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New-York Historical Society Children’s History Book Prize

Congratulations Kristin Levine for The Lions of Little Rock, winner of the New-York Historical Society's Children's History Book Prize!

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
In 1958 Little Rock, Arkansas, painfully shy twelve-year-old Marlee sees her city and family divided over school integration, but her friendship with Liz, a new student, helps her find her voice and fight against racism.



The New-York Historical Society is dedicated to exploring history through characters and narrative. The Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library has a wide selection of children’s books about American and New York history, from picture books to young adult books. In addition, the library is used for family programs including the Reading into History family book club. Each month families read a historical fiction or nonfiction book at home and then attend a book club event where they share reactions to the book, see museum artifacts and documents related to the book up close, and meet historians and authors.


New-York Historical Society’s work with middle grade readers and their families is grounded in the belief that as children grow up we need to provide opportunities to engage a whole family through literature. Through the Children’s History Book Prize, the New-York Historical Society looks to honor the best children’s historical literature, and encourage authors to continue to create engaging and challenging narratives that provide a window into the past for middle readers and their families.

The award to the author is $10,000. The jury is comprised of librarians, educators, historians, and families with middle grade readers. This was the inaugural year for this book prize. Books published in 2012 were eligible.


To submit reader copies for consideration, please send to:

Alice Stevenson
Director, DiMenna Children’s History Museum
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Submissions for books published in 2013 and 2014 must be received by July 15, 2014.


This year’s Children’s History Book Prize finalists were:
(book descriptions from the Library of Congress)

Crow by Barbara Wright
In 1898, Moses Thomas’s summer vacation does not go exactly as planned as he contends with family problems and the ever-changing alliances among his friends at the same time as he is exposed to the escalating tension between the African-American and white communities of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Diamond in the Desert by Kathryn Fitzmaurice
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, thirteen-year-old Tetsu and his family are sent to the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona where a fellow prisoner starts a baseball team, but when Tetsu’s sister becomes ill and he feels responsible, he stops playing.

No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Told by a banker that he should sell fried chicken rather than books, since "Negroes don’t read", Lewis Michaux defies the odds to build Harlem’s National Memorial African Bookstore, an intellectual center and gathering place from 1939 to 1975.

Read these books and more like them in the New-York Historical Society's monthly family book club, Reading into History.




The New-York Historical Society’s Children’s History Book Prize is awarded to the best American history book, fiction or non-fiction, for middle readers ages 9 – 12.

Creative: Tronvig Group