For immediate release | January 30, 2023

YMA highlights 2023 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature youth category winners

NEW ORLEANS — The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), an affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA), announced the 2023 winners of its Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature youth categories today during the ALA’s LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience held January 27-30, in New Orleans.

The Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature celebrate Asian/Pacific American culture and heritage. The awards are based on literary and artistic merit within three youth categories including Picture Book, Children’s Literature and Youth Literature.

The 2023 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature Picture Book winner is “From the Tops of the Trees,” written by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Rachel Wada and published by Carolrhoda Books, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group.

Yang’s sensitive prose and Wada’s naturalistic palette aptly embrace the gifts of a beloved tree, the perspective of a young child, the everlasting strength of a father, and the eternal love and hopefulness of their unity.

The committee selected one Picture Book Honor title:

“Nana, Nenek & Nina,” written and illustrated by Liza Ferneyhough and published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House.

The 2023 Asian/Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature winner is “Maizy Chen's Last Chance,” written by Lisa Yee and published by Random House Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House.

Maizy Chen has never been to Last Chance, Minnesota, until a decline in her grandfather’s health has her and her mom driving across the country to help with his care and her family’s restaurant, the Golden Palace. Yee’s heartfelt novel celebrates the stories of immigrants by blending past and present experiences as she shares the importance of family, friendship, history, and more.

The committee selected one Children’s Literature Honor title:

“Troublemaker,” written by John Cho, with Sarah Suk and published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

The 2023 Asian/Pacific American Award for Youth Literature winner is “Himawari House,” written and illustrated by Harmony Becker, and published by First Second, an imprint of Macmillan.

Japanese-born, American-assimilated Nao moves into a shared home in Tokyo during her gap year to reconnect to her Japanese roots. Becker’s innovative use of various languages and accents perfectly and efficiently captures the heartbreak of feeling alienated from one’s heritage and full identity due to language barriers, as well as the familiar warmth that comes from being in a vibrant, diasporic space where cultural exchange and mixing is the norm.

The committee selected one Youth Literature Honor title:

“The Silence that Binds Us,” written by Joanna Ho, and published by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins.

Winning and Honor Books were chosen from titles by or about Asian Pacific Americans published between September 2021 to August 2022. Each award will be named and given the award seal during the annual APALA Literature Award Ceremony taking place during the 2023 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago in June.

For a complete list of Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature including adult fiction and nonfiction titles please visit

The 2023 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature committee members include:

Co- Chairs: Helen Look, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Candice Wing-yee Mack, Los Angeles Public Library; and Zoë McLaughlin, Michigan State University, East Lansing.

Picture Book Award Jury: Karen Nguyen, San Diego Public Library; Janet Mumford, Janet Mumford Consulting, Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, Canada; January Sanalak, Dag Hammarskjöld Library, United Nations, New York; and Quinn Tomlinson, (Formerly) Oakland Public Library, California.

Children's Literature Award Jury: Jamie Kurumaji, Fresno County Public Library, California; Danilo Madayag Baylen, University of West Georgia, Carrollton; Hanna Lee, First Regional Library, Hernando, Mississippi; Lamonica Sanford, Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville; and Neha Thakkar, The Avery Coonley School, Downers Grove, Illinois.

Youth Literature Award Jury: Sandy Wee, San Mateo County Libraries, California; Jade Alburo, University of California - Los Angeles; Helen Li, Kansas City Public Library, Missouri; Nicole Shibata, California State University - Northridge; and Xuemin Zhong, Los Angeles County Library.

The Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) was founded in 1980 by librarians of diverse Asian/Pacific ancestries committed to working together toward a common goal: to create an organization that would address the needs of Asian/Pacific American librarians and those who serve Asian/Pacific American communities.


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, 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


Candice Mack

Past President

Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association