Award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Barbara McClintock draws like a dream; her “beautifully restrained use of color may evoke a long-ago time, but her compositions are so dynamic that there’s always something for contemporary children to discover” (Michael Cart, Booklist). Full of humor and wit and strong characterizations, her books are timeless charmers. McClintock’s books have won five New York Times Best Books awards, a New York Times Notable Book citation, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor award, and numerous other awards, recommended/best book lists, and starred reviews. Nominated by Raúl Colón / Representative text: Nothing Stopped Sophie
Molly Knox Ostertag is an Ignatz- and Prism Award–winning graphic novelist, 30 Under 30 Forbes scholar, and a Los Angeles-based writer for children’s TV animation. Notably, she wrote the GLAAD-nominated and Peabody Award–winning episode “Enchanting Grom Fright” for The Owl House. Her middle-grade graphic novel debut, The Witch Boy, came out in 2017 from Scholastic and is being adapted into a feature film by Netflix. The sequel, The Hidden Witch, followed in 2018; the New York Times best-seller The Midwinter Witch in 2019. Her latest book, The Girl from the Sea, debuted as a #1 YA best-seller on June 1, 2021. She is currently serializing a new YA graphic novel, Darkest Night, on her newsletter. Nominated by William Alexander / Representative text: The Witch Boy
LeUyen Pham is the award-winning and critically acclaimed illustrator of more than one hundred books for children, including God’s Dream, by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Pham is the New York Times best-selling illustrator of Julianne Moore’s picture books series, Freckleface Strawberry; Kelly DiPucchio’s picture book Grace for President; and Shannon and Dean Hale’s middle-grade series Princess in Black. Her more recent books include Love Is Powerful, by Heather Dean Brewer, and the Caldecott Honor Book Bear Came Along, by Richard T. Morris. She is co-creator, with Shannon Hale, of the groundbreaking best-selling graphic memoirs Real Friends, Best Friends, and Friends Forever. Her latest self-authored endeavor, Outside, Inside, a chronicle of life in a Covid-bound world, was released in winter 2021. Born in Vietnam, Pham lives in Los Angeles. Nominated by Jessica Kim / Representative text: Outside, Inside
Richard Van Camp is a proud member of the Dogrib (Tłı̨chǫ) Nation from Fort Smith, NWT, Canada. He is a graduate of the En’owkin International School of Writing, the University of Victoria’s Creative Writing BFA Program, and received a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of British Columbia. He is an internationally renowned storyteller and best-selling author. His novel The Lesser Blessed is now a movie with First Generation Films and premiered in 2012 at the Toronto International Film Festival. He is the author of five collections of short stories, six board books, three picture books, five comics, and much more. He is the winner of many awards, most recently the Blue Metropolis First Peoples Literary Prize at the 2021 Blue Metropolis Festival for Moccasin Square Gardens and his literary career so far and the 2021 CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Young Adult Literature. In 2016 he won an Eisner Award for Best Single Issue for A Blanket of Butterflies. Nominated by Lawrence Schimel / Representative text: What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know about Horses?
Renée Watson is a #1 New York Times best-selling author, educator, and community activist. Her young adult novel Piecing Me Together received a Coretta Scott King Award and Newbery Honor. Her children’s picture books and novels for teens have received several awards and international recognition. Her poetry and fiction center around the experience of Black girls and women and explore themes of home, identity, and the intersections of race, class, and gender. Her books include young adult novels Love Is a Revolution, Piecing Me Together, This Side of Home, and Watch Us Rise, co-written with Ellen Hagan. Her middle-grade novels include the Ryan Hart series, Some Places More Than Others, Betty Before X, co-authored with Ilyasah Shabazz, and What Momma Left Me. Her picture book Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills received several honors, including an NAACP Image Award nomination in children’s literature. One of Watson’s passions is using the arts to help youth cope with trauma and discuss social issues. Her picture book A Place Where Hurricanes Happen is based on poetry workshops she facilitated with children in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Nominated by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich / Representative text: Piecing Me Together
Carole Boston Weatherford is a Newbery Honor author, New York Times best-seller, and two-time NAACP Image Award winner. Since her 1995 debut, she has published fifty-plus books including these Caldecott Honor winners: Freedom in Congo Square, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom. Six of her books have won Coretta Scott King Awards or Honors. Weatherford has celebrated music in books like Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane and R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. She collaborated with her son, illustrator Jeffery Boston Weatherford, on the verse novel You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen. With an MFA in creative writing from University of North Carolina-Greensboro and an MA in publications design from the University of Baltimore, Weatherford is a professor at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. Nominated by M.O. Yuksel / Representative text: Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre
Rita Williams-Garcia is the New York Times best-selling author of novels for young adults and middle-grade readers. Her most recent novel, Gone Crazy in Alabama, ends the saga of the Gaither Sisters, who appear in One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven. Her novels have been recipients of numerous awards, including the Coretta Scott King Award, National Book Award Finalists, Newbery Honor Book, Junior Library Guild, and the Scott O’Dell Prize for Historical Fiction. She served on the faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Writing for Children MFA Program, and she resides in Queens, New York. Nominated by Veera Hiranandani & Brenda Woods / Representative texts: A Sitting in St. James & One Crazy Summer
Gene Luen Yang began making comics and graphic novels in the fifth grade. In 2006 his book American Born Chinese was published and became the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award. It also won an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album – New. In 2013 First Second Books released Boxers & Saints, his two-volume graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion. Boxers & Saints was nominated for a National Book Award and won the L.A. Times Book Prize. Yang’s other comics include Dark Horse Comics’ continuation of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender and DC Comics’ Superman! In 2016 the Library of Congress, Every Child a Reader, and the Children’s Book Council appointed Yang the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Nominated by Trung Le Nguyen / Representative text: American Born Chinese