Press Release

Azia Books Awards

Books for Multicultural/Multiracial Kids

Azia Books is thrilled to announce the following children’s book awards:

In the Picture Book Category, the Azia Books Award was given to Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown, illustrated by Sara Palacios. Publisher: Children’s Book Press, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, http://leeandlow.com

In the Young Reader Category, the Azia Books Award was given to The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez. Publisher: Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. http://penguinrandomhouse.com/

Azia Books memorializes Loving v. Virginia by giving an award to the authors of the best books with a multiracial/multicultural protagonist.

Monica Brown said “I’m delighted to receive the inaugural Azia Book Award, which honors strong multicultural representation in children’s literature. Thank you to the distinguished committee made of up educators, leaders, creators, and advocates of diverse children’s literature in the state of Washington.”

Celia C. Pérez said, “I am grateful to the Azia Book Award committee for honoring The First Rule of Punk and its portrayal of Malú (María Luisa) O’Neill-Morales a half white, half Mexican American, all punk protagonist!As someone who is part of a multicultural and multiracial family, it is personally significant to have this story recognized. I’m so appreciative of the committee for the time and care that went into selecting, reviewing and honoring books about children who navigate among the varied and rich identities that make them who they are. It is my delight to be a recipient, and I look forward to seeing the award grow in years to come.”

The Board reviewed 7 picture books and 11 young reader books. The list for 2020/2021 is included at aziabooks.com.  The children’s books all have a multicultural or multiracial protagonist or family.

Board member Barbara Gilchrist explained “access to books representing positive and healthy multiracial, -ethnic, and -cultural characters are integral to the healthy social, emotional, and intellectual development of mixed and multicultural children. “

Second grade teacher Deborah Cabanos is “interested in using the award to inspire other teachers to “be the change.” “Our students need to have access to stories that reflect their own backgrounds.  We are highlighting stories and works from authors whose writing can diversify the selections in classroom library shelves., said Julia Rodriquez.

According to the Pew Research Center one-in-six newlyweds are married to someone of a different race or ethnicity.  Since Loving v. Virginia in 1967 the rate has increased to 17%.  Cathy Carruthers said “the children of these marriages deserve great books that reflect their own families.  We hope that the award will help publishing houses to recognize and fill this need for multicultural and multiracial children’s books.