NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY AWARDS ANNUAL CHILDREN’S
HISTORY BOOK PRIZE TO Fred Korematsu Speaks Up
by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi
Prize Celebrates the Best American History Book for Middle Readers, Ages 9–12
NEW YORK, NY – May 8, 2018—Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, announced today that authors Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi will receive New-York Historical’s Children’s History Book Prize for Fred Korematsu Speaks Up (Heyday, 2017). The prize of $10,000 is annually awarded to the best American history book for middle readers ages 9–12, fiction or non-fiction. This year’s award will be presented by Justice Robert Katzmann, 2nd Circuit judge and founder of the Immigration Justice League, on May 16 at 12:30 pm in New-York Historical Society’s Robert H. Smith Auditorium.
“Fred Korematsu Speaks Up masterfully tells the story of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II through the lens of one person’s life and challenges,” said Dr. Mirrer. “The civil rights issues explored in this book continue to resonate today, especially for us at New-York Historical as we help green card holders learn about civics and American history through our Citizenship Project. Our book jury panel was particularly struck by Fred Korematsu’s experience as the son of immigrants, written in a way that allows young readers to more fully understand such an important moment in history. We’re honored to award Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi with this year’s Children’s History Book Prize.”
Fred Korematsu Speaks Up—illustrated by Yutaka Houlette—tells the story of Fred Korematsu, a young Japanese American man who defied U.S. governmental orders by refusing to report to prison camps during World War II, which set in motion a landmark civil liberties case. With its poetry, historical text, primary source documents, and illustrations, the book allows readers to engage with his story in an immediate and absorbing way.
In addition to the prize ceremony, authors Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi will join families at New-York Historical on May 20 at 2 pm for DiMenna Children’s History Museum’s Reading into History Family Book Club. The authors will answer young readers’ questions about Fred Korematsu Speaks Up, followed by a chance for families to visit the galleries to explore artifacts related to the book. The event is free with Museum Admission. Fred Korematsu Speaks Up is available for purchase from the NYHistory Store as well as other retailers.
The book prize was selected by a jury comprising librarians, educators, historians, and families of middle schoolers. For the second year, an online poll invited the public to cast a vote for their favorite as well. Finalists for the Children’s History Book Prize included Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar, This Is Just a Test by Wendy Wan-Long Shang and Madelyn Rosenberg, and Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin.
At the New-York Historical Society and its DiMenna Children’s History Museum, visitors are encouraged to explore history through characters and narrative. The Children’s History Book Prize is part of New-York Historical’s larger efforts on behalf of children and families. DiMenna Children’s History Museum regularly presents programs where families explore history together. At its popular monthly family book club, Reading into History, families discuss a historical fiction or non-fiction book they previously read at home, share their reactions, discover related artifacts and documents, and meet historians and authors. New-York Historical’s work with middle school readers and their families is grounded in the belief that offering creative opportunities to engage the entire family helps young readers grow and thrive. Since summer 2017, New-York Historical has offered free civics and history classes to help green card holders prepare for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization exam using historical objects and artwork. To learn more, visit nyhistory.org/citizenship.
About Laura Atkins
Laura Atkins is an independent children’s book author and editor who has worked in the children’s book field for more than 20 years—seven years in editorial departments at children's publishers in the U.S. (with a focus on multicultural children’s books) and then as a freelance children’s book author, editor, and teacher. Atkins has helped to produce winners of the Coretta Scott King Award and American Library Association Notable Book selections, among others, and is a lecturer at the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature at Roehampton University in London. Based in Berkeley, California, she has an MA in Children’s Literature from Roehampton University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of the picture book Sled Dog Dachshund (Minted Prose, 2016) and co-author of Fred Korematsu Speaks Up (Heyday Books, 2017).
About Stan Yogi
Stan Yogi is the co-author, with Elaine Elinson, of Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California. He managed development programs for the ACLU of Northern California for 14 years and is the co-editor of two books, Highway 99: A Literary Journey through California’s Great Central Valley and Asian American Literature: An Annotated Bibliography. His work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, MELUS, Los Angeles Daily Journal, and several anthologies. He is married to nonprofit administrator David Carroll and lives in Los Angeles.
About the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s preeminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.
About the DiMenna Children’s History Museum
The DiMenna Children’s History Museum at the New-York Historical Society presents 350 years of New York and American history through character-based pavilions, interactive exhibits and digital games, and the Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library. The DiMenna Children’s History Museum encourages families to explore history together through permanent installations and a wide range of family learning programs for toddlers, children, and preteens.