Friday, May 7, 2021

Inclusion a theme for National Book Award


The National Book Award for Young People’s Literature was announced Wednesday and went to Kacen Callender, author of King and the Dragonflies.

Ms Callender talked with Roger Sutton, editor in chief at The Horn Book Magazine, in June upon receiving the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and Poetry.

In addition to King and the Dragonflies, other 2020 finalists were

  • Traci Chee, We Are Not Free
  • Candice Iloh, Every Body Looking
  • Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, When Stars Are Scattered
  • Gavriel Savit, The Way Back

In Ms Callender’s book, Kingston James believes his deceased brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly, as grief envelops his family. His coping mechanisms make him more withdrawn, as he can’t even share his feelings with his best friend, Sandy. Khalid thinks Sandy’s gay and, just before he passed, advised King to sever ties.

After Sandy goes missing and a search is conducted, he shows up in a tent in King’s back yard, escaping an abusive parent at home. King and Sandy rebuild their friendship among the dragonflies down by the Louisiana bayou, and both confront important questions about their respective families and life in general.

Read about other National Book Award winners in The New York Times.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.


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