On August 20, 2021, the Writers’ League of Texas announced the winners and finalists of the 2020 Writers’ League of Texas Book Awards, celebrating the best books by Texan writers published during the year 2020—and many children’s books by Austin SCBWI members were among them! Four chapter members placed as finalists or winners in the Middle Grade/Young Adult category and the Picture Book category, with two authors each receiving honors for two books.
Bethany Hegedus had two books named finalists in the Picture Book category: Hard Work, but It’s Worth It: The Life of Jimmy Carter and Huddle Up! Cuddle Up! The former (illustrated by Kyung Eun Han) is a picture-book biography of Jimmy Carter, emphasizing his roles as a change-maker and humanitarian. The latter (illustrated by Michael Deas) is a humorous football-themed bedtime story about a family’s get-ready-for-bed countdown.
Christina Soontornvat was named a finalist in the Middle Grade/Young Adult category for A Wish in the Dark, her Newbery Honor-winning novel that reimagines the story of Les Miserables in a Thai-inspired fantasy setting. She also was named a finalist in the Picture Book category for The Blunders: A Counting Catastrophe!, a counting book (illustrated by Colin Jack) about a family of ten children who keep coming up one short when checking if they’re all present.
Chris Barton was named a finalist in the Picture Book category for All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing. The book, illustrated by Nicole Xu, recounts the tragedy, recovery, and healing process of the survivors of the Oklahoma City Bombing.
Don Tate won the Picture Book category for William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad, which he wrote and illustrated. This picture-book biography tells the story of William Still, who recorded the stories of thousands of enslaved people fleeing north to freedom and helped reunite them with their families.
Congratulations to all!