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The 2024 Stonewall Book Awards

By Clara Garnier-Barsanti, Jamie Fowler, Maria Sadek, Benedetta Giordani & Grace Briggs-Jones

The winners of the 2024 Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature awards have been announced. This is one of the Stonewall Book Awards, sponsored by the American Library Association’s Rainbow Round Table to celebrate English-language works published by LGBTQIA+ voices. Emerging out of a grassroots literary initiative, these awards have been running in various iterations since 1971. The finalists and winners in each category are determined by a committee of library members across the United States, reviewing titles that any member of the ALA can submit for consideration. This year boasts a winner and four honour books for both children’s literature and young adult literature. Let’s see who was considered and commemorated with this prestigious and important prize.

Nora Dåsnes' Cross My Heart and Never Lie has been awarded the Stonewall Book Award for Children’s Literature. This diary-style graphic novel invites readers into the world of twelve-year-old Tuva, who grapples with the complexities of friendship, love and self-discovery. Cross My Heart and Never Lie has been praised for its timelessness and its relatable, sincere and heartwarming story – a perfect read for pre-teens and anyone who loves the magic of a coming-of-age story.

A few other books received honourable mentions in the children’s category. Among them, Not He or She, I’m Me by A.M. Wild and Kah Yangni is a cheerful and brightly illustrated picture book about a day in the life of a non-binary child. For slightly older readers, Justine Pucella Winans’ The Otherwoods transports us to a terrifying spirit world called the Otherwoods, which the protagonist must face in order to save their friend. A kaleidoscope of desert sands and swirling skirts, Desert Queen by Jyoti Rajan Gopal, is a picture book biography that traces the journey of Queen Harish – a beloved Rajasthani drag performer who defied tradition in a true celebration of courage. Our final runner-up in this category is Jessica Walton and Aska’s Stars in Their Eyes. This light-hearted graphic novel follows two teenagers who catch one another’s eyes at a fandom convention. The book explores first love, familial relationships and boundaries through its diverse and inclusive cast of characters who bring this story to life. 

In the Young Adult category, the winner is Only This Beautiful Moment by Abdi Nazemian taking home the Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Young Adult Literature Award. As the coming-of-age is a well-known literary trope, this novel explores it through a new lens of intergenerationality and across borders, between Iran and the United States. Moud, the grandson, erases all traces of homosexuality from his social media before travelling. In the midst of discordance, secrets unveiled and history, the reader is brought back to 1978 with Saaed, the grandfather. With expertly crafted writing, Abdi Nazemian builds up the self-revelations as Moud discovers his roots and their unexpected consequences. This win is the well-deserved continuity of Like a Love Story, which was rewarded with the Stonewall Honor book in 2020. 

Four books received honourable mentions. Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli is a heartwarming and inclusive romantic comedy about hopelessly heterosexual Imogen who finds herself strangely drawn to her best friend’s college buddy. Andrew Joseph White’s The Spirit Bares Its Teeth takes readers to 1883 London and follows sixteen-year-old Silas Bell as, at the behest of the ghosts of missing students, he exposes the rotten guts of Braxton Sanitorium and Finishing School. Another runner-up was Ander & Santi Were Here by Jonny Garza Villa, a coming-of-age romance between a Mexican-American teen and an undocumented Mexican boy, which explores themes of identity, first love and the borders that separate us. For sporty readers, this love story of two boys from opposite social situations will delight you. The Long Run by James Acker is the encounter of two track athletes, discovering a love worth fighting for while they want to escape their families: on one side, Sandro tiptoes around his loud, boisterous family, while Sebastian has no one left. This is the perfect book to read with the “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman playlist. 

As books are the scripture and the mirrors of human experience, it’s important, delightful and exhilarating to see such prestigious awards championing LGBTQIA+ literature. We've only covered two out of the four Stonewall Book Awards to let you explore the winners of the Barbara Gittings Literature Award and the Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award. We hope you'll find your next read among them, and once again, congratulations to all the authors and teams that worked behind the scenes!


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