California Library Association Beatty Award

Christina Young, Librarian, Digital Content Team,
Collage of selected books winning the Beatty Award

Books take readers on a journey. It is often the lure of exploration that prompts readers to bury their noses in the pages of a novel or, instead, nowadays, bury themselves in the glow of a tablet's screen. Do we long so much for the new and far that we forget stories abound even within our own backyards? Whether you are a transplant to the Golden State or have grown up here all your life, you may have experienced bouts of boredom. After all, familiarity breeds contempt. You may be bored of California, but California is never bored of you. Its history is long and complicated, its lands vast and varied, and its people are deep and ever-changing. California will always have a story up its sleeve.

To help you uncover these stories, take a gander at the California Library Association's John and Patricia Beatty Award. This award honors distinguished children's and young adult works representing California and its people. The 2023 winner will be announced during National Library Week (April 23-29) and recognized at the 2023 California Library Association Conference (June 1-3).

Patricia Beatty was a woman of many feats. She was a teacher, a librarian, and an author as well. Meanwhile, John Beatty served as an English history and humanities professor at the University of California Riverside. Patricia and John co-authored 11 books of fiction for young readers, and Patricia herself wrote numerous other books for young people. She often set her stories in California or the West. Patricia hoped the award would encourage authors to write quality children's books that bring an awareness of California, its heritage, and its future.

Members of the California Library Association have been reading, reviewing, and debating selections for the John and Patricia Beatty Award since 1989. The diversity of literature within these selections is apparent. The stories run the gamut from hopeful and inspired to heartbreaking and cruel and all things in between. To help you get started, we'll list the most recent award recipients from the last ten years. If you are so inclined, the complete list of award recipients is worth a browse. Diving into these titles may give you a renewed perspective—your backyard may look a little less monotonous now.

Beatty Award Winning Titles 2012-2022

Frankie & Bug
Forman, Gayle

Last Night at the Telegraph Club
Lo, Malinda

Land of the Cranes
Salazar, Aida

My Papi Has a Motorcycle
Quintero, Isabel

The Way You Make Me Feel
Goo, Maurene

The 57 Bus
Slater, Dashka

It Ain't So Awful, Falafel
Dumas, Firoozeh

This Bridge Will Not Be Gray
Eggers, Dave,

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting With the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands
Roy, Katherine

Part picture book, part nonfiction, this book can be enjoyed in several ways. Readers can learn interesting details about how sharks work, they can enjoy the story of a shark hunting its prey in the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco, or they can just take in the beautiful (if a little scary) illustrations. Kids with a shark fascination will enjoy taking a bite out of this book. Recommended for ages 7+.

Fun fact: Over 10 different species of shark live off the coast of Southern California. But don’t be scared: humans are more of a danger to sharks than sharks are to humans.

The Tree Lady
Hopkins, H. Joseph.

The Camping Trip That Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Our National Parks
Rosenstock, Barbara

One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street
Rocklin, Joanne