New York-January 24, 2022
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, a division of Hachette Book Group, is pleased to share the following accolades announced today at the 2022 American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting, held virtually. Regis and Kahran Bethencourt have received the Coretta Scott King–John Steptoe New Talent Award for their photographic illustrations in The Me I Choose to Be by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley. The John Steptoe New Talent Award is established to affirm new talent and to offer visibility to excellence in writing and/or illustration. Author A.S. King has received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her novels Ask the Passengers and Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future. The Margaret A. Edwards Award honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. Author and illustrator Grace Lin has been awarded the Children’s Literature Legacy Award, which honors an author or illustrator who has made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children through books that demonstrate integrity and respect for all children’s lives and experiences. Author Laekan Zea Kemp received a Pura Belpré Award Young Adult Honor for her debut novel, Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet. The Pura Belpré Award is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. Tasha Spillett-Sumner and Michaela Goade’s I Sang You Down from the Stars has received an American Indian Youth Literature Award Honor. The AIYLA identifies and honors the very best writing and illustrations by Native Americans and Indigenous peoples of North America.
“We are thrilled to see all the accolades our authors and illustrators have received this morning at the 2022 ALA Awards,” said Megan Tingley, Executive Vice President and Publisher of LBYR. “From critically acclaimed powerhouses like Grace Lin and A.S King, to new stars on the rise like the Bethencourts and Laekan Zea Kemp, to dynamic pairings like Tasha Spillet-Sumner and Michaela Goade, we’re proud to see the depth and breadth of the recognition for these creators.”
The Me I Choose to Be, edited by Megan Tingley and Alexandra Hightower (Editor, LBYR) is an “exquisite” (Shelf Awareness), “affirming” (Kirkus), and “empowering visual essay” (Publishers Weekly), that celebrates the inherent beauty of all Black and brown children. With lyrical text by bestselling author Natasha Anastasia Tarpley and images by Regis and Kahran Bethencourt—the team behind CreativeSoul Photography—each page of The Me I Choose to Be is a stunning tribute to the unlimited potential of children of color.
Regis and Kahran Bethencourt are the husband-and-wife duo and the imaginative forces behind CreativeSoul Photography and the authors of the New York Times bestselling book Glory: Magical Visions of Black Beauty. With more than ten years of working with hundreds of children, families, and brands, they specialize in child and lifestyle photography while incorporating authentic visual storytelling. They live in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ask the Passengers, edited by Andrea Spooner (VP, Editorial Director, LBYR) is an unforgettable portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society’s boxes and definitions. Astrid Jones copes with her small town’s gossip and narrow-mindedness by sending love to the passengers in the airplanes flying overhead. Her family doesn’t seem to want it, and the people in her small town would never allow her to give her love to the girl she really wants to. But little does she know just how much sending her love—and asking the right questions—will affect the passengers’ lives, and her own, for the better.
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future edited by Andrea Spooner, tells the epic story of a girl who doesn’t see a future for herself after graduation—but who has no idea how much the future really needs her. Glory’s mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she’ll eventually go the same way . . . until she experiences an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. And what she sees ahead of her is terrifying. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do anything to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.
A.S. King has been called “one of the best YA writers working today” by the New York Times Book Review. King is the author of novels including the 2020 Michael L. Printz Award–winning Dig, Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future, the 2013 Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner, Ask the Passengers, and 2011 Printz Honor Book Please Ignore Vera Dietz, among others. Her most recent release, Switch, has been called “a work of literary genius” by Booklist. She is a faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts and spends many months of the year traveling the country speaking to high school students about trauma, emotions, and red velvet cake. After many years living self-sufficiently and teaching literacy to adults in Ireland, she now lives in Pennsylvania.
Grace Lin, a New York Times bestselling author/illustrator, won the Newbery Honor for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor for Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same. Her novel When the Sea Turned to Silver was a National Book Award Finalist and her picture book A Big Mooncake for Little Star was awarded a Caldecott Honor. Grace is also an occasional commentator for New England Public Radio, a reviewer for the New York Times, a video essayist for PBS NewsHour, and the speaker of the popular TEDx talk, “The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf,” and she also hosts the podcasts: kidlitwomen*, Kids Ask Authors, and Book Friends Forever. In 2016, Grace’s art was displayed at the White House, where Grace herself was recognized by President Obama’s office as a Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling. Grace is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and lives in Massachusetts.
Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet, edited by Samantha Gentry (Editor, LBYR) is a stunning story of first love, familial expectations, the power of food, and finding where you belong. Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father’s restaurant, Nacho’s Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans—leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican American parents or following her own path. Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho’s is an opportunity for just that—a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo’s, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander’s immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his newfound family and himself.
Laekan Zea Kemp is a writer living in Austin, Texas. She’s also the creator and host of the Author Pep Talks podcast, as well as a contributor to the Las Musas podcast. Her work celebrates Chicane grit, resilience, creativity, and joy while exploring themes of identity and mental health. Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet is her first novel.
I Sang You Down from the Stars, edited by Susan Rich (Editor-at-Large, LBYR), is a unique baby book that sings with Native cultural detail while striking a universal chord in its celebration of the blossoming of love that comes with expecting and welcoming a new baby. As she waits for the arrival of her new baby, a mother-to-be gathers gifts to create a sacred bundle. A white feather, cedar and sage, a stone from the river. . . . Each addition to the bundle will offer the new baby strength and connection to tradition, family, and community. As they grow together, mother and baby will each have gifts to offer each other. Tasha Spillett-Sumner and Michaela Goade, two Indigenous creators, bring beautiful words and luminous art together in a resonant celebration of the bond between mother and child.
Tasha Spillett-Sumner is a Cree and Trinidadian award-winning poet and author who is also working on her doctoral degree in Indigenous land-based education. She makes her home in Treaty 1 territory, Manitoba, where she raises her daughter, Isabella, with her husband.
Michaela Goade is a Caldecott Medalist and a #1 New York Times bestselling artist. She is the illustrator of a number of award-winning and bestselling books, including We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and Encounter by Brittany Luby. An enrolled member of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Michaela’s Tlingit name is Sheit.een and she is of the Kiks.ádi Clan (Raven/Frog) from Sheet’ká.
About Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers is a division of Hachette Book Group, a leading trade publisher based in New York and a division of Hachette Livre, the third-largest trade and educational publisher in the world. HBG is made up of eight publishing groups: Little, Brown and Company, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Grand Central Publishing, Perseus Books, Orbit, Hachette Nashville, Hachette Audio, and Workman. For more information, visit