For immediate release | January 22, 2024

‘Cross My Heart and Never Lie’ and ‘Only This Beautiful Moment’ win 2024 Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Awards

BALTIMORE — “Cross My Heart and Never Lie,” by Nora Dåsnes and published by Hippo Park, an imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers, and “Only This Beautiful Moment,” by Abdi Nazemian and published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, are the 2024 recipients of the Stonewall Book Awards – Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award. The awards were announced today by the American Library Association’s (ALA) Stonewall Book Awards – Children’s and Young Adult Committee of the Rainbow Round Table, during the ALA’s LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience, held Jan. 19–22 in Baltimore.

The Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Awards are given annually to English-language works of exceptional merit for children or teens relating to the LGBTQIA+ experience. The award will be presented to the winning authors or editors at the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition in San Diego in June.

"With exquisite writing, gorgeous illustrations and nuanced depictions of queer themes, these books are essential additions to the canon of queer literature for young people," said Stonewall Book Awards – Children’s and Young Adult Committee Chair Shira Pilarski.

One Stonewall Book Award — Children’s Award Book was named:

“Cross My Heart and Never Lie,” written and illustrated by Nora Dåsnes, translated by Matt Bagguley and published by Hippo Park, an imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers.

Twelve-year-old Tuva starts a diary to document her hopes, fears and adventures as she begins 7th grade. Set in Norway, this colorful, hand-lettered graphic novel uses humor, authentic voice and charming illustrations to present Tuva’s experiences with changing friendships, teenage style and a surprising first crush on the new girl.

One Stonewall Book Award — Young Adult Award Book was named:

"Only This Beautiful Moment,” written by Abdi Nazemian and published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

This sweeping novel traverses Old Hollywood, revolutionary Iran and contemporary Tehran, showing how queer communities find a way to flourish across times and places. Interweaving the stories of three generations of Iranian men, the book explores repairing family bonds and delights in hope, acceptance and beautiful moments.

Eight Stonewall Book Awards – Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Award Honor Books were named. In the Children’s Book category, the four Honor Books are:

  • “Desert Queen,” written by Jyoti Rajan Gopal, illustrated by Svabhu Kohli, and published by Levine Querido.
    A boy from the Thar Desert loves to dance but is hampered by gender norms. To support his family, he performs in traditionally female costume; through the joyous experience, she becomes the Desert Queen. With luminous artwork, “Desert Queen” shares the story of acclaimed Rajasthani drag performer Queen Harish.
  • “Not He or She, I’m Me,” written by A. M. Wild, illustrated by Kah Yangni and published by Henry Holt and Co., a division of Macmillan Publishing Group.
    This joyful picture book follows a day in the life of a nonbinary child as they greet the world being confidently “me.” Colorful, mixed-media art adds an exuberant touch to this fun, affirming story.
  • “The Otherwoods,” written by Justine Pucella Winans and published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books.
    Nonbinary River just wants to ignore the literal monster under their bed and the creepy portals opening around them. When their first real friend is dragged into the Otherwoods, this reluctant hero must embark on a rescue with their feline companion, Mr. Fluffy Pancakes, in tow.
  • “Stars in Their Eyes,” written by Jessica Walton, illustrated by Aśka and published by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.
    Bisexual Maisie heads to Fancon with her very enthused Mum. Despite her anxiety, she hopes to meet her favorite actor, who, like her, has an above-the-knee amputation. But the star of her weekend turns out to be a cute, nonbinary volunteer. This Australian graphic novel explores fandom and first crushes.

In the Young Adult Book category, the four Honor Books are:

  • “Ander & Santi Were Here,” written by Jonny Garza Villa and published by Wednesday Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.
    Ander, a nonbinary gay artist in Texas, has taken a gap year to paint murals and work in their family’s taqueria. Santi, a new server, catches Ander’s eye, and they embark on a passionate romance. But their future together is threatened by Ander’s looming out-of-state plans and Santi’s undocumented status.
  • “Imogen, Obviously,” written by Becky Albertalli and published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
    Ultimate LGBTQIA+ ally and perpetual people pleaser Imogen Scott has always been the token straight person in her high school’s Pride Alliance. While visiting her friend at college, she develops unexpected feelings for another girl. Now she must reexamine who she truly is and challenge perceptions of what defines queerness.
  • “The Long Run,” written by James Acker and published by Inkyard Press.
    Sandro wants to lay low and survive senior year so he can distance himself from his big, boisterous family. Despite his popularity, Sebastian has few real relationships at home or at school. When a party bust brings these South Jersey jocks together, an unexpected friendship evolves into unexpected love.
  • “The Spirit Bares Its Teeth,” written by Andrew Joseph White and published by Peachtree Teen, an imprint of Peachtree Publishing Company Inc.
    In alternate Victorian London, violet-eyed cismen are prized for their ability to communicate with spirits. For trans, autistic Silas, the eyes are a curse, condemning him to a future of childbearing. This visceral, dark, ultimately hopeful novel explores the horror of being tight-laced into a role that has never fit.

The members of the 2024 Stonewall Book Awards - Children’s and Young Adult Committee are: Chair Shira Pilarski, Lansdale Public Library, Pennsylvania; Kathleen Balma, New Orleans Public Library; Angharad Daly, Pima County Public Library, Tucson, Arizona; Whitney Etchison, Severn School, Severna Park, Maryland; Kacy Helwick, New Orleans Public Library; Derek J. Ivie, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, New York; Kristin Jones, Rogers Public Library, Arkansas; Amber Loveless, Queens Public Library, New York; Keiko Sanders, Lakebay, Washington; Gregory Taylor, Boise, Idaho; Barbara A. Ward, University of New Orleans, Moscow, Idaho; and Angie Rundle, Administrative Assistant, St. Louis County Library.

For information on the Stonewall Book Awards – Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit www.ala.org/yma.

About the Rainbow Round Table

The Rainbow Round Table (RRT)—formerly known as the GLBTRT—of the American Library Association is the oldest professional association for LGBTQIA+ people in the United States. It is committed to serving the information needs of the LGBTQIA+ professional library community and information and access needs of individuals at large. It is home to Rainbow Book Month™, a nationwide celebration every June and the Stonewall Book Award, the first award honoring LGBTQIA+ books. The Rainbow Round Table is committed to encouraging and supporting the free and necessary access to all information, as reflected by the missions of the American Library Association and democratic institutions.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government, and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library's role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit www.ala.org.

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