A picture book about a Black family in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, a novel about Pakistani-American teenagers growing up in California, and a nonfiction account of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre are this year’s winners of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, an annual prize for children’s and young adult literature.
The unique “Ain’t Burned All the Bright,” created for teen readers, won the picture book category. The book follows an unnamed Black teenager through the first months of COVID and the murder of George Floyd, mixing the words of Jason Reynolds with illustrations by Jason Griffin. Washington D.C.-based Reynolds is a New York Times best-selling author and a recipient of the NAACP Image Award. Queens-based Griffin has had his work shown all over the world, recently at Het HEM in Amsterdam. The two are longtime friends and collaborated on the 2009 book “My Name Is Jason. Mine Too.”
“Moon Pops” by Heena Baek and “War” by José Jorge Letria, illustrated by André Letria, were honorees in the picture book category.
“All My Rage” by Sabaa Tahir won this year’s fiction and poetry award. The book divides its time between the past and the present. In the past, Misbah and Toufiq, a newly married Pakistani couple, immigrate to the United States in hopes of finding a new life. In the present, Salahudin, the couple’s child, and Noor, Salahudin’s best friend, navigate teenage life as Pakistani-Americans in the small town of Juniper, Calif. San Francisco-based Tahir drew from her own childhood experience as a Pakistani-American growing up in California’s Mojave Desert.
“Rez Dogs” by Joseph Bruchac and “Borders” by Thomas King, illustrated by Natasha Donovan, were honorees in the fiction and poetry category.
“Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre” by Brandy Colbert was named the nonfiction award winner. A century after the Tulsa Race Massacre, Colbert dives into the reasons why possibly hundreds of Black Americans were murdered by a white mob, and why the event isn’t more widely known today. Los Angeles-based author Colbert is an award-winning writer and a faculty member of the MFA program in writing for children at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn.
“The Waiting Place: When Home Is Lost and a New One Not Yet Found” by Dina Nayeri, with photographs by Anna Bosch Miralpeix, and “Your Legacy: A Bold Reclaiming of Our Enslaved History” by Schele Williams, illustrated by Tonya Engel, were honorees in the nonfiction category.
“Young people today are living through history,” said Elissa Gershowitz, acting editor in chief of the Horn Book. “At a time of increased book bans and challenges, it’s vital for readers to have access to thought-provoking, mind-expanding, worldview-questioning titles such as these.”
“This year marks the Boston Globe’s 150th anniversary, and we are once again proud to partner with the Horn Book to award this prestigious honor and celebrate the authors and illustrators of children’s and young adult literature,” said Linda Henry, CEO of Boston Globe Media. “Each of the award winners and honorees is inspiring the imaginations of countless young readers. We are grateful to each of them for the contributions they’ve made to the literary community.”
Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards winners and honorees will be celebrated in October.
Sam Trottenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.