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Barnes & Noble Announces the Winners of the Barnes & Noble Children’s & Young Adult Book Awards

New York, NY – (May 2, 2022) – Barnes & Noble today announces the winners of the Barnes & Noble Children’s & YA Book Awards. These annual awards give a national platform to captivating and emerging talent in children’s publishing in the three categories of Picture Books, Young Reader and Young Adult. The overall winner, as well as the winner in the Picture Books category, is Knight Owl, written and illustrated by Christopher Denise. The winner in the Young Reader category is Hooky, written and illustrated by Míriam Bonastre Tur, and the winner in the Young Adult category is Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao.

“Children’s bookselling is flying high. A new generation of brilliant writers is emerging, wonderfully exemplified by those selected by our booksellers for our Book Awards,” said James Daunt, CEO of Barnes & Noble. “The winners of each category are extraordinary, with the overall winner, Knight Owl, hailed by our booksellers for its irresistible charm. Christopher Denise is an outstanding talent in children’s publishing who will surely inspire and entertain readers for generations to come.”

The winners in each category, as well as the overall winner, were chosen by the booksellers from across the county at Barnes & Noble who specialize in children’s bookselling. Barnes & Noble prides itself on discovering authors and illustrators early in their careers and being able to help them find an audience in every corner of the country. It does this with extraordinary success with its Book of the Year program, and now the Barnes & Noble Children’s & YA Book Awards will play a similar role in children’s publishing, launching hitherto unknown authors who will shape children’s libraries for years to come.

Knight Owl marks my author-illustrator debut. To have it recognized as the Barnes & Noble Children’s and YA Book Award Winner, and to sit alongside so many wonderful books, is an incredible honor,” said author and illustrator, Christopher Denise. “I’m overjoyed that this little Owl has captured the hearts of readers, and so grateful to Barnes & Noble for choosing it. I think I’ll celebrate like Owl would, with a really good slice of pizza.”

Here is what Barnes & Noble booksellers are saying about the overall winner, Knight Owl:

“With charming illustrations and an inspiring message, Knight Owl is sure to be appreciated by both readers young and old. You’ll lose yourself in the timeless, dreamy world that Christopher Denise has crafted and fall in love with the adorable titular character. Our world needs more heroes like Owl — hopefully, this book will recruit an army’s worth!” –Bookseller Chris G., New York, NY

“The pictures are fantastic and so imaginative and the story itself delivers. Not only is it extremely cute but it is also inspiring for young impressionable minds. I cannot recommend this book enough!” –Bookseller Kaitlin M., Fargo, ND

Knight Owl was a wonderful read from cover to cover! I loved the underlying theme that if you follow your heart and dream big, you have the power within to make anything happen. This is sure to be a wonderful new bedtime adventure for all.” –Bookseller Elizabeth G., Manchester, NH

“This book is adorable and simply has the best illustrations. Owl will give readers so many warm fuzzies that they’ll want to snuggle up with the book. It is such a cute story about friendship and looking out for one another. And pizza!” –Bookseller Allyson, G., Fort Collins, CO

“I love the messages of friendship, kindness and cleverness that permeates throughout this story. Knight Owl piqued my interest as soon as I saw the cover — look how adorable Owl is! — and the pages inside the book delivered. This sweet story is sure to be an immediate classic.” –Bookseller Lindsay B., Glastonbury, CT

2022 Winners

Customers can find the Barnes & Noble Children’s & YA Book Awards Winners and Finalists on display at their local Barnes & Noble and on BN.com. They can also join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, using the hashtag #BNBookAwards.

Picture Book Winner: Knight Owl written and illustrated by Christopher Denise

Since the day he hatched, Owl dreamed of becoming a real knight — but he will have to be creative when facing the fearsome dragon. In a charming story told through wit, humor and heart, a determined Owl builds strength and confidence.

“In his author-illustrator debut, Christopher Denise’s clever wordplay and detailed illustrations for Knight Owl give it the feel of an instant classic,” said Scott Berkowitz, Manager of Children’s Books, Barnes & Noble. “Owl’s quest to become a formidable knight is perfect for fans of Dragonboy and The Gruffalo.”

Young Reader Winner: Hooky written and illustrated by Míriam Bonastre Tur

Based on the much-loved WEBTOON comic, Hooky is a heartfelt and hilarious graphic novel about twin witches Dani and Dorian who miss the bus to their magical school and need to find a mentor — fast.

“This deep, magical universe full of danger, deception, and of course, dragons, comes to life with bright manga-style art throughout,” said Stephanie Pinheiro, Manager of Young Reader & YA Books, Barnes & Noble. “With vibes of Howl’s Moving Castle and Kiki’s Delivery Service, this is a perfect book for readers who thoroughly enjoy magical fantasies. I cannot wait for Hooky Volume 2 to hit shelves in September.”

Young Adult Winner: Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
A feminist sci-fi story inspired by Chinese history that is a nonstop alien adventure, including an action-packed punch with a heroine that is strong in conviction and self-assurance.

Iron Widow is a richly imagined story unlike anything I’ve ever read,” said Stephanie Pinheiro. “This vibrant and unrelenting trio of main characters make this story a true standout, along with a shocking ending that will leave readers clamoring for the sequel.”

Barnes & Noble booksellers connect readers with the absolute best in publishing, with the goal of helping customers discover their next great read and foster a life-long love of books. The announcement of the winners of the Children’s & YA Book Awards jumpstarts the booksellers’ perennial Summer Reading program, a cornerstone of the company’s focus during the summer months, now in its 26th year, where children in grades 1 – 6 read eight books to receive one book at the end of the summer from Barnes & Noble.

MEDIA INQUIRIES: Email PRelations@BN.com

About Barnes & Noble, Inc.

Barnes & Noble, Inc. is the largest retail bookseller in the United States, and a leading retailer of content, digital media, and educational products. The Company has over 600 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states, as well as the NOOK Digital business and one of the Web’s premier e-commerce sites, BN.com. General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be found on the Company’s website at www.bn.com.

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