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ALA 2022 Youth Media Award Winners: Cynthia Levinson & Gloria Amescua Among the Winners

Last week, the American Library Association announced the 2022 Youth Media Awards, and Austin SCBWI chapter members and authors Cynthia Levinson and Gloria Amescua were among those honored.

author photo of smiling woman in blue shirt

Cynthia Levinson won the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children with The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art, illustrated by Evan Turk.

On her website, Cynthia gives a sneak peak of the book: “As a Jewish child growing up in a shetl in Lithuania, Ben Shahn yearns to draw everything he sees —and does so in the family Bible! After seeing his father banished by the Czar for demanding workers’ rights, he develops a keen sense of justice, too. So, when Ben and his family make their way to America, he brings both his artistic eye and his desire to fight for what’s right.”

Not only did The People’s Painter win the Sibert Award–it’s also earned a slew of 5-star reviews and other accolades including a Horn Book Fanfare pick and a National Jewish Book Award finalist award. A starred Kirkus review for The People’s Painter notes “This life of an artist with a social conscience makes itself heard.” Congrats, Cynthia!
cover image of The People's Painter

author photo of woman in scarf and dark blue shirtGloria Amescua also earned distinction from the ALA 2022 Youth Media awards, winning one of three Pura Belpré Honor Book awards for Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua, illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh. “Pura Belpré Awards,” the ALA notes, “honor Latinx writers and illustrators whose children’s and young adult books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience.”

As Gloria notes on her website, Luz Jiménez led an incredible life: “As a young Nahua girl in Mexico during the early 1900s, Luz learned how to grind corn in a metate, to twist yarn with her toes, and to weave on a loom….But when the Mexican Revolution came to her village, Luz and her family were forced to flee and start a new life. In Mexico City, Luz became a model for painters, sculptors, and photographers such as Diego Rivera, Jean Charlot and Tina Modotti….This moving, beautifully illustrated biography tells the remarkable story of how model and teacher Luz Jiménez became ‘the soul of Mexico’—a living link between the indigenous Nahua and the rest of the world.”

David Bowles (My Two Border Towns) says: “Gloria Amescua narrates the amazing life of Luz Jiménez with lyrical beauty that echoes the very xochicuicatl—ancestral Nahua poetics—that Luz sought to preserve for her people. Child of the Flower-Song People deftly balances fascinating biographical moments with an earnest sense of social justice for the indigenous people of Mexico. Duncan Tonatiuh’s now famous codex-style art, drawn from his own Nahua heritage, makes the story and message even more poignant.” Congrats, Gloria!