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The John and Patricia Beatty Award
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Current award recipient | Past award recipients

The John and Patricia Beatty Award

The California Library Association's John and Patricia Beatty Award honors the author of a distinguished book for children or young adults that best promotes an awareness of California and its people.

A committee of CLA members selects the winning title from books published in the United States during the preceding year. Patricia Beatty donated the initial cash endowment for the Award which now honors both her husband, John Beatty, who served as professor of English history and humanities at the University of California at Riverside prior to his death in 1975, and Patricia herself who died in 1991. Together the Beattys wrote eleven books of fiction for young readers; Patricia Beatty wrote numerous other books for young people, of which many have California or western settings.

It was Patricia Beatty's hope that the award will encourage the writing of quality children's books that bring us an awareness of California, its heritage or its future. The Beatty Award Medal was designed by Miyo LeFever.

The prize of $500 and an engraved plaque are presented to the recipient during the CLA Beatty Award/California Young Reader Award (CYRM) literary breakfast at the CLA annual conference. The literary breakfast also provides the author with a forum to speak about his/her book and provides an opportunity for attendees to meet the author during a book signing.

Eureka! Bibliography

2017 Beatty Committee

2018 Submission Information

2018 Beatty Committee


2017 Beatty Award Recipient

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas and published by Clarion Books has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the California Library Association’s John and Patricia Beatty Award. 

It Ain't So Awful, Falafel is a coming of age story of Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh living in California’s Newport Beach in the late 1970s.  The committee loved the honesty and humor of the voice of Zomorod living in California during the Iranian Revolution.  Dumas weaved together a heartwarming story of an immigrant family that will win the hearts of many readers.

Upon hearing that Dumas won the award she said “As an Iranian-American, I am always being asked about camels and flying carpets.  I don’t know much about camels but I do know that flying carpets exist; they are called library cards.  Thank you to the librarians who voted for Zomorod and to John and Patricia Beatty, who clearly believed in the magic of books enough to create this award.  The next time I walk into a library, I’m pretty sure I will hear a symphony (albeit playing quietly as not to disturb the other patrons.)”.

Firoozeh Dumas is the author of two New York Times bestselling memoirs, Funny in Farsi and Laughing Without An Accent. Her third book, It Ain't So Awful, Falafel, based on her own experiences growing up Iranian in Southern California, is historical fiction for middle grade. Dumas has also written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Gourmet Magazine and many other publications. You may have heard her commentaries on NPR.  Dumas believes that everyone has a story to tell and everyone's story counts.  She travels extensively on the lecture circuit, using humor to remind us that our commonalities far outweigh our differences. When not traveling or writing, she likes to spend time with her French husband, their three American children, and Nutella, the dog they rescued last year from Greece.  Every member of her family, except for Nutella, is a bookworm. 

Eureka! Bibliography 

First presented in 1989 for a book published in 1988, the John and Patricia Beatty Award winner is announced each year during National Library Week and though only one book is selected for the Beatty Award, all other books are evaluated for possible inclusion in the “Eureka! California in Children's Literature” bibliography.

A compilation of the work from over twenty years of Beatty Award committees, “Eureka! California in Children's Literature” is a bibliography of noteworthy children's and young adult books set in California and highlighting California history and culture. Critical annotations describe each title, and estimated grade levels are also included. Titles are organized into two categories, fiction and non-fiction, and within each category, by author.

In December 2017, the current list was updated and titles no longer in print are indicated by a print status of [OP]. Publishers listed are in all cases the original publishers, although some of the original editions have been supplemented and/or replaced by paperback editions.

The Beatty Award Committee members, both past and present, hope that this list will be useful and will lead to further discoveries about California, as well as to an appreciation for Patricia Beatty that includes not only her own and her husband's novels, but her love of the state that inspired so many of their works.

Eureka! California Children's Literature bibliography: sortable file (through 2016) (XLS, 479 KB)

Eureka! California in Children's Literature bibliography (through 2016) (PDF, 670 KB)

2017 Award Committee

  • Tiffany Bronzan, Committee Chair, Sonoma County Library
  • Mary Dubbs, Oakland Public Library
  • Dora Ho, Los Angeles Public Library
  • Kate Hug, Oakland Public Library
  • Rachel Kitzmann, Los Angeles Public Library
  • Alana LaBeaf, Long Beach Public Library
  • Michelle Meades, Glendale Public Library
  • Cassandra Stearns,Burbank Public Library
  • Cailin Yeager, Sonoma County Library

2018 Award Submission Information

The 2018 Beatty Committee has begun its search for this year's award recipient. We need your help to find those children's and young adult books that are published in 2017, set in California, and highlight California's cultural heritage or future. The 2018 recipient will be announced during National Library Week, April 8-14, 2018, so please send title suggestions and books for review (copies for all committee members if possible, please) as soon as possible and no later than January 31, 2018, to:

Joy Sage, 2018 CLA Beatty Award Chair
Pollak Library
800 North State College Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92834

2018 Award Committee

  • Nichole Brown, Oakland Public Library
  • Cyndi Effrain, Long Beach Public Library
  • Ginny Golden, Contra Costa County Library
  • Dylan de Jager, Redwood City Public Library
  • Jeanne O'Grady, Santa Cruz Public Libraries
  • Joy Sage, California State University, Fullerton (Chair)