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.