2024-2025 CA Young Reader Medal Nominees Books

For a full list of the CYRM winners, click here and contact us at 559-438-1561 for purchase information.

photo Nominee YA
Take Me With You When You Go
written by David Levithan and Jennifer Niven

Ezra Ahern wakes up one day to find his older sister, Bea, gone. No note, no sign, nothing but an email address hidden somewhere only he would find it. Ezra never expected to be left behind with their abusive stepfather and their neglectful mother—how is he supposed to navigate life without Bea?
Bea Ahern already knew she needed to get as far away from home as possible But a message in her inbox changes everything, and she finds herself alone in a new city—without Ez, without a real plan—chasing someone who might not even want to be found.
As things unravel at home for Ezra, Bea will confront secrets about their past that will forever change the way they think about their family. Together and apart, broken by abuse but connected by love, this brother and sister must learn to trust themselves before they can find a way back to each other.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee YA
Love in English
written by Maria E. Andreu

Sixteen-year-old Ana is a poet and a lover of language. Except that since she moved to New Jersey from Argentina, she can barely find the words to express how she feels.
At first Ana just wants to return home. Then she meets Harrison, the very cute, very American boy in her math class, and discovers the universal language of racing hearts. But when she begins to spend time with Neo, the Greek Cypriot boy from ESL, Ana wonders how figuring out what her heart wants can be even more confusing than the grammar they’re both trying to master. After all, the rules of English may be confounding, but there are no rules when it comes to love.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee YA
I Must Betray You
written by Ruta Sepetys

Romania, 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force.
Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.
Cristian risks everything to unmask the truth behind the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. He eagerly joins the revolution to fight for change when the time arrives. But what is the cost of freedom?

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee Middle School/Junior High
Simon Sort of Says
written by Erin Bow

Simon O’Keeffe’s biggest claim to fame should be the time his dad accidentally gave a squirrel a holy sacrament. Or maybe the alpaca disaster that went viral on YouTube. But the story the whole world wants to tell about Simon is the one he’d do anything to forget: the story in which he’s the only kid in his class who survived a school shooting.
Two years after the infamous event, twelve-year-old Simon and his family move to the National Quiet Zone—the only place in America where the internet is banned. Instead of talking about Simon, the astronomers who flock to the area are busy listening for signs of life in space. And when Simon makes a friend who’s determined to give the scientists what they’re looking for, he’ll finally have the chance to spin a new story for the world to tell.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee Middle School/Junior High
My Nest of Silence
written by Matt Faulkner

Manzanar is nothing like home. Yet the relocation center is where Mari and her family have to live, now that the government has decided that Japanese Americans aren’t American enough. Determined to prove them wrong, Mari’s brother Mak has joined the army and is heading off to war. In protest, Mari has stopped talking for the duration of the war. Or at least until Mak comes home safe.
Still, Mari has no trouble expressing herself through her drawings. Mak, too, expresses himself in his letters home, first from training camp and later from the front lines of World War II, where he is fighting with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. But while his letters are reassuring, reality is not: Mak is facing danger at every turn, from racism within the army to violence on the battlefield.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee Middle School/Junior High
The Blackbird Girls
written by Anne Blankman

On a spring morning, neighbors Valentina Kaplan and Oksana Savchenko wake up to an angry red sky. A reactor at the nuclear power plant where their fathers work–Chernobyl–has exploded. Before they know it, the two girls, who’ve always been enemies, find themselves on a train bound for Leningrad to stay with Valentina’s estranged grandmother, Rita Grigorievna. In their new lives in Leningrad, they begin to learn what it means to trust another person. Oksana must face the lies her parents told her all her life. Valentina must keep her grandmother’s secret, one that could put all their lives in danger. And both of them discover something they’ve wished for: a best friend. But how far would you go to save your best friend’s life? Would you risk your own?

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee Intermediate
Three Strike Summer
written by Skyler Schrempp

When the skies dried up, Gloria thought it was temporary. When the dust storms rolled in, she thought they would pass. But now the bank man’s come to take the family farm, and Pa’s decided to up and move to California in search of work. They’ll pick fruit, he says, until they can save up enough money to buy land of their own again.
There are only three rules at the Santa Ana Holdsten Peach Orchard:

  • No stealing product.
  • No drunkenness or gambling.
  • And absolutely no organizing.

Well, Gloria Mae Willard isn’t about to organize any peaches, no ma’am. She’s got more on her mind than that. Like the secret, all-boys baseball team she’s desperate to play for, if only they’d give her a chance. Or the way that wages keep going down. The way their company lodgings are dirty and smelly, and everyone seems intent on leaving her out of everything.
But Gloria has never been the type to wait around for permission. If the boys won’t let her play, she’ll find a way to make them. If the people around her are keeping secrets, then she’ll keep a few of her own. And if the boss men at the Santa Ana Holdsten Peach Orchard say she can’t organize peaches, then by golly she’ll organize a whole ball game.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee Intermediate
The Ogress and the Orphans
written by Kelly Barnhill

Stone-in-the-Glen, once a lovely town, has fallen on hard times. Fires, floods, and other calamities have caused the people to lose their library, their school, their park, and even their neighborliness. The people put their faith in the Mayor, a dazzling fellow who promises he alone can help. After all, he is a famous dragon slayer. (At least, no one has seen a dragon in his presence.) Only the clever children of the Orphan House and the kindly Ogress at the edge of town can see how dire the town’s problems are.
Then one day a child goes missing from the Orphan House. At the Mayor’s suggestion, all eyes turn to the Ogress. The Orphans know this can’t be: the Ogress, along with a flock of excellent crows, secretly delivers gifts to the people of Stone-in-the-Glen.
But how can the Orphans tell the story of the Ogress’s goodness to people who refuse to listen? And how can they make their deluded neighbors see the real villain in their midst?

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee Intermediate
New from Here
written by Kelly Yang

When the coronavirus hits Hong Kong, ten-year-old Knox Wei-Evans’s mom makes the last-minute decision to move him and his siblings back to California, where they think they will be safe. Suddenly, Knox has two days to prepare for an international move—and for leaving his dad, who has to stay for work.
At his new school in California, Knox struggles with being the new kid. His classmates think that because he’s from Asia, he must have brought over the virus. At home, Mom just got fired and is panicking over the loss of health insurance, and Dad doesn’t even know when he’ll see them again, since the flights have been cancelled. And everyone struggles with Knox’s blurting-things-out problem.
As racism skyrockets during COVID-19, Knox tries to stand up to hate, while finding his place in his new country. Can you belong if you’re feared; can you protect if you’re new? And how do you keep a family together when you’re oceans apart? Sometimes when the world is spinning out of control, the best way to get through it is to embrace our own lovable uniqueness.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee Picture Books for Older Readers
Nour's Secret Library
written by Wafa' Tarnowska

Forced to take shelter when their Syrian city is plagued with bombings, young Nour and her cousin begin to bravely build a secret underground library.
Based on the author’s own life experience and inspired by a true story, Nour’s Secret Library is about the power of books to heal, transport and create safe spaces during difficult times. Illustrations by Romanian artist Vali Mintzi superimpose the colorful world the children construct over black-and-white charcoal depictions of the battered city.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee Picture Books for Older Readers
The Gardener of Alcatraz
written by Emma Bland Smith

When Elliott Michener was locked away in Alcatraz for counterfeiting, he was determined to defy the odds and bust out. But when he got a job tending the prison garden, a funny thing happened. Thoughts of escape were replaced with new interests and skills—and a sense of dignity and fulfillment. Elliott transformed Alcatraz Island, and the island transformed him.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee Picture Books for Older Readers
Cougar Crossing
written by Meeg Pincus

P-22, the famed “Hollywood Cougar,” was born in a national park near Los Angeles, California. When it was time for him to leave home and stake a claim to his own territory, he embarked on a perilous journey—somehow crossing sixteen lanes of the world’s worst traffic—to make his home in LA’s Griffith Park, overlooking the famed Hollywood sign. But Griffith Park is a tiny territory for a mountain lion, and P-22’s life has been filled with struggles.
Residents of Los Angeles have embraced this brave cougar as their own and, along with the scientists monitoring P-22, raised money to build a wildlife bridge across Highway 101 to help cougars and other wildlife safely expand their territories and build new homes—ensuring their survival for years to come.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee Primary
Room for Everyone
written by Naaz Khan

The dala dala rumbles and roars as Musa and Dada drive off to the shore—but the bus stops for multiple detours: “Do you need a ride? It’s hotter than peppers out there in the sun! Come in, there’s room for everyone!”
One stop becomes two stops which soon becomes ten, and Musa wonders when it will end: “How can any more people get in? We’re already smushed like sardines in a tin!” But there's always room for one more, if you make the room, which is the heartwarming take-away from this bouncy, joyous tale in rhyme.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee Primary
My First Day
written by Phùng Nguyên Quang and Huynh Kim Liên

This is no ordinary first journey. The rainy season has come to the Mekong Delta, and An, a young Vietnamese boy, sets out alone in a wooden boat wearing a little backpack and armed only with a single oar. On the way, he is confronted by giant crested waves, heavy rainfall and eerie forests where fear takes hold of him. Although daunted by the dark unknown, An realizes that he is not alone and continues to paddle. He knows it will all be worth it when he reaches his destination–one familiar to children all over the world.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee Primary
Mel Fell
written by Corey R. Tabor

Readers will delight in turning their book sideways and upside down to follow Mel on her journey from downward fall to triumphant flight in this tale of self-confidence and taking a leap of faith.
Sometimes, you might fall
down,
down,
down,
before you learn to fly
up,
up,
up...

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee Primary
Luli and the Language of Tea
written by Andrea Wang

When five-year-old Luli joins her new English as a Second Language class, the playroom is quiet. Luli can’t speak English, neither can anyone else. That’s when she has a brilliant idea to host a tea party and bring them all together.
Luli removes her teapot, thermos, and teacups from her bag and calls out “Chá!” in her native Chinese. One by one, her classmates pipe up in recognition: in Russian, Hindi, Turkish, Persian, Arabic, and Spanish, Portuguese, and Swahili. Tea is a tasty language they all know well, and it gives them a chance to share and enjoy each other’s company. When all the tea is gone and it’s time for dessert, Luli gets to use her favorite English word, cookie! After that, the playroom isn’t so quiet.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo Nominee Primary
Are You a Cheeseburger?
written by Monica Arnaldo

Grub is a lonely racoon. Rumbling in the trash. Looking for food. Seed is, well, a seed! Patiently waiting in the trash. Hoping someone will plant it.
When the two finally meet, they realize they might be able to help each other! Grub has just one big question first: What will Seed grow? Could Seed grow Grub’s favorite food, mouthwatering cheeseburgers? Seed isn’t sure what a cheeseburger is exactly, but...maybe!

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

2024 Adult and Youth Award Books

For a full list of the ALA winners, click here and contact us at 559-438-1561 for purchase information.

photo 2024 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction Winner
The Berry Pickers

written by Amanda Peters

July 1962. A Mi'kmaq family from Nova Scotia arrives in Maine to pick blueberries for the summer. Weeks later, four-year-old Ruthie, the family's youngest child, vanishes. She is last seen by her six-year-old brother, Joe, sitting on a favorite rock at the edge of a berry field. Joe will remain distraught by his sister's disappearance for years to come.
In Maine, a young girl named Norma grows up as the only child of an affluent family. Her father is emotionally distant, her mother frustratingly overprotective. Norma is often troubled by recurring dreams and visions that seem more like memories than imagination. As she grows older, Norma slowly comes to realize there is something her parents aren't telling her. Unwilling to abandon her intuition, she will spend decades trying to uncover this family secret.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo 2024 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction Winner
We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America

written by Roxanna Asgarian

The shocking, deeply reported story of a murder-suicide that claimed the lives of six children--and a searing indictment of the American foster care system.
On March 26, 2018, rescue workers discovered a crumpled SUV and the bodies of two women and multiple children at the bottom of a cliff along the Pacific Coast Highway. Investigators soon concluded that the crash was a murder-suicide, but there was more to the story: Jennifer and Sarah Hart, it turned out, were a white married couple who had adopted six Black children from two different Texas families in 2006 and 2008. Behind the family's loving facade was an alleged pattern of abuse and neglect that had been ignored as the couple withdrew the children from school and moved west. It soon became apparent that the State of Texas knew all too little about the two individuals to whom it had given custody of six children.
Immersive journalism of the highest order, Roxanna Asgarian's We Were Once a Family is a revelation of precarious lives; it is also a shattering exposé of the foster care and adoption systems that produced this tragedy.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo 2024 Newbery Medal Winner
Freewater

written by Dave Eggers

Johannes, a free dog, lives in an urban park by the sea. His job is to be the Eyes--to see everything that happens within the park and report back to the park's elders, three ancient Bison. His friends--a seagull, a raccoon, a squirrel, and a pelican--work with him as the Assistant Eyes, observing the humans and other animals who share the park and making sure the Equilibrium is in balance.
But changes are afoot. More humans, including Trouble Travelers, arrive in the park. A new building, containing mysterious and hypnotic rectangles, goes up. And then there are the goats--an actual boatload of goats--who appear, along with a shocking revelation that changes Johannes's view of the world.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online

photo 2024 Caldecott Medal Winner
Big

illustrated by Vashti Harrison

The first picture book written and illustrated by award-winning creator Vashti Harrison traces a child's journey to self-love and shows the power of words to both hurt and heal. With spare text and exquisite illustrations, this emotional exploration of being big in a world that prizes small is a tender portrayal of how you can stand out and feel invisible at the same time.

Want to buy this book?
Contact us at 559-438-1561 for store pickup, or click the button below to purchase it online