Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match and The First Rule of Punk have each earned a 2021 Azia Books Award.
- Picture Book Category winner Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match is authored by Monica Brown, illustrated by Sara Palacios, and published by Children’s Book Press.
- Young Reader Category winner The First Rule of Punk is written by Celia C. Pérez and published by Kokila.
Azia Books memorializes Loving v. Virginia – the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court Case that “ruled that laws banning interracial marriage violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution” – by giving an award to the authors of the best books with a multiracial/multicultural protagonist.
“I’m delighted to receive the inaugural Azia Book Award, which honors strong multicultural representation in children’s literature,” said Monica Brown. “Thank you to the distinguished committee made of up educators, leaders, creators, and advocates of diverse children’s literature in the state of Washington.”
“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!” said Celia C. Pérez. “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%.
“The children of these marriages deserve great books that reflect their own families,” said Cathy Carruthers. “We hope that the award will help publishing houses to recognize and fill this need for multicultural and multiracial children’s books.”
Brown and Pérez will each win a $500 prize as part of the Azia Books Award.
Aziabooks.com has a board of four people who review children’s books, which have a multicultural/multiracial protagonist or family.