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Asian/Pacfic American Award for Literature
Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (2005 - Present)
The goal of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature is to honor and recognize individual work about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, based on literary and artistic merit.
Picture Book Winners
Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom by
Call Number: J 530.092 ROB
Publication Date: 2019-10-08
2020 Winner. When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, most girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Giving her a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on beta decay. Along the way, she earned the admiration of famous scientists like Enrico Fermi and Robert Oppenheimer and became the first woman hired as an instructor by Princeton University, the first woman elected President of the American Physical Society, the first scientist to have an asteroid named after her when she was still alive, and many other honors.
Drawn Together by
Call Number: E LE
Publication Date: 2018-06-05
2019 Winner. 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.
A Different Pond by
Call Number: E PHI
Publication Date: 2017-08-01
2018 Winner. As a young boy, Bao Phi awoke early, hours before his father's long workday began, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis. Unlike many other anglers, Bao and his father fished for food, not recreation. A successful catch meant a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, Bao's father told him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam.
Call Number: E YUM
Publication Date: 2016-03-08
2017 Winner. One rainy day, a little boy is upset because he can't go out and play. His mom comes up with a way to keep him entertained--by drawing a picture of herself and him going outside, playing in the rain, and splashing in a giant puddle. They have so much fun drawing themselves that they decide to venture out and make the most of the rainy weather.
Juna's Jar by
Publication Date: 2015-01-15
2016 Winner. Juna and her best friend, Hector, have many adventures together, and they love to collect things in empty kimchi jars. Then one day, Hector unexpectedly moves away without having a chance to say good-bye. Juna is heartbroken and left to wonder who will on go on adventures with her. Determined to find Hector, Juna turns to her special kimchi jar for help each night. She plunges into the depths of the ocean, swings on vines through the jungle, and flies through the night sky in search of her friend. What Juna finds is that adventure--and new friends--can be found in the most unexpected places. Coupled with dreamy watercolor illustrations by Felicia Hoshino, Juna's Jar is a heartwarming and whimsical tale about the power of the imagination.
Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by
Call Number: E HAS
Publication Date: 2014-08-01
2015 Winner. In this beautifully written picture book, Hana Hashimoto has signed up to play her violin at her school's talent show. The trouble is, she's only a beginner, and she's had only three lessons. Her brothers insist she isn't good enough. "It's a talent show, Hana," they tell her. "You'll be a disaster!" Hana remembers how wonderfully her talented grandfather, or Ojiichan, played his violin when she was visiting him in Japan. So, just like Ojiichan, Hana practices every day. She is determined to play her best. When Hana's confidence wavers on the night of the show, however, she begins to wonder if her brothers were right. But then Hana surprises everyone once it's her turn to perform --- even herself! The Asian American female protagonist in this story offers a unique perspective, and bestselling author Chieri Uegaki has woven in lyrical scenes from Japan that add depth and resonance. The details in the artwork by Qin Leng connect the two places and contain a feeling of melody throughout. In the classroom, this book could serve as a celebration of music and performing arts, multicultural studies or the importance of intergenerational relationships. It is also a fabulous character education tie-in for discussing courage and perseverance. This terrifically inspiring book offers hope and confidence to all children who are yearning to master something difficult. Perhaps even more important, it allows children to see that there is more than one way to be successful at a task.
Red Kite, Blue Kite by
Call Number: E JIA
Publication Date: 2013-01-22
2014 Winner. When Tai Shan and his father, Baba, fly kites from their roof and look down at the crowded city streets below, they feel free, like the kites. Baba loves telling Tai Shan stories while the kites--one red, and one blue--rise, dip, and soar together. Then, a bad time comes. People wearing red armbands shut down the schools, smash store signs, and search houses. Baba is sent away, and Tai Shan goes to live with Granny Wang. Though father and son are far apart, they have a secret way of staying close. Every day they greet each other by flying their kites-one red, and one blue-until Baba can be free again, like the kites.
Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth by
Publication Date: 2011-03-01
2013 Winner. Ji-su s mother has been chosen by the Korean king to be a seamstress at the palace and sew bojagi, or wrapping cloths, for the royal household. It is a great honor, but to Ji-su it means saying good-bye to her mother. The only way for them to be reunited, Ji-su realizes, is for her to become a seamstress just as talented and be chosen to serve the king. Through the changing seasons, Ji-su sews, learning the craft from her great-aunt and practicing her stitches tirelessly. One day, she finally has the chance to show her work to the palace Sanguiwon master, who has the power to bring her to her mother or to dash her hopes of being reunited. Is her sewing fine enough for the king?
The House Baba Built by
Call Number: JB YOU YOU
Publication Date: 2011-10-03
2012 Winner. In Ed Young's childhood home in Shanghai, all was not as it seemed: a rocking chair became a horse; a roof became a roller rink; an empty swimming pool became a place for riding scooters and bikes. The house his father built transformed as needed into a place to play hide-and-seek, to eat bamboo shoots, and to be safe. For outside the home's walls, China was at war. Soon the house held not only Ed and his four siblings but also friends, relatives, and even strangers who became family. The war grew closer, and Ed watched as planes flew overhead and frends joined the Chinese air force. But through it all, Ed's childhood remained full of joy and imagination.
Yasmin's Hammer by
Publication Date: 2010-05-01
2011 Winner. In the noisy streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh, another busy morning is beginning as Yasmin rides to work in her father’s rattling rickshaw. Yasmin longs to go to school so she can learn to read, but her family needs the money she and her sister earn at the brickyard to help keep the rice bag full and the roof repaired. As she hammers away at bricks day after day, Yasmin dreams of a different life. If she could read, she could be anything she wants to be when she grows up. One night Yasmin has an idea—a secret plan that will bring her one step closer to making her dream a reality.
Cora Cooks Pancit by
Call Number: E LAZ
Publication Date: 2014-05-01
2010 Winner. Cora loves being in the kitchen, but she always gets stuck doing the kid jobs like licking the spoon. One day, however, when her older sisters and brother head out, Cora finally gets the chance to be Mama's assistant chef. And of all the delicious Filipino dishes that dance through Cora's head, she and Mama decide to make pancit, her favorite noodle dish. With Mama's help, Cora does the grown-up jobs like shredding the chicken and soaking the noodles (perhaps Mama won't notice if she takes a nibble of chicken or sloshes a little water on the floor). Cora even gets to stir the noodles in the potcarefully-- while Mama supervises. When dinner is finally served, her siblings find out that Cora did all their grown-up tasks, and Cora waits anxiously to see what everyone thinks of her cooking.
Wabi Sabi by
Call Number: E REI
Publication Date: 2008-10-01
2009 Winner. Wabi Sabi, a little cat in Kyoto, Japan, had never thought much about her name until friends visiting from another land asked her owner what it meant.
At last, the master
Says, "That's hard to explain." And
That is all she says.
This unsatisfying answer sets Wabi Sabi on a journey to uncover the meaning of her name, and on the way discovers what wabi sabi is: a Japanese philosophy of seeing beauty in simplicity, the ordinary, and the imperfect. Using spare text and haiku, Mark Reibstein weaves an extraordinary story about finding real beauty in unexpected places. Caldecott Medal-winning artist Ed Young complements the lyrical text with breathtaking collages. Together, they illustrate the unique world view that is wabi sabi.
Surfer of the Century by
Publication Date: 2007-10-01
2008 Winner. The true story of Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku, six-time Olympic swimming champion and legendary surfer who popularized surfing around the world.
The Legend of Hong Kil Dong by
Publication Date: 2006-07-01
2007 Winner. In this classic tale from early seventeenth-century Korea, Hong Kil Dong, the son of a powerful minister, is not entitled to a birthright because his mother is a commoner. After studying the martial arts, divination, swordplay, the uses of magic, and the wisdom of the I Ching, the Book of Changes, Hong Kil Dong sets off on a quest for his destiny. He leads a band of men to right the injustices shown to the peasants by some powerful and corrupt merchants, ministers, and monks. Hong Kil Dong can then claim his rightful role and become a wise and just leader. This graphic book captures the drama and pageantry of sixteenth-century Korea during the Chosun dynasty and pays tribute to the adventure story that became the first novel written in the Korean language.
The Firekeeper's Son by
Call Number: E PAR
Publication Date: 2004-03-22
2006 Winner. In Korea in the early 1800s, news from the countryside reached the king by means of signal fires. On one mountaintop after another, a fire was lit when all was well. If the king did not see a fire, that meant trouble, and he would send out his army. Linda Sue Park's first picture book for Clarion is about Sang-hee, son of the village firekeeper. When his father is unable to light the fire one night, young Sang-hee must take his place. Sang-hee knows how important it is for the fire to be lit-but he wishes that he could see soldiers . . . just once. Mountains, firelight and shadow, and Sunhee's struggle with a hard choice are rendered in radiant paintings, which tell their own story of a turning point in a child's life.
Youth Literature Winners
Call Number: STAR JG WAN
Publication Date: 2019-09-10
2020 Winner. Moon is everything Christine isn’t. She’s confident, impulsive, artistic . . . and though they both grew up in the same Chinese-American suburb, Moon is somehow unlike anyone Christine has ever known. When Moon’s family moves in next door to Christine’s, Moon goes from unlikely friend to best friend―maybe even the perfect friend. The girls share their favorite music videos, paint their toenails when Christine’s strict parents aren’t around, and make plans to enter the school talent show together. Moon even tells Christine her deepest secret: that she sometimes has visions of celestial beings who speak to her from the stars. Who reassure her that earth isn’t where she really belongs. But when they’re least expecting it, catastrophe strikes. After relying on Moon for everything, can Christine find it in herself to be the friend Moon needs?
Front Desk by
Call Number: J YAN
Publication Date: 2018-05-29
2019 Winner. Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.
Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.
Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they've been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.
Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?
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?
Step up to the Plate, Maria Singh by
Call Number: J KRI
Publication Date: 2017-05-01
2018 Winner. Nine-year-old Maria Singh longs to play softball in the first-ever girls team forming in Yuba City, California. It's the spring of 1945, and World War II is dragging on. Miss Newman, Maria's teacher, is inspired by Babe Ruth and the All-American Girls League to start a girls softball team at their school. Meanwhile, Maria's parents Papi from India and Mama from Mexico can no longer protect their children from prejudice and from the discriminatory laws of the land. When the family is on the brink of losing their farm, Maria must decide if she has what it takes to step up and find her voice in an unfair world. In this fascinating middle grade novel, award-winning author Uma Krishnaswami sheds light on a little-known chapter of American history set in a community whose families made multicultural choices before the word had been invented.
The Land of Forgotten Girls by
Call Number: J KEL
Publication Date: 2016-03-01
2017 Winner. Two sisters from the Philippines, abandoned by their father and living in impoverished circumstances in Louisiana, fight to make their lives better. Soledad has always been able to escape into the stories she creates. Just like her mother always could. And Soledad has needed that escape more than ever in the five years since her mother and sister died and her father moved Sol and her youngest sister from the Philippines to Louisiana. Then he left, and all Sol and Ming have now is their evil stepmother, Vea. Sol has protected Ming all this time, but then Ming begins to believe that Auntie Jove—their mythical, world-traveling aunt—is really going to come rescue them. Have Sol’s stories done more harm than good? Can she protect Ming from this impossible hope?
Full Cicada Moon by
Call Number: J HIL
Publication Date: 2015-09-08
2016 Winner. It's 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. Suddenly, Mimi's appearance is all anyone notices. She struggles to fit in with her classmates, even as she fights for her right to stand out by entering science competitions and joining Shop Class instead of Home Ec. And even though teachers and neighbors balk at her mixed-race family and her refusals to conform, Mimi’s dreams of becoming an astronaut never fade—no matter how many times she’s told no.
Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by
Publication Date: 2014-04-15
2015 Winner. With a white mother and a Japanese father, Koji Miyamoto quickly learns that his home is no longer a welcoming one. Streetcars won't stop for Koji, and his classmates accuse him of being an enemy spy. When a letter arrives from the government notifying him that he must go to a relocation center for Japanese Americans, he and his mother are forced to leave everything they know behind. Once there, Koji soon discovers that being half white in the internment camp is just as difficult as being half Japanese in San Francisco.
The Thing About Luck by
Call Number: J KAD
Publication Date: 2013-06-04
2014 Winner. Summer knows that kouun means good luck" in Japanese, and this year her family has had none. Just when Summer thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong, an emergency whisks her parents away to Japan, right before harvest season leaving Summer and her little brother, Jaz, in the care of their elderly grandparents, Obaachan and Jiichan. Obaachan and Jiichan are old fashioned, very demanding, and easily disappointed. Between helping Obaachan cook for the workers and with all the other chores, and worrying about her little brother, who can't seem to make any friends, Summer has her hands full. But when a welcome distraction turns into a big mess, causing further disappointment, Summer realises she must try and make her own luck as it might be the only way to save her family.
Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan by
Publication Date: 2011-08-23
2013 Winner. Chengli is an orphaned errand boy who lives in Chang’an China in 630 A.D. His mother has died from illness and his father is presumed dead after disappearing into the desert when Chengli was a baby. Now thirteen, Chengli feels ready for independence. He is drawn to the desert, beckoned by the howling of strange winds and the hope of learning something about his fatherwho he was and how he died. Chengli joins the caravan to travel down the merchant route known as the Silk Road, but it is a dangerous life, as his father knew. The desert is harsh, and there are many bandits, particularly drawn to Chengli's caravan because a princess, her servants, and royal guards are traveling with them.
The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by
Call Number: J SHA
Publication Date: 2011-01-01
2012 Winner. Lucy Wu, aspiring basketball star and interior designer, is on the verge of having the best year of her life. She's ready to rule the school as a sixth grader and take over the bedroom she has always shared with her sister. In an instant, though, her plans are shattered when she finds out that Yi Po, her beloved grandmother's sister, is coming to visit for several months -- and is staying in Lucy's room. Lucy's vision of a perfect year begins to crumble, and in its place come an unwelcome roommate, foiled birthday plans, and Chinese school with the awful Talent Chang.
Heart of a Samurai by
Call Number: YA PRE
Publication Date: 2010-08-01
2011 Winner. In 1841, a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small, unknown island, where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japan’s borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America, learning English on the way. Manjiro, a fourteen-year-old boy, is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives for some time in New England, and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years, he makes it back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West, Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the shogun to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai.
Everything Asian by
Publication Date: 2009-04-14
2010 Winner. David King was twelve years old when he moved from Korea to New Jersey. In loosely-connected tales, we follow David as he adapts to his new country. You're twelve years old. A month has passed since your Korean Air flight landed at lovely Newark Airport. Your fifteen-year-old sister is miserable. Your mother isn't exactly happy, either. You're seeing your father for the first time in five years, and although he's nice enough, he might be, well - how can you put this delicately? - a loser. You can't speak English, but that doesn't stop you from working at East Meets West, your father's gift shop in a strip mall, where everything is new. Welcome to the wonderful world of David Kim.
Roots and Wings by
Publication Date: 2008-05-13
2009 Winner. Grace's grandmother has died, and she and her mother must travel back to the Cambodian community to give her a proper Cambodian funeral. But Grace wants to use the trip to solve a few mysteries, like who her father was, why her mother and grandmother moved from St. Petersburg to Pennsylvania, where they’re the only Cambodians Grace has ever seen, and what Cambodian culture is really about. Embraced by her mother’s old friends, Grace feels both at home and lost, fascinated by the traditions she’s never known, but strangely judged by some members of the community. Can she make sense of, and honor, the life of the grandmother she barely knew? And will revelations about the past bring Grace closer to her mother, or push them even further apart?
Hiroshima Dreams by
Publication Date: 2007-10-04
2008 Winner. Lin can't explain the knowledge she has of the future, of what people will say or what will happen. It's a gift she shares with Obaasan, her grandmother, who has recently come from Japan to live with Lin's family. But seeing the future is more than knowing whether or not a boy will call. What is Lin to make of the visions she has of a day long ago, when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima?
Nothing but the Truth by
Call Number: YA HEA
Publication Date: 2006-04-05
2007 Winner. Half Asian and half white, Patty Ho has never felt completely home in her skin. When a Chinese fortuneteller foresees a white guy on Patty's horizon, things go from bad to worse in this debut novel by a bright new talent.
Call Number: YA KAD
Publication Date: 2004-02-01
2006 Winner. kira-kira (kee ra kee ra): glittering; shining Glittering. That's how Katie Takeshima's sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. The sky is kira-kira because its color is deep but see-through at the same time. The sea is kira-kira for the same reason and so are people's eyes. When Katie and her family move from a Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, it's Lynn who explains to her why people stop on the street to stare, and it's Lynn who, with her special way of viewing the world, teaches Katie to look beyond tomorrow, but when Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering -- kira-kira -- in the future.
Young Adult Literature Winners
They Called Us Enemy by
Call Number: GB TAK TAK
Publication Date: 2019-07-16
2020 Winner. George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father's -- and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future. In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten "relocation centers," hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard. They Called Us Enemy is Takei's firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother's hard choices, his father's faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future. What is American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? To answer these questions, George Takei joins co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for the journey of a lifetime. This book is recommended for teens and adults.
Darius the Great Is Not Okay by
Call Number: YA KHO
Publication Date: 2018-08-28
2019 Winner. Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He's about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it's pretty overwhelming--especially when he's also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom's family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything. Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what's going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understands that sometimes, best friends don't have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he's spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline. Sohrab calls him Darioush--the original Persian version of his name--and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he's Darioush to Sohrab. When it's time to go home to America, he'll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.
It's Not Like It's a Secret by
Call Number: YA SUG
Publication Date: 2017-05-09
2018 Winner. Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like that fact that she’s pretty sure her father’s having an affair. And then there’s the one that she barely even admits to herself, the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend. When Sana and her family move to California, she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for her to be honest with her friends and family, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. Jamie is beautiful and smart and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known before. The only problems are: Sana is pretty sure Jamie’s friends hate her, Jamie’s ex isn’t totally out of the picture, Sana’s new friend Caleb has more-than-friendly feelings for her, and things with her dad feel like they’re coming to a head. She always figured that the hardest thing would be to tell people that she wanted to date a girl, but as she quickly learns, telling the truth is easy…what comes after it, though, is a whole lot more complicated.
Outrun the Moon by
Call Number: YA LEE
Publication Date: 2016-05-24
2017 Winner. San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes. On April 18, a historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Though fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the army to bring help—she still has the “bossy” cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenage girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?
P. S. I Still Love You by
Call Number: YA HAN
Publication Date: 2015-05-26
2016 Winner. Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter. She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?
Tiger Girl by
Publication Date: 2013-10-07
2015 Winner. Nea Chhim, the spirited heroine of Dragon Chica, struggles with college. Nightmares of war flood the waking memories of this 19-year-old survivor of the Cambodian Killing Fields. Nea decides she must confront the past to overcome her fear and begin her own life in America. Without telling Ma, she hops on a cross-country bus in Nebraska to see her biological father in Southern California. There Nea comes face to face with a man wounded by survivor’s guilt who refuses to acknowledge the family’s secrets. Nea determines to revive his struggling donut shop and help him recover. Her tireless efforts attract a mysterious young man’s attention—is he casing the place for a gang? It is up to Nea to find out the truth: about her family, the war that nearly destroyed them, and herself.
Jet Black and the Ninja Wind by
Publication Date: 2013-10-29
2014 Winner. Seventeen-year-old Jet Black is a ninja. There's only one problem--she doesn't know it. Others do, however, and they're scheming to capture her and uncover her secrets. When her mother dies, Jet knows only that she must go to Japan to protect a family treasure hidden in her ancestral land. She's terrified, but if Jet won't fight to protect her world, who will? Stalked by bounty hunters and desperately in love with the man who's been sent to kill her, Jet must be strong enough to protect the treasure, preserve an ancient culture, and save a sacred mountain from destruction. In Jet Black and the Ninja Wind, multiple award-winning author, poet, and translator team Leza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani make their first foray into young adult fiction with a compulsively readable tale whose teenage heroine must discover if she can put the blade above the heart--or die trying.
Tina's Mouth by
Publication Date: 2012-01-03
2013 Winner. Tina M., sophomore, is a wry observer of the cliques and mores of Yarborough Academy, and of the foibles of her Southern California intellectual Indian family. She's on a first-name basis with Jean-Paul Sartre, the result of an English honors class assignment to keep an “existential diary.” Keshni Kashyap’s compulsively readable graphic novel packs in existential high school drama—from Tina getting dumped by her smart-girl ally to a kiss on the mouth (Tina’s mouth, but not technically her first kiss) from a cute skateboarder, Neil Strumminger. And it memorably answers the pressing question: Can an English honors assignment be one fifteen-year-old girl’s path to enlightenment?
Publication Date: 2011-02-22
2012 Winner. After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg—a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American—wonders who is responsible. She and her cliquey friends said some thoughtless things to the girl. Hoping that Kana will reflect on her behavior, her parents pack her off to her mother's ancestral home in Japan for the summer. There Kana spends hours under the hot sun tending to her family's mikan orange groves. Kana's mixed heritage makes it hard to fit in at first, especially under the critical eye of her traditional grandmother, who has never accepted Kana's father. But as the summer unfolds, Kana gets to know her relatives, Japan, and village culture, and she begins to process the pain and guilt she feels about the tragedy back home. Then news about a friend sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again.
Shooting Kabul by
Publication Date: 2012-04-03
2011 Winner. In the summer of 2001, twelve-year-old Fadi's parents make the difficult decision to illegally leave Afghanistan and move the family to the United States. When their underground transport arrives at the rendezvous point, chaos ensues, and Fadi is left dragging his younger sister Mariam through the crush of people. But Mariam accidentally lets go of his hand and becomes lost in the crowd, just as Fadi is snatched up into the truck. With Taliban soldiers closing in, the truck speeds away, leaving Mariam behind. Adjusting to life in the United States isn't easy for Fadi's family, and as the events of September 11th unfold the prospects of locating Mariam in a war torn Afghanistan seem slim. When a photography competition with a grand prize trip to India is announced, Fadi sees his chance to return to Afghanistan and find his sister. But can one photo really bring Mariam home?