2022 National Book Awards Longlist for Young People’s Literature

September 2022



The ten contenders for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

Find The New Yorker’s announcement here.

The National Book Foundation today announced the Longlist for the 2022 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (YPL). The Finalists in all five categories will be revealed on Tuesday, October 4.

This year’s Longlist includes two authors who have been previously honored by the National Book Awards: Traci Chee was a Finalist for Young People’s Literature in 2020, and Anna-Marie McLemore was Longlisted for Young People’s Literature in 2016 and 2021. The authors and illustrators on this list have been honored by the Newbery Honor and Medal, the Walter Honor, the Printz Honor, the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the Ezra Jack Keats Award, the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature, the Glyph Comics Awards, the Stonewall Book Award, and the Emmy Awards, among others.

Through prose and illustration, the titles on the 2022 YPL Longlist address gender and sexuality, racism and xenophobia, and self-esteem and self-acceptance. The stories are set everywhere from Lahore, Pakistan to small towns and big cities across the United States; and in two fantastical villages, one filled with tricksters and demon hunters and another with dragons and ogres.

Three novels depict coming-of-age stories that tackle complex family structures and the power of community and forgiveness. In The Life and Crimes of Hoodie RosenIsaac Blum’s protagonist Yehuda “Hoodie” Rosen finds himself caught between two very different worlds—his Orthodox Jewish community and the predominately non-Jewish town his family recently moved to and is ostracized in. Blum’s debut novel tackles antisemitism and community conflict, alongside a story of forbidden first love, and, ultimately, acceptance. Spanning decades and crossing oceans, Sabaa Tahir’s All My Rage follows the story of a working-class Pakistani American family from their origins in Lahore to their present-day life in Juniper, California. Alternating between the son’s perspective and that of his best friend, the novel compassionately follows the two teenagers as they grapple with questions of identity, home, family, and forgiveness. The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School introduces readers to 16-year-old Yamilet, a queer Mexican American girl, during her first year as a transfer student at a predominantly white and wealthy Catholic school. Sonora Reyes’s debut novel celebrates the joys of falling in love and learning to embrace your authentic self.

In Maizy Chen’s Last Chance, Lisa Yee’s titular character spends the summer in Last Chance, Minnesota as she and her mother care for her ailing grandfather. As eleven-year-old Maizy spends more time at her family’s restaurant, the Golden Palace, she comes face-to-face with anti-Asian hate crimes and discovers family secrets that strengthen her own relationship with her culture. In Sherri Winston’s Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution, a seventh-grade violinist named Lotus enrolls in a new school of the arts and soon finds herself in trouble after the boys in her class bully her for wearing her hair in an afro. In a narrative inspired by the real experiences of Black girls raising their voices against discriminatory dress codes, Lotus risks her reputation when she decides whether or not to speak up.

Two titles on this year’s Longlist are graphic novels, Swim Team and Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist For Justice . In Johnnie Christmas’s self-illustrated Swim Team, Bree is ready to dive right into her new middle school until she realizes the only elective that fits her schedule forces her to confront one of her greatest fears: swimming. Bree overcomes her anxiety thanks to her elderly neighbor, Ms. Etta, a former swim team captain who shares her experiences as a Black girl breaking into a traditionally white sport with a long history of exclusion. Tommie Smith’s graphic memoir details both his childhood and athletic career, culminating in the Mexico City Olympics of 1968 where Smith, winner of the gold medal in the 200-meter sprint, and John Carlos, winner of the bronze medal, raised their fists in protest of racial injustice. Co-written with Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Emmy Award-winning artist Dawud Anyabwile, Victory. Stand! pays homage to a symbolic moment in Olympic and Black history, and serves as a reminder that every action—vocal or silent—has the potential to spark change.

A Thousand Steps into Night by Traci Chee is a fantasy inspired by Japanese folk tales that follows Miuko, an innkeeper’s daughter from the realm of Awara, as she embarks on a journey to break free from a curse. Miuko’s quest compels her to interrogate the expectations for women in a patriarchal society and the horrors carried out by gods, monsters, and humans alike. Three teenagers from marginalized backgrounds pursue their versions of the American Dream in Anna-Marie McLemore’s Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix, when Nicolás Caraveo, a 17-year-old transgender boy moves to New York City and finds himself immersed in a simultaneously dazzling and unexpected world. This queer retelling of The Great Gatsby explores masculinity, racism, colorism, and classism through the lens of a classic tale of deception and heartbreak. In Kelly Barnhill’s The Ogress and the Orphans, the residents of a once close-knit community, led by their beloved mayor, become suspicious of a gentle Ogress that lives at the edge of town when a child goes missing. The children of the Orphan House become determined to tell the town of the Ogress’s kind actions, and along the way uncover the true villain of Stone-in-the-Glen in this fantastical tale about the power of community care.

Publishers submitted a total of 296 books for the 2022 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. The judges for Young People’s Literature are Becky Albertalli, Joseph Bruchac, Meghan Dietsche Goel, Jewell Parker Rhodes (Chair), and Lilliam Rivera. Judges’ decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors and deliberations are strictly confidential. Winners in all categories will be announced live at the National Book Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, November 16.

2022 Longlist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature:

Kelly Barnhill, The Ogress and the Orphans
Algonquin Young Readers / Workman Publishing

Isaac Blum, The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
Philomel Books / Penguin Random House

Traci Chee, A Thousand Steps into Night
Clarion Books / HarperCollins Publishers

Johnnie Christmas, Swim Team
HarperAlley / HarperCollins Publishers

Anna-Marie McLemore, Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix
Feiwel & Friends / Macmillan Publishers

Sonora Reyes, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School
Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins Publishers

Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes, and Dawud Anyabwile, Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist For Justice
Norton Young Readers / W. W. Norton & Company

Sabaa Tahir, All My Rage
Razorbill / Penguin Random House

Sherri Winston, Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution
Bloomsbury Children’s Books / Bloomsbury Publishing

Lisa Yee, Maizy Chen’s Last Chance
Random House Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House