Award-Winning Books: 2023
The following books were recognized by a variety of book/media awards in 2023, including the Newbery Medal, 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.
From the Tops of the Trees
Young Kalia has never known life beyond the fences of the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp. The Thai camp holds many thousands of Hmong families who fled in the aftermath of the little-known Secret War in Laos that was waged during America's Vietnam War. For Kalia and her cousins, life isn't always easy, but they still find ways to play, racing with chickens and riding a beloved pet dog. Just four years old, Kalia is still figuring out her place in the world. When she asks what is beyond the fence, at first her father has no answers for her.
Gigi and Ojiji
Gigi can’t wait for her Ojiji — Japanese grandpa — to move in. Gigi plans lots of things to do with him, like playing tag, reading books, and teaching Roscoe, the family dog, new tricks. But her plans don’t work out quite the way she’d hoped. And her grandpa doesn’t seem to like Roscoe. Will Gigi find a way to connect with her Ojiji?
Living in a new country is no walk in the park ― Nao, Hyejung, and Tina can all attest to that. The three of them became fast friends through living together in the Himawari House in Tokyo and attending the same Japanese cram school. Nao came to Japan to reconnect with her Japanese heritage, while Hyejung and Tina came to find freedom and their own paths. Though each of them has her own motivations and challenges, they all deal with language barriers, being a fish out of water, self discovery, love, and family.
Maizy Chen’s Last Chance
Maizy has never been to Last Chance, Minnesota . . . until now. Her mom’s plan is just to stay for a couple weeks, until her grandfather gets better. But plans change, and as Maizy spends more time in Last Chance and at the Golden Palace — the restaurant that’s been in her family for generations — she makes some discoveries. For instance:
Nana, Nenek & Nina
Nina lives in San Francisco with her parents, and she loves visiting her two grandmas across the world. Follow Nina as her two trips unfold side by side: Young readers will love poring over the details of what is the same and what is different at Nana’s home in England and at Nenek’s home in Malaysia. In each place, Nina wears different clothes, plays different games, and eats different food. But so much about visiting Nana and Nenek is the same, from warm hugs at the airport to beach days and bedtime snuggles.
Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams’s Photographs Reveal About the Japanese American Incarceration
Three months after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Roosevelt ordered the incarceration of all Japanese and Japanese Americans living on the West Coast of the United States. Three photographers set out to document life at Manzanar, an incarceration camp in the California desert: Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams. In Seen and Unseen, Elizabeth Partridge and Lauren Ta
The Last Mapmaker
In this fantasy adventure, Christina Soontornvat explores a young woman’s struggle to unburden herself of the past and chart her own destiny in a world of secrets. As assistant to Mangkon’s most celebrated mapmaker, twelve-year-old Sai plays the part of a well-bred young lady with a glittering future. In reality, her father is a conman — and in a kingdom where the status of one’s ancestors dictates their social position, the truth could ruin her. Sai seizes the chance to join an expedition to chart the southern seas, but she isn’t the only one aboard with secrets.
The Silence that Binds Us
Maybelline Chen isn’t the Chinese Taiwanese American daughter her mother expects her to be. May prefers hoodies over dresses and wants to become a writer. When asked, her mom can’t come up with one specific reason for why she's proud of her only daughter. May’s beloved brother, Danny, on the other hand, has just been admitted to Princeton. But Danny secretly struggles with depression, and when he dies by suicide, May's world is shattered.
12-year-old Jordan feels like he can't live up to the example his older sister set, or his parent's expectations. When he returns home from school one day hoping to hide his suspension, Los Angeles has reached a turning point. In the wake of the acquittal of the police officers filmed beating Rodney King, as well as the shooting of a young black teen, Latasha Harlins by a Korean store owner, the country is at the precipice of confronting its racist past and present.
See more great related resources and videos in our Multicultural Literature section!