Congratulations to Robin Ha, Nikki Tate, Rukhsana Khan, Elizabeth Rusch, and Kass Reich, whose books have been selected for the CCBC Children’s Choice for 2021, the best-of-the-year list created annually by the librarians of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center!

More about ALMOST AMERICAN GIRL by Robin Ha from the CCBC:

An only child raised by her single mother, Chuna lives happily in Seoul, South Korea. On a vacation to Huntsville, Alabama, Chuna is stunned and devastated to learn that they will not be returning home; her mother plans to marry the man they’re visiting, a recent immigrant from Korea. Thrust into a mostly white school with no language-acquisition program, Chuna is miserable and lost. Her new stepfamily is cold and resentful, and classmates either ignore or bully her. Her one escape is art; she enjoys drawing her favorite Korean comics heroine. When her mom finally enrolls her in a comics-drawing class, Chuna befriends Jessica, a kindred spirit and biracial (Japanese/white) girl. But life truly improves only once Chuna (who takes the American name Robin) and her mom move north, and Chuna enrolls in a diverse high school where she makes Korean American friends. Scenes from Chuna’s childhood, including mistreatment at the hands of a teacher, are neatly woven into the main narrative. Ha’s close but contentious relationship with her fiercely protective mother, who faced discrimination and was socially ostracized as a single mother in Korea, lies at the heart of this affecting graphic memoir.  

More about HOME BASE: A MOTHER-DAUGHTER STORY by Nikki Tate and illustrated by Katie Kath:

A white mother and daughter are each facing challenges in this picture book that begins with the daughter getting ready to try out for the baseball team, while her mom is hoping to be hired to build a patio. As the story advances, the duo are shown in side by side images while single-word sentences describe what’s happening. “Cap. Glove. Shoes.” (girl) “Gloves. Goggles. Boots.” (mom) describe what’s happening as the two get dressed and ready to leave. This realistic look at what appears to be a single-parent, working-class family ends with success for both as the daughter pitches a winning game and the mother completes her construction job and they celebrate their success back home.

More about ONCE UP AN EID, contributed to by Rukhsana Khan:

The children, young teens, and families at the center of each slice-of-life offering in this vibrant collection come from many backgrounds and live in many different places. Each of them feels distinct, yet familiar and recognizable as they navigate feelings common to many children and teens regardless of faith or circumstance—such as being the new kid at school; or longing for traditions not to change; or feeling like an outsider in one’s own extended, bicultural family. Yet their Muslim faith is an essential part of their identities, and there is power in the breadth of these accumulated stories, all of which are set during one of the two Eid observances: Eid-al-Fitr or Eid-al-Adha. Vivid depictions of food, family dynamics, and friendship are woven into these tales full of hope and generosity that feel genuine to each story. In their introduction, editors Aisha Saeed and S. K. Ali write that this collection offers the “cozy and familiar” for many Muslim readers, while also extending an invitation to non-Muslim readers to join in on the celebration of Eid. This open-hearted offering, comprised mostly of prose stories but also including comics and verse, succeeds beautifully on both counts.

More about THE BIG ONE: The Cascadia Earthquakes and the Science of Saving Lives by Elizabeth Rusch:

A fascinating look at the Cascadian Subduction Zone in the Pacific Northwest, where scientists predict a major earthquake will occur at some point in the next 100 years, starts with terrific, accessible explanations of plate tectonics and subduction earthquakes. Readers meet researchers looking for evidence of past subduction earthquakes and resulting tsunamis in the region, work that includes scientific research on land and in water, and studying the oral histories of Indigenous communities in the Pacific Northwest and recorded and oral histories in Japan. This account also introduces individuals devoted to mitigating the impact of a major earthquake in the future, from engineers determining how best to reinforce bridges and buildings, to individuals working on the ShakeAlert seismic monitor and notification system. The annual Disaster Relief Trial biking event in several northwest cities mimics post-quake devastation to practice how everyday citizens, including teens shown here, can play a role in emergency response. The sobering reality of a likely natural disaster is balanced here by human effort, ingenuity, and commitment to understanding the past and preparing for the future.

More about WHAT GREW IN LARRY’S GARDEN by Laura Alary and illustrated by Kass Reich:

Grace enjoys helping her white-haired neighbor, Larry, with his garden. While they work, he talks about what he’s doing and why, sharing his years of gardening experience. Not surprisingly, Larry is a teacher. Every year he gives his each of his students a tomato seedling to nurture, and then requires that they give the plant to someone else, accompanied by a letter explaining why they are doing so. When a new neighbor builds a security fence that blocks the sun from Larry’s garden, Grace applies what she’s learned from Larry. She gives the neighbor a packet of seeds with a letter that explains the best way to feel safe is to have friends. And then she helps him turn his fence into a trellis so that her gift of bean seeds will have something to climb. Warm gouache and colored pencil paintings illustrate an appealing story of building community that was inspired by a real classroom teacher who gives his students heirloom tomato plants each year to grow and then give away. Grace has light brown skin; Larry appears white.

Robin is represented by Samantha Haywood; Nikki by Amy Tompkins; Elizabeth and Kass by Fiona Kenshole; and Rukkhsana Khan by Rob Firing and Amy Tompkins.

To see the full list, please go to: