Los Angeles-based author Julie Berry’s young adult novel set in World War I, Lovely War, has won the prestigious 2020 Golden Kite Award for the top work of young adult fiction by the Society of Children’s Books and Illustrators (SCBWI).
Lovely War, released from Viking Books for Young Readers, has topped several best of year lists for 2019. Lovely War was named a Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of 2019, a New York Public Library Best Fantasy for Adults, a Kirkus Best YA Romance of 2019, a Booklist Editor’s Choice for Youth 2019, a Horn Book Fanfare Title for 2019, a 2019 Blue Ribbon from The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, a BookPage Best Young Adult Book of 2019, a Shelf Awareness 2019 Best Children’s & Teen Book of the Year, a BuzzFeed Best Young Adult Book of 2019, and a Texas Library Association TAYSHAS Top Ten Book. Libraries naming it to their best teen and YA reads of the year lists include Chicago Public Library, Los Angeles Public Library, San Jose Public Library. The novel also won the 2019 Young Adult Prize given by the Southern California Independent Booksellers’ Association. Lovely War’s paperback edition will release on February 4, 2020.
At the time of its March 2019 release, Lovely War received glowing reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Cosmopolitan. The New York Times Book Review called Lovely War a “virtuoso” achievement, saying it “reads like a divine mix of Kate Atkinson and Neil Gaiman.” The Washington Post called it “the novel you’ll want to steal from your teen’s nightstand.” BookPage praised “Julie Berry’s superb research and attention to detail” as “perfectly suited to the layers of this moving, unflinching and, yes, romantic story of love in wartime.” Barnes and Noble called it “a story of love, healing, and meddling gods you won’t want to miss.” Lovely War also received seven starred reviews from industry journals including Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, BookPage, Booklist, The Horn Book, and Shelf Awareness.
Instituted in 1973, the Golden Kite Award is an annual award for excellence in children’s literature given in six categories and, along with the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, is the only children’s literacy award judged by a jury of peers. Over 1,000 books are entered each year. Julie Berry and the other winners in each category will formally accept their awards at SCBWI’s gala on February 7, 2020 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, and will each receive $2500 plus an additional $1,000 to donate to a non-profit organization of their choice. Berry will direct her donation funds to the Equal Justice Initiative, a human rights advocacy group committed to ending mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial and economic injustice in the United States.
Berry is also the author of the award-winning young adult title, The Passion of Dolssa. The critically acclaimed novel won a 2017 Michael L. Printz Honor award from the American Library Association, was a finalist for the L.A. Times Book prize, a The New York Times Notable title, and was on Best of the Year lists with Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and others. Berry’s other novels include All the Truth That’s In Me and The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, both award-winning titles for young people. This year, she released her first picture books including Long Ago, on a Silent Night, illustrated by Annie Won and published by Scholastic, and Happy Right Now, illustrated by #1 New York Times Bestselling illustrator Holly Hatam, and published by Sounds True.
Julie Berry grew up in western New York and spent most of her adult life in the Boston area before moving to Pasadena, California with her family. She holds a BS from Rensselaer in communication and an MFA from Vermont College of the Fine Arts in writing for children and young adults. For more information, visit www.julieberrybooks.com. For information about SCBWI, visit www.scbwi.com. For information about the Equal Justice Initiative, visit eji.org.