Countdown to October 4, 2020: Meet the Judy Lopez Memorial Award Authors

Fast Facts:

Honor Author Jen Wang

Jen Wang, Co-founder and organizer for Comic Arts LA; Born in Bay Area; Winner of the 2019 Eisner Award; Works on one book at a time; An avid library-goer as a child; Angeleno; Loves Manga

On Stargazing: Opposites attract. Middle school divides.

Be sure to look for us on October 4th at 2pm for the Judy Lopez Memorial Award for Children’s Literature celebrating authors Jen Wang, Kate Allen, Cynthia Kadohata and Jason Reynolds!

On Oct. 4th visit:

The Judy Lopez Memorial Award for Children’s Literature: Over The Years

The Judy Lopez Award for Children’s Literature is a national award, given every year, to call attention to fine literature for children ages nine through twelve. The awards honor Judy Lopez, a founding member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA/LA).

Judy demonstrated a love of books in every aspect of her life. Professionally, she was a publishers’ representative, book retailer, and then buyer for the California State University Bookstore. A promoter of literacy among pre-teens, including her daughter, Coquille (Coco) Lopez, Judy recognized the need to develop a child’s love of books early in life, when so many other distractions exist. She and other founding WNBA/LA members believed that a love of reading, established early, stays with a person for the rest of his or her life.

When Judy Lopez died of leukemia in 1985, her family wanted to honor her memory by encouraging reading in children. Judy’s parents, Desda and Ralph Slottow established the awards with Ami Kirby, who was then the head of Children’s Services for the Santa Monica Public Library System. They also created the Judy Lopez Foundation, which included Judy’s brother, Jeffrey Slottow, and volunteer, Hadassa K. Gilbert. The first award presentation occurred on June 14, 1986, and the medalist was Pam Conrad, for Prairie Songs. 

Judy Lopez and daughter, Coco

On June 12, 1999, the Young Adult (YA) literary community celebrated the fourteenth year of the Judy Lopez Memorial Award for Children’s Literature. That evening at the University of California Los Angeles Faculty Club, author Anita Lobel was given a medal for her memoir, No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War, which recounts her childhood in Nazi-occupied Poland. Ms. Lobel’s heartfelt speech thanked those who granted her the award, and then she spoke of how her book came into being, almost without her trying, as an assignment for a writing class.

The Judy Lopez Selection Committee continues to honor quality children’s literature. Each spring, after several intense and lively discussion sessions, four books published in the United States during the previous year are selected. The medalist receives a handsome bronze medallion, created by the well-known sculptor, Alex Shagrin, showing a young girl reading. The model was Judy Lopez’s daughter, Coco, then nine years old. The other three books receive honor certificates. The awards have gone to works of fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels and are formally presented, festive occasions open to the public, and include featured appearances by many distinguished authors.

Each year since 1986, the Judy Lopez Award for Children’s Literature has brought four new outstanding books to the attention of librarians, teachers, booksellers, reviewers, and parents, and through them, to the attention of children.

(Content contributed by Michelle Brook, Margaret Byron Flanders, Gail Kim, and Ruth Light)


Donate to the Judy Lopez Memorial Award:

The Judy Lopez Memorial Awards for Children’s Literature

The Judy Lopez Memorial Award for Children’s Literature is granted annually to works of literary excellence for nine- to twelve-year-olds.  The award is in remembrance of Judy Lopez, a founding member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association who was passionate about seeing children’s literature of quality recognized and rewarded.

Each year, a committee of librarians, teachers and others interested in children’s literature select a winning book and several honor books.  Books submitted for the award must have been published in the United States in the year preceding the award. The author must be a United States citizen or a resident of the United States.

The medal awarded the winning book was designed by sculptor Alex Shagrin and modeled after Judy’s daughter, Coco. It is cast in solid bronze.  The medalist and the authors of the honor books are celebrated each year at an annual awards ceremony.

Established in 1985, the Judy Lopez Memorial Award for Children’s Literature is administered by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association.

Please save the date of October 4, 2020 for this year’s virtual presentation. More information coming soon!

Questions?…contact our Judy Lopez Awards Chair, Cynthia Levin @

Donate to the Judy Lopez Memorial Award:

Do You Have Your Tickets Yet?

The 34th Annual Judy Lopez Award for Children’s Literature Reception and Afternoon Tea is just around the corner on September 15th.  If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, there is still time!

Join the Women’s National Book Association/ Los Angeles Chapter at the Culver Hotel.  Reception and Book Sales start at 1:00 P.M. and the Tea and Program will run from 2:00-4:00 P.M.

This year’s Tea is being held in memory of Margaret Flanders (1940-2019).

Mark your calendar and secure your tickets today: Click Here for More Information.

And The Winners Are…

After much deliberation, the 2019 winners have been announced!  Come honor the winners of the 34th Annual Judy Lopez Memorial Award for Children’s Literature at the historic Culver Hotel on September 15th.

The 2019 Medalist is:

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge
by M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin
(Candlewick Press)

And the 2019 Honor Book Selections are:

Sweep: the Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier
(Amulet Books)

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani (Dial Books for Young Readers)