Awards, B&N Reads, Childrens YA Book Awards, Picture Books, YA, Young Readers

Announcing the 2023 Barnes & Noble Children’s and YA Book Awards Shortlist

We’re so excited to be celebrating our 3rd annual Barnes and Noble Children’s & YA Book Awards. Each year brings stacks of new books that capture our hearts and minds, and this past one has been full of some truly stellar stories. Now, without further ado — we’re excited to announce the books on our shortlists for Picture Books, Young Readers, and Young Adults! 

Picture Book Shortlist

Nell Plants a Tree

Hardcover $17.99 $19.99

Nell Plants a Tree

Nell Plants a Tree

By Anne Wynter
Illustrator Daniel Miyares

In Stock Online

Hardcover $17.99 $19.99

Nell Plants a Tree is a stunning story that is sure to become a family favorite. Branching out to include multiple generations and complemented by brilliant illustrations, Anne Wynter and Daniel Miyares have teamed up to bring an unforgettable tale about how a young girl’s pecan tree grows into the living center of a loving Black family. This must-read will root itself deep into the hearts of readers young and old. 

Nell Plants a Tree is a stunning story that is sure to become a family favorite. Branching out to include multiple generations and complemented by brilliant illustrations, Anne Wynter and Daniel Miyares have teamed up to bring an unforgettable tale about how a young girl’s pecan tree grows into the living center of a loving Black family. This must-read will root itself deep into the hearts of readers young and old. 

A Spoonful of Frogs

Hardcover $18.99

A Spoonful of Frogs

A Spoonful of Frogs

By Casey Lyall
Illustrator Vera Brosgol

In Stock Online

Hardcover $18.99

We’ve been stewing on this quirky and delightful story about a witch on a cooking show, and we’re certain it has the recipe for success! With a dollop of laughter, a dash of hijinks, and a heaping helping of amphibians, this book pairs vibrant illustrations from Vera Brosgol with a laugh-out-loud story written by Casey Lyall, making this tale truly hop off the pages. Certain to become a giggle-inducing favorite, A Spoonful of Frogs is perfect for year-round enjoyment.

We’ve been stewing on this quirky and delightful story about a witch on a cooking show, and we’re certain it has the recipe for success! With a dollop of laughter, a dash of hijinks, and a heaping helping of amphibians, this book pairs vibrant illustrations from Vera Brosgol with a laugh-out-loud story written by Casey Lyall, making this tale truly hop off the pages. Certain to become a giggle-inducing favorite, A Spoonful of Frogs is perfect for year-round enjoyment.

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

Hardcover $14.99 $17.99

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

By Mary Lee Donovan
Illustrator Brizida Magro

In Stock Online

Hardcover $14.99 $17.99

You don’t need a box of valentines when you have this delightful picture book full of terms of endearment on your shelf. The cadence of Mary Lee Donovan’s text paired with Brizida Magro’s warm and bright illustrations provides an enchanting story full of love and affection. Perfect for baby showers and bedtime stories, Let Me Call You Sweetheart will warm the hearts of readers, perfect to remind the wee ones in your life of all the ways you love them.

You don’t need a box of valentines when you have this delightful picture book full of terms of endearment on your shelf. The cadence of Mary Lee Donovan’s text paired with Brizida Magro’s warm and bright illustrations provides an enchanting story full of love and affection. Perfect for baby showers and bedtime stories, Let Me Call You Sweetheart will warm the hearts of readers, perfect to remind the wee ones in your life of all the ways you love them.

The Worst Teddy Ever

Hardcover $14.99 $17.99

The Worst Teddy Ever

The Worst Teddy Ever

By Marcelo Verdad

In Stock Online

Hardcover $14.99 $17.99

The Worst Teddy Ever is about to become the book your kid asks for over and over again. Witty and surprising, Marcelo Verdad’s author-illustrator debut is a hilarious story about the unrecognized heroes in our lives, focusing on Noa’s beloved Teddy. All about a protective nocturnal Teddy bear who’s too tired to play during the day, kids will hug their own Teddy extra close after finishing this entertaining book.

The Worst Teddy Ever is about to become the book your kid asks for over and over again. Witty and surprising, Marcelo Verdad’s author-illustrator debut is a hilarious story about the unrecognized heroes in our lives, focusing on Noa’s beloved Teddy. All about a protective nocturnal Teddy bear who’s too tired to play during the day, kids will hug their own Teddy extra close after finishing this entertaining book.

How to Eat a Book

Hardcover $18.99

How to Eat a Book

How to Eat a Book

By Mrs. & Mr. MacLeod

In Stock Online

Hardcover $18.99

You know what they say — sometimes you eat the book, and sometimes the book eats you. A brilliant celebration of literature, How to Eat a Book is an irresistible tale full of charm that readers will devour. This often surprising and wonderful picture book written and illustrated by the wife and husband team Mrs. & Mr. MacLeod is a delectable addition to any young child’s library. Awaken their love of books with this wild tale full of unique illustrations. 

You know what they say — sometimes you eat the book, and sometimes the book eats you. A brilliant celebration of literature, How to Eat a Book is an irresistible tale full of charm that readers will devour. This often surprising and wonderful picture book written and illustrated by the wife and husband team Mrs. & Mr. MacLeod is a delectable addition to any young child’s library. Awaken their love of books with this wild tale full of unique illustrations. 

Lou: A Children's Picture Book About a Fire Hydrant and Unlikely Neighborhood Hero

Hardcover $15.99 $19.99

Lou: A Children's Picture Book About a Fire Hydrant and Unlikely Neighborhood Hero

Lou: A Children's Picture Book About a Fire Hydrant and Unlikely Neighborhood Hero

By Breanna Carzoo
Illustrator Breanna Carzoo

In Stock Online

Hardcover $15.99 $19.99

Lou takes his job as the neighborhood dogs’ toilet quite seriously, but he feels like there might be more to him than that. This picture book holds nothing back in its hilarious and heartfelt story about a fire hydrant finding his purpose. Breanna Carzoo’s author-illustrator debut is an engaging read about self-esteem, acceptance, and resourcefulness that will be perfect to jumpstart conversations between caregivers and children! 

Lou takes his job as the neighborhood dogs’ toilet quite seriously, but he feels like there might be more to him than that. This picture book holds nothing back in its hilarious and heartfelt story about a fire hydrant finding his purpose. Breanna Carzoo’s author-illustrator debut is an engaging read about self-esteem, acceptance, and resourcefulness that will be perfect to jumpstart conversations between caregivers and children! 

Young Reader Shortlist

The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels

Hardcover $17.99

The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels

The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels

By Beth Lincoln
Illustrator Claire Powell

In Stock Online

Hardcover $17.99

Full of wordplay and mystery, this debut has quickly become a book we can’t stop talking about. Meet the large and well-defined Swift family as young Shenanigan Swift tries to overcome nominative determinism to solve the murder of her Arch-Aunt Schadenfreude. Beth Lincoln’s clever novel, peppered with Claire Powell’s illustrations, will keep readers on the edge of their seats, and Shenanigan will rapidly capture hearts as she sets out to redefine herself.  

Full of wordplay and mystery, this debut has quickly become a book we can’t stop talking about. Meet the large and well-defined Swift family as young Shenanigan Swift tries to overcome nominative determinism to solve the murder of her Arch-Aunt Schadenfreude. Beth Lincoln’s clever novel, peppered with Claire Powell’s illustrations, will keep readers on the edge of their seats, and Shenanigan will rapidly capture hearts as she sets out to redefine herself.  

Swim Team: A Graphic Novel

Paperback $14.39 $15.99

Swim Team: A Graphic Novel

Swim Team: A Graphic Novel

By Johnnie Christmas
Illustrator Johnnie Christmas

In Stock Online

Paperback $14.39 $15.99

Step up to the starting block and dive into this brilliant graphic novel about overcoming obstacles. Swim Team blends story and history as we watch Bree face her fear of the water and soon leave everyone in her wake. Entertaining and powerful, this middle grade debut brings Johnnie Christmas’s acclaimed comics to a new demographic, and it most certainly makes a splash!

Step up to the starting block and dive into this brilliant graphic novel about overcoming obstacles. Swim Team blends story and history as we watch Bree face her fear of the water and soon leave everyone in her wake. Entertaining and powerful, this middle grade debut brings Johnnie Christmas’s acclaimed comics to a new demographic, and it most certainly makes a splash!

Invisible: A Graphic Novel

Paperback $9.99 $12.99

Invisible: A Graphic Novel

Invisible: A Graphic Novel

By Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Illustrator Gabriela Epstein

In Stock Online

Paperback $9.99 $12.99

This engaging and entertaining read with its brilliant story by Christina Diaz Gonzalez and vibrant illustrations by Gabriela Epstein celebrates individuality and community and will delight fans of Raina Telgemeier. When five wildly different Spanish-speaking students are brought together for community service, they find that they have more in common than they initially thought. With text in both English and Spanish, Invisible is certain to reveal itself as a must-read.  

This engaging and entertaining read with its brilliant story by Christina Diaz Gonzalez and vibrant illustrations by Gabriela Epstein celebrates individuality and community and will delight fans of Raina Telgemeier. When five wildly different Spanish-speaking students are brought together for community service, they find that they have more in common than they initially thought. With text in both English and Spanish, Invisible is certain to reveal itself as a must-read.  

Julia and the Shark

Paperback $8.99 $9.99

Julia and the Shark

Julia and the Shark

By Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Illustrator Tom de Freston

In Stock Online

Paperback $8.99 $9.99

This authentic and beautiful story about love, resilience, and mental health will embed itself deep into the hearts of readers. Julia and the Shark is a lyrical novel about ten-year-old Julia’s quest in search of an ever-elusive Greenland shark, and the deeper truths she finds along the way. With illustrations by Tom de Freston that enhance Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s prose, this novel is an instant classic that readers won’t want to miss. 

This authentic and beautiful story about love, resilience, and mental health will embed itself deep into the hearts of readers. Julia and the Shark is a lyrical novel about ten-year-old Julia’s quest in search of an ever-elusive Greenland shark, and the deeper truths she finds along the way. With illustrations by Tom de Freston that enhance Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s prose, this novel is an instant classic that readers won’t want to miss. 

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief

Hardcover $18.99

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief

By A.F. Steadman

In Stock Online

Hardcover $18.99

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief is a pulse-pounding tale of epic battles, wild (and bloodthirsty) unicorns, and a community of riders that will captivate young readers hungry for action. Skandar has always dreamed of escaping to the island where unicorns roam free, but after his hopes are shattered and a mysterious figure beckons him, Skandar answers the call. Full of danger and secrets, A.F. Steadman has written an imaginative and unputdownable novel perfect for fans of Wings of Fire

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief is a pulse-pounding tale of epic battles, wild (and bloodthirsty) unicorns, and a community of riders that will captivate young readers hungry for action. Skandar has always dreamed of escaping to the island where unicorns roam free, but after his hopes are shattered and a mysterious figure beckons him, Skandar answers the call. Full of danger and secrets, A.F. Steadman has written an imaginative and unputdownable novel perfect for fans of Wings of Fire

Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun

Hardcover $15.99 $18.99

Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun

Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun

By Tolá Okogwu

In Stock Online

Hardcover $15.99 $18.99

Action-packed and perfect for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers and Last Gate of the Emperor, Tolá Okogwu’s debut is an exciting Afrofuturist adventure. When a young British Nigerian girl steps into her powers as a Solari, she and her new friends must put their special skills to the test in a battle of truth and lies. An electrifying fantasy about finding self-acceptance, Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun will have readers flying to the shelves the minute book 2 releases. 

Action-packed and perfect for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers and Last Gate of the Emperor, Tolá Okogwu’s debut is an exciting Afrofuturist adventure. When a young British Nigerian girl steps into her powers as a Solari, she and her new friends must put their special skills to the test in a battle of truth and lies. An electrifying fantasy about finding self-acceptance, Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun will have readers flying to the shelves the minute book 2 releases. 

Young Adult Shortlist

A Magic Steeped in Poison

Hardcover $18.99

A Magic Steeped in Poison

A Magic Steeped in Poison

By Judy I. Lin

In Stock Online

Hardcover $18.99

This sweeping debut, the first in a duology, is infused with magic. Judy I. Lin spins the tale of Ning, who carries the guilt of brewing the poison tea that killed her mother and is threatening to kill her sister. With her sister’s life on the line, Ning enters a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi — masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making. A delicious blend of Chinese and Taiwanese mythology, A Magic Steeped in Poison brews a story readers won’t want to miss!

This sweeping debut, the first in a duology, is infused with magic. Judy I. Lin spins the tale of Ning, who carries the guilt of brewing the poison tea that killed her mother and is threatening to kill her sister. With her sister’s life on the line, Ning enters a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi — masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making. A delicious blend of Chinese and Taiwanese mythology, A Magic Steeped in Poison brews a story readers won’t want to miss!

We Deserve Monuments

Hardcover $15.99 $18.99

We Deserve Monuments

We Deserve Monuments

By Jas Hammonds

In Stock Online

Hardcover $15.99 $18.99

We Deserve Monuments is a stunning debut certain to take any reader’s breath away. When a young girl moves from DC to Georgia, she thinks her life is over, and as the tensions stretch within her family, Avery begins to dig for the truth of the town’s racist history and how it connects to her family. With seeds of family secrets, romance, and mystery, Jas Hammonds has sown a beautiful, and at times hard to swallow, story that explores the effects of racial violence through generations. 

We Deserve Monuments is a stunning debut certain to take any reader’s breath away. When a young girl moves from DC to Georgia, she thinks her life is over, and as the tensions stretch within her family, Avery begins to dig for the truth of the town’s racist history and how it connects to her family. With seeds of family secrets, romance, and mystery, Jas Hammonds has sown a beautiful, and at times hard to swallow, story that explores the effects of racial violence through generations. 

The Black Queen

Hardcover $16.99 $18.99

The Black Queen

The Black Queen

By Jumata Emill

In Stock Online

Hardcover $16.99 $18.99

There’s nothing like a homecoming dance to bring out the worst in high schoolers, and this one results in murder. When Nova Albright is killed on her coronation night as the first Black homecoming queen, her best friend Duchess sets out to prove that Tinsley McArthur is guilty. Jumata Emill’s addictive thriller, The Black Queen, provides just as much mystery as it does social commentary, and its fresh look at topics like systemic racism and white privilege will have readers deep in thought while scrambling to find out who murdered Nova.  

There’s nothing like a homecoming dance to bring out the worst in high schoolers, and this one results in murder. When Nova Albright is killed on her coronation night as the first Black homecoming queen, her best friend Duchess sets out to prove that Tinsley McArthur is guilty. Jumata Emill’s addictive thriller, The Black Queen, provides just as much mystery as it does social commentary, and its fresh look at topics like systemic racism and white privilege will have readers deep in thought while scrambling to find out who murdered Nova.  

As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow

Hardcover $17.09 $18.99

As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow

As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow

By Zoulfa Katouh

In Stock Online

Hardcover $17.09 $18.99

A powerful novel about bravery and freedom, As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow is a must-read story of survival, desperation, and hope. Salama was a pharmacy student when the cries for freedom first started, and now she works at a hospital tending to the wounded. Torn between loyalty to her country and her desire to survive, Salama begins to see the events around her differently. Zoulfa Katouh’s love letter to Syria and its people will linger in your mind long after you’ve finished reading in this gorgeous and unflinching book. 

A powerful novel about bravery and freedom, As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow is a must-read story of survival, desperation, and hope. Salama was a pharmacy student when the cries for freedom first started, and now she works at a hospital tending to the wounded. Torn between loyalty to her country and her desire to survive, Salama begins to see the events around her differently. Zoulfa Katouh’s love letter to Syria and its people will linger in your mind long after you’ve finished reading in this gorgeous and unflinching book. 

The Honeys

Hardcover $14.99 $18.99

The Honeys

The Honeys

By Ryan La Sala

In Stock Online

Hardcover $14.99 $18.99

Ryan La Sala brings an entrancing horror novel that lures you in with promises of sweetness before trapping you in its grip. Head off to a secluded summer retreat of old-fashioned gender roles and preparatory rigor as Mars grieves the loss of his sister and tries to reconnect with her memory through her old friends, the Honeys, and the Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy — where nothing is as golden as it seems. Utterly eerie, The Honeys is a spine-tingling read that juxtaposes a picturesque setting against creepy and chilling events.

Ryan La Sala brings an entrancing horror novel that lures you in with promises of sweetness before trapping you in its grip. Head off to a secluded summer retreat of old-fashioned gender roles and preparatory rigor as Mars grieves the loss of his sister and tries to reconnect with her memory through her old friends, the Honeys, and the Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy — where nothing is as golden as it seems. Utterly eerie, The Honeys is a spine-tingling read that juxtaposes a picturesque setting against creepy and chilling events.

Seven Faceless Saints

Hardcover $16.99 $19.99

Seven Faceless Saints

Seven Faceless Saints

By M.K. Lobb

In Stock Online

Hardcover $16.99 $19.99

Get your blood pumping with this genre-bending murder-mystery set in a fantasy kingdom. Seven Faceless Saints brings us a city of saints and disciples, a murderer stalking the citizens, and a pair of exes trying to find the killer together, even as old emotions are unearthed. M.K. Lobb’s debut novel will draw readers into the shadows as they try to uncover the murderer alongside Roz and Damian in its fast-paced tale full of magic and mayhem.  

Get your blood pumping with this genre-bending murder-mystery set in a fantasy kingdom. Seven Faceless Saints brings us a city of saints and disciples, a murderer stalking the citizens, and a pair of exes trying to find the killer together, even as old emotions are unearthed. M.K. Lobb’s debut novel will draw readers into the shadows as they try to uncover the murderer alongside Roz and Damian in its fast-paced tale full of magic and mayhem.