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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 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

2018 Beatty Committee

2019 Submission Information

2019 Beatty Committee


2018 Beatty Award Recipient

The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the California Library Association’s John and Patricia Beatty Award. 

The committee found this to be a remarkable book about a real incident that occurred in Oakland in 2013. Teenagers Sasha and Richard were on the same city bus going home from their respective schools when Richard set fire to Sasha’s skirt on a dare. What follows is a story of how the incident and its aftermath, including hospitalizations and trials, affected the lives of not only Sasha and Richard, but their families, their friends, and the community. The book also goes into great detail about the criminal and juvenile justice system in California, and discusses hate crimes as they relate to gender. The 57 Bus is a true story that holds the reader’s interest because of the wealth of facts and detailed interviews with real people intimately involved in the event and its aftermath.

After being told she won the award, Ms. Slater was excited and speechless. She said  “Two of my favorite things in the world are California and libraries, so it makes me particularly proud that California librarians chose The 57 Bus as a book that tells the California story. Stories help us shape our future and understand our past and I — like all readers and writers — am indebted to libraries for giving me the stories I needed throughout my life. I’m so grateful to the 2018 Beatty Committee for honoring me with this award and for giving me a page of my own in the diverse and beautiful volume that is California literature.”

Dashka Slater is the author of several picture books, the adult novel The Wishing Box and another non-fiction book, Lights, Camera, Alcatraz: Hollywood’s View of an American Landmark.  Ms. Slater has also written articles that have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, Mother Jones and New York Times Magazine

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)

2018 Award Committee

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

2019 Award Submission Information

The 2019 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 2018, set in California, and highlight California's cultural heritage or future. The 2019 recipient will be announced during National Library Week, April 7-13, 2019, 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, 2019, to:

Kate Hug, 2019 CLA Beatty Award Chair
Oakland Public Library
4805 Foothill Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94601

2019 Award Committee

  • Charity Anderson, Sonoma County Library
  • Ayanna Gaines, Camarillo Public Library
  • Roxanna Garcia, Riverside County Library System
  • Jill Harris, San Rafael Public Library
  • Kate Hug, Oakland Public Library (Chair)
  • Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library
  • Sherry Wade, Kern County Library