiers Unknown

Soldiers Unknown

The Klamath River, 1918. The native Yurok people of Northern California have been untouched by the savage world war raging in Europe -- until now. Three cousins are called to serve a nation that has given little but cruelty to their people. Thrust into battle on the Western Front, these young men struggle to preserve their humanity while facing the unspeakable horrors of the greatest military conflict ever known.

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet

Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father's restaurant, Nacho's Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans — leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican American parents or following her own path. Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho's is an opportunity for just that — a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo's, and to find the father who left him behind.

The Firekeeper’s Daughter

Large butterfly

Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.

The Last Cuentista

The Last Cuentista

There lived a girl named Petra Peña, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita. But Petra's world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children – among them Petra and her family – have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race.

The Sea in Winter

The Sea in Winter

It's been a hard year for Maisie Cannon, ever since she hurt her leg and could not keep up with her ballet training and auditions. Her blended family is loving and supportive, but Maisie knows that they just can’t understand how hopeless she feels. With everything she’s dealing with, Maisie is not excited for their family midwinter road trip along the coast, near the Makah community where her mother grew up. But soon, Maisie’s anxieties and dark moods start to hurt as much as the pain in her knee.

Watercress

Watercress
Illustrated by: Jason Chin
Age Level: 6-9

Driving through Ohio in an old Pontiac, a young girl's parents stop suddenly when they spot watercress growing wild in a ditch by the side of the road. Grabbing an old paper bag and some rusty scissors, the whole family wades into the muck to collect as much of the muddy, snail covered watercress as they can.

At first, she's embarrassed. Why can't her family get food from the grocery store? But when her mother shares a story of her family's time in China, the girl learns to appreciate the fresh food they foraged. Together, they make a new memory of watercress.

Where I Belong

Where I Belong

In the spring of 2018, Guatemalan American high school senior Milagros "Millie" Vargas knows her life is about to change. She has lived in Corpus Christi, Texas, ever since her parents sought asylum there when she was a baby. Now a citizen, Millie devotes herself to school and caring for her younger siblings while her mom works as a housekeeper for the wealthy Wheeler family. With college on the horizon, Millie is torn between attending her dream school and staying close to home, where she knows she's needed.

¡Vamos! Let's Cross the Bridge

¡Vamos! Let's Cross the Bridge
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish vocabulary featured

People are always crossing the bridge for work, to visit family, or for play. Some going this way; others going that way. Back and forth they go. With friends on foot and in bicycles, in cars and trucks, the bridge is an incredibly busy place with many different types of vehicles. Little Lobo and his dog Bernabé have a new truck and they are using it to carry party supplies over the bridge with their pals El Toro and La Oink Oink. The line is long and everyone on the bridge is stuck. How will they pass the time?