Congrats to the robust list of winners!
A couple of weeks ago, the 2023 winners of The Diverse Book Awards were announced. There were so many great books that made the longlist and shortlist, but alas all of them could not take home the prize. But the winners and runners-up that made the cut are books that really highlight the necessity and importance of diverse books.
Created by award-winning author Abiola Bello and award-winning publicist Helen Lewis and co-founders of The Author School, this award aims to highlight the best of the diverse voices published in the UK & Ireland, this year focusing on those published during 2022, both traditionally and self-published.
And now without further ado, here are the winners:
Best Picture Book
Dadaji’s Paintbrush by Rashmi Sirdeshpande and illustrated by Ruchi Mhasane
Once, in a tiny village in India, there was a young boy who loved to paint. He lived with his grandfather, who taught him to paint with his fingers, to make paints from marigolds and brushes made from jasmine flowers. Sometimes, the village children would watch them painting together, and the boy’s grandfather would invite them to join in. They didn’t have much, but they had each other.
After his grandfather dies, the boy notices a little box wrapped in string with a note that read: “From Dadaji, with love,” with his grandfather’s best paintbrush tucked away inside. But he feels he will never want to paint again.
Will the boy overcome his grief and find joy in painting and his dadaji’s memory again? (Credit: Levine Querido)
Nour’s Secret Library by Wafa Tarnowska, illustrated by Vali Mintzi
Our Tower by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Richard Johnson
Best Children’s Book
The Lizzie and Belle Mysteries: Drama and Danger by J.T. Williams and illustrated by Simone Douglas
Twelve-year-olds Lizzie Sancho and Dido Belle are from different worlds – Lizzie lives in Westminster in her dad’s tea shop, while Belle is an heiress being brought up by her aunt and uncle at grand Kenwood House – but they both share a love of solving mysteries. And when their eyes meet in the audience of the Drury Lane theatre one night, both girls are sure they’ve seen something suspicious on stage.
Lizzie and Belle soon find themselves on the trail of a mystery – and becoming best friends. But can they work out what’s going on in time to prevent a murder? (Credit: Farshore)
The Twig Man by Sana Rasoul
A Flash of Fireflies by Aisha Bushby
Best Young Adult Book
When Our Worlds Collided by Danielle Jawando
When fourteen-year-old Shaq is stabbed outside of a busy shopping centre in Manchester, three teenagers from very different walks of life are unexpectedly brought together. What follows flips their worlds upside down and makes Chantelle, Jackson, and Marc question the deep-rooted prejudice and racism that exists within the police, the media, and the rest of society. (Credit: Simon and Schuster UK)
Love In Winter Wonderland by Abiola Bello
If You Still Recognise Me by Cynthia So
Best Adult Book
One For Sorrow, Two For Joy by Marie-Claire Amuah
It’s hard to plan your future when the ghosts of the past won’t leave you alone…
Stella tries very hard to be good. She tries not to be sassy, to answer back, to be noticed. Because when Stella’s father is angry, it’s like lightning and thunder and hailstones.
Years later, Stella has left her troubled childhood behind and appears to have it all: a degree, a demanding job as a barrister and a group of friends who always have her back. But underneath the surface, she is haunted by her past. It will take all her grace, courage and love to heal her wounds and break free.
Set against a backdrop of London and Ghana, Marie-Claire Amuah’s remarkable debut is an unforgettable exploration of intergenerational trauma. Brimming with compassion, One for Sorrow, Two for Joy offers both a sensitive portrayal of the ripple effects of domestic violence, and a defiant story of friendship, resilience and hope. (Credit: Oneworld Publications)
Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn
The Attic Child by Lola Jaye
The Readers’ Choice Awards 2023 Winners
This was the first year The Readers’ Choice Awards was given out. This award was created in response of requests from schools to have more of a say in the awards. In the end, the committee decided to have a poll with all the longlisted books and encouraged readers to vote for their personal favorites across each category.
So without further ado, here are the 2023 winners of the inaugural The Readers’ Choice Awards
Readers’ Choice Award 2023 – Picture Books
- First Place: Small’s Big Dream by Manjeet Mann, illustrated by Amanda Quartey
- Second Place: Me and My Dysphoria Monster by Laura Kate Dale, illustrated by Ang Hui Qin
- Third Place: John Agard’s Windrush Child by John Agard, illustrated by Sophie Bass
Readers’ Choice Award 2023 – Children
- First Place: The Twig Man by Sana Rasoul
- Second Place: Keep Dancing, Lizzie Chu by Maisie Chan
- Third Place: Sadé and Her Shadow Beasts by Rachel Faturoti
Readers’ Choice Award 2023 – YA
- First Place: Love In Winter Wonderland by Abiola Bello
- Second Place: Gay Club! by Simon James Green
- Third Place: Toxic by Natasha Devon
Readers’ Choice Award 2023 – Adult
- First Place: Still Lives by Reshma Ruia
- Second Place: Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn
- Third Place: The Attic Child by Lola Jaye
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