Here are the nominees we’re excited to see vie for the Young People’s Literature National Book Award
It’s that time of the year again. The National Book Foundation has announced an official longlist for its annual awards ceremony, which are being held this year on November 14th in New York City. Finalists will be announced on October 10th.
Here are the books we are excited about:
The Poet X by Afro-Latina writer Elizabeth Acevedo is written in verse which stunningly grapples with issues such as sexualization and the policing of the bodies of girls and women. Entertainment Weekly calls it “a stunning amplification of the Latina experience.” Acevedo’s book centers on Harlem sophomore Xiomara Batista who begins questioning both religion and society while also becoming a poet. Batista learns to love and affirming herself first, a message sure to resonate with readers today.
A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi is a novel centering on 16-year-old Hijabi Shirin who arrives at a new school shortly after the events of 9/11. Shirin is understandably upset at those who tie her religion and her headscarf to terrorism, but instead of using that anger to destroy herself, she chooses to adopt a posture of indifference. She meets a boy named Ocean James and the two develop a relationship, but then have to deal with racism, bigotry and xenophobia.
The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis is a book written by Newberry Honor winning author Christopher Paul Curtis. It’s set in 1858 and offers a glimpse into how desperation can cause us to choose paths we regret. 12-year old Charlie Bobo loses his father in an accident and has to pay off his old man’s debts by becoming a runaway slave catcher. Charlie has a crisis of conscious and instead of carrying out his duties, he chooses to engineer a plan to bring these formerly enslaved Black people to safety.
Here is the full list of candidates for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, excepting these three titles:
The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin
We’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor
Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough
Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam by Elizabeth Partridge
What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper
The judges for this year’s awarding are the chair, Robin Benway, Lamar Giles, Grace Worcester Greene, Valerie Koehler, and Mitali Perkins.