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The John and Patricia Beatty Award
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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 and California Young Reader Award (CYRM) 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

2020 Submission Information

2020 Beatty Committee


2020 Beatty Award Recipient

My Papi Has a Motorcycle, written by Isabel Quintero and illustrated by Zeke Peña, and published by Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House, has been selected as the 2020 recipient of the California Library Association’s John and Patricia Beatty Award. Every year since 1989, the Beatty Award honors the author of a distinguished book for children or young adults that best promotes an awareness of California and its people.

My Papi Has a Motorcycle is a loving glimpse of life in California’s Inland Empire. In invigorating and charming text and muted pastel colored illustrations, a young girl named Daisy goes on a motorcycle ride with her beloved papi through the streets of her town. There she meets and greets her librarian, her neighbors, and her abuelito and abuelita, all the while experiencing the sights and sounds of daily life: the lemon trees, the raspados man with his cart, the little carnicería and panderia. The book ends with her pretending she’s taking part in the historic car race on the historic Grand Boulevard of her precious community. 

Isabel Quintero perfectly captures in words the sights and sounds of her own childhood in Corona, California, and Peña’s pastel colors perfectly evoke a warm, hazy, sunlit California afternoon. While this book is an homage to a very specific community, Quintero and Peña’s Corona could stand in for many California cities like it up and down the state: current bustling cities, suburbs or exurbs that once upon a time were dusty agricultural towns. Each of these towns has a local history like Corona’s, with something special and unique. Quintero’s and Peña’s depiction of Corona’s road races that started in 1913 is a reminder that every California town has some bit of local history like this to tell. In sharing this slice of Daisy’s life in Corona, Quintero and Peña honor their Latinx heritage as well, a rich part of the tapestry that makes up California life. 

When told about her award, Quintero said, "I am incredibly honored that the California Library Association chose My Papi Has a Motorcycle as the Beatty Award Recipient for this year. It was wonderful news to receive amidst the constant pandemic related panic news we are bombarded with daily. The book is a celebration of community and family in Southern California, and I hope that we can return to that soon. In the meantime, I want to say thank you to the CLA committee for recognizing this love letter to my father and the city I group up in, and also thank you to Zeke Peña, illustrator extraordinaire, and Namrata Tripathi, our editor, along with the whole Kokila team."

Isabel Quintero lives and writes in the Inland Empire of Southern California, where she was born and raised. Her debut novel, Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, received five starred reviews and several awards, including the 2015 Morris Award for Debut YA Fiction and the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award.

Penguin Random House has published their guidelines for using their books in virtual storytimes-- we can encourage librarians to read the book on FB Live, etc. Penguin Random House guidelines can be found here:


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 July 2018, 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 2017) (XLS, 466 KB)

Eureka! California in Children's Literature bibliography (through 2017) (PDF, 607 KB)

2021 Award Submission Information

The 2021 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 2020, set in California, and highlight California's cultural heritage or future. The 2020 recipient will be announced during National Library Week, April 4-10, 2021, 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, 2021, to:

Jill Harris, 2021 CLA Beatty Award Chair

2021 Award Committee

  • Jill Harris, San Rafael Public Library (Chair)
  • Crystal Duran, Imperial County Library
  • Clio Hathaway, Hayward Public Library
  • Jamie Kurumaji, Fresno County Public Library
  • Raemona Little-Taylor, Marin County Free Library
  • Krista Riggs, Madera County Library
  • Ziba Zehdar, Los Angeles Public Library