The Azia Books Awards Board reads and evaluates children’s books which have a multicultural or multiracial protagonist or family. The Board uses a rubric to evaluate the books.
Awards will be published June 12th of each year to memorialize Loving v. Virginia.
Barbara Gilchrist is a Legislative Assistant for the Washington State House of Representatives and received a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies, Psychology, and Political Science from Pacific Lutheran University. As a multiracial person, she believes that 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. In her spare time, Barbara enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family.
Deborah Cabanos is a second-grade teacher in Federal Way. She received both her Psychology degree and Masters in Education from Pacific Lutheran University. As a Filipino immigrant and an educator, Deborah is passionate about equity and representation both in and out of the classroom. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, taking on leadership opportunities, and using her platform on social media to inspire other educators to be the change.
Julia Rodriguez is a fourth-grade teacher in Lakewood, WA. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with a concentration in Language Arts and her Masters of Education from Seattle Pacific University. As a multiracial person and educator, she is committed to highlighting stories and works from authors whose writing diversifies her personal and classroom library shelves. She sees the need for students to have access to stories that reflect their own. When she is not teaching, she enjoys being outdoors, reading, and spending time with her family.
Bryanna Rose is an HR Consultant with the State of Washington. She earned her BA in Psychology from Georgia State University and her MA in Organizational Psychology from The University of Hartford. Her mother and aunt nurtured her interested in books by bringing her to bookshops and libraries. They even started a book club when she struggled to make friends. “As a child, I did not come across books with characters who looked like me, or with shared experiences. I believe representation is critical to nurturing the reading interests of young minds. This is why I believe the Azia Book Award is so important.”
Cathy Carruthers is a retired economist in Tacoma Washington. She writes children’s stories. She feels there is a need for children to be able to see themselves represented in all the genre of children’s literature. She hopes that the award will help publishing houses to fill this need for multicultural and multiracial children.