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:

Bel Canto Books: Indie Bookstore of the Month

Each month, So Cal Readers (WNBA-LA’s reading group) will be exploring a book written by a local author, who will in turn share with us their favorite independent bookstore.  Our September Book is The Woman in Red” by Diana Giovinazzo.  Be sure to join WNBA-LA so you don’t miss out on the So Cal Readers monthly reading group (2nd Tuesday of the month).


Diana nominated Bel Canto Books as one of her favorite indie bookstores.  When asked why she loves Bel Canto Books, she said,




“What I love about Bel Canto is that Jhoanna always has a smile on her face and new books to discover. Likewise, if there is a book that she doesn’t have she’s willing to get it for me. I certainly can’t help but swing by for a new book and a plant.”

Stop by Bel Canto Books and see Jhoanna’s smiling face for yourself!


REMINDER TO ALL WNBA-LA MEMBERS:  Please make sure you have renewed your membership for the current year!

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:

Orange County Children’s Book Festival

If you are looking for a way to keep your young book lovers engaged and learning, the Orange County Children’s Book Festival will be going virtual this year.  And it’s free!

The first 500 to register for the 2-week festival will get a virtual swag bag, which includes sneak peeks, free book downloads, coupons, and more.

The festival runs from September 14-26th and includes presenters such as Kristen Bell (The World Needs More Purple People), Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series), Patrice Karst (The Invisible String), and many more!

For more information or to register: Kid’s Book Festival

So Cal Reads- New WNBA-LA Reading Group

WNBA-LA is excited to announce our new reading group “So Cal Reads“.

Led by our fantastic Vice President, Jennifer Holmes, we cordially invite you to join us on the second Tuesday of the month as we discuss books written by Southern California authors. Also, because we love our indie bookstores, we will be featuring a different bookstore every month, as chosen by our authors.

The first book selection is “The Woman in Red” by our fabulous WNBA-LA President, Diana Giovinazzo.  To pick up your copy while supporting independent bookstores, please purchase through

A portion of the proceeds also benefits WNBA-LA.

We will be meeting via zoom until further notice, as we want everyone to remain healthy and reading!

If you are an author who would like to be featured for our book club, feel free to email us. All books considered for our book club must meet the same criteria as our Literary Tea.

So Cal Reads is open to any current WNBA-LA member, so be sure to join if you haven’t already. Once you’ve become a member, join the Facebook So Cal Readers Here.