Lerner Publishing Group’s FROM THE TOPS OF THE TREES By Kao Kalia Yang and Illustrated By Rachel Wada Named the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Picture Book Winner
From the Tops of the Trees, written by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Rachel Wada, and published by Carolrhoda Books®, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group™, is the 2023 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Picture Book winner. The award is based on literary and artistic merit promoting Asian/Pacific American culture and heritage and is presented biennially by the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), an affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA). The ALA awards were announced this morning at the Youth Media Awards ceremony during the LibLearnX conference in New Orleans.
Named one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Children’s Books of 2021, From the Tops of the Trees is the powerful true story of a young girl who has never known life outside a refugee camp and a father determined to help her dream big. At Ban Vinai Refugee Camp, Kalia spends her days playing with cousins, chickens, and dogs. When she asks her father if all of the world is a refugee camp, he climbs with her to the top of a tree so she can see the world beyond the fences that confine them. Yang’s evocative prose is accompanied by atmospheric illustrations from Rachel Wada in a story that encourages readers of all ages and circumstances to believe in their dreams. In a starred review, School Library Journal says From the Tops of the Trees is “[A] gentle celebration of vision, hope, and determination."
“Lerner’s commitment to diversity shines through in From the Tops of the Trees with Kalia’s strong narrative and Rachel’s signature usage of rich color and texture,” said Adam Lerner, Publisher and CEO of Lerner Publishing Group. “We are thrilled that the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature has recognized this powerful story that authentically portrays a father’s tenderness as he encourages his daughter to dream of a life beyond their difficult circumstances.”
“When I heard the news, goosebumps grew on my arms and a shiver passed through my body,” said From the Tops of the Trees author Kao Kalia Yang. “My heart halted its run and for a moment, I got to live in the stillness of a beautiful moment. I’m hopeful that refugee children from everywhere will have one more book to look to for representation.”
“With this recognition from the Asian/Pacific American Award, I feel like I am with Little Kalia at the top of the tallest tree in the camp, secure in the arms of a loved one, seeing the spread of a world beyond,” said From the Tops of the Trees illustrator Rachel Wada. “I hope that this special story of resilience and generational hope will continue to reach audiences far and wide.”
For more information about From the Tops of the Trees visit lernerbooks.com.
Praise for From the Tops of the Tress:
“Beautiful in its simplicity and elegance, with a hopeful and inspiring message, this story will not soon be forgotten.”—starred, Booklist
“This story of resilience and generational hope is told in an expressive, straightforward narrative style. A visually striking, compelling recollection.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews
“A stirring, lyrical portrait of hope and intergenerational bonds.”—starred, Publishers Weekly
“[A] gentle celebration of vision, hope, and determination . . .”—starred, School Library Journal