Every year, a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands is distributed by the Library of Congress Center for the Book during the National Book Festival. Each book is selected by a Center for the Book state affiliate or state library and most are for children and young readers. Books may be written by authors from the state, take place in the state, or celebrate the state’s culture and heritage.
At the annual National Book Festival, the California State Library and California Center for the Book feature the John and Patricia Beatty Award recipient. Below are the recipients from 2012 to present. More about the Discover Great Places Through Reading list can be found at: http://read.gov/greatreads/.
About the Beatty Award
The California Library Association’s John and Patricia Beatty Award honors the author of a distinguished book for children or young adults that best promotes an awareness of California and its people.
A committee of CLA members selects the winning title from books published in the United States during the preceding year. Patricia Beatty donated the initial cash endowment for the Award which now honors both her husband, John Beatty, who served as professor of English history and humanities at the University of California at Riverside prior to his death in 1975, and Patricia herself who died in 1991. Together the Beattys wrote eleven books of fiction for young readers; Patricia Beatty wrote numerous other books for young people, of which many have California or western settings.
The prize of $500 and an engraved plaque are presented to the recipient during the CLA Beatty Award and California Young Reader Award event at the CLA annual conference. The event also provides the author with a forum to speak about his/her book and provides an opportunity for attendees to meet the author during a book signing.
About the 2020 Beatty Award Recipient
My Papi Has a Motorcycle, written by Isabel Quintero and illustrated by Zeke Peña, and published by Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House, has been selected as the 2020 recipient of the California Library Association’s John and Patricia Beatty Award. Every year since 1989, the Beatty Award honors the author of a distinguished book for children or young adults that best promotes an awareness of California and its people.
My Papi Has a Motorcycle is a loving glimpse of life in California’s Inland Empire. In invigorating and charming text and muted pastel colored illustrations, a young girl named Daisy goes on a motorcycle ride with her beloved papi through the streets of her town. There she meets and greets her librarian, her neighbors, and her abuelito and abuelita, all the while experiencing the sights and sounds of daily life: the lemon trees, the raspados man with his cart, the little carnicería and panderia. The book ends with her pretending she’s taking part in the historic car race on the historic Grand Boulevard of her precious community.
Isabel Quintero perfectly captures in words the sights and sounds of her own childhood in Corona, California, and Peña’s pastel colors perfectly evoke a warm, hazy, sunlit California afternoon. While this book is an homage to a very specific community, Quintero and Peña’s Corona could stand in for many California cities like it up and down the state: current bustling cities, suburbs or exurbs that once upon a time were dusty agricultural towns. Each of these towns has a local history like Corona’s, with something special and unique. Quintero’s and Peña’s depiction of Corona’s road races that started in 1913 is a reminder that every California town has some bit of local history like this to tell. In sharing this slice of Daisy’s life in Corona, Quintero and Peña honor their Latinx heritage as well, a rich part of the tapestry that makes up California life.
Beatty Award Recipients 2012 – 2019