2020 New Visions Award Winners

New York, NY—Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, is thrilled to announce the results of its eighth annual New Visions Award writing contest. Established to increase the number of authors of color writing for children and teens, the New Visions Award is given to a middle grade or young adult manuscript by a new author of color or Indigenous/Native author. Winners receive a cash prize and publishing contract with Lee & Low Books. This year, Tiffany Golden has won the New Visions Award for her manuscript, Rikki and Rai: The Everyday and Sometimes Epic Adventures of the Tucker Sisters. The honor goes to Ana Rodriguez Ellickson for Roman the Renegade.

Rikki and Rai is a middle-grade novel in closely-linked short stories about two sisters navigating their small town during the year of their parents’ separation. Rai’s sour, stubborn mood is often at odds with Rikki’s hopeful, helpful nature. But when it matters most, they put their differences aside to cement their bond as sisters.

“Sometimes with siblings, tough times bring them closer together,” says author Tiffany Golden. “Love survives in hard times.”

Golden teaches creative writing to elementary and middle school youth in Oakland, California. As the New Visions Award winner, she will receive a cash prize of $2,000 and a publishing contract with Lee & Low Books. Publication of Rikki and Rai is planned for spring 2023.

Roman the Renegade by Ana Rodriguez Ellickson, which received the Honor, is a middle-grade graphic novel manuscript about a young Filipino American boy, Roman Villanueva, who draws graffiti on a playground wall in San Francisco in an attempt to win new friends. When the drawing comes to life as a Minokawa bird-dragon from Filipino folklore, Roman must enlist the help of his neighbor Mia to figure out how to stop it.

The story was inspired by a piece of grafitti in Manila, “Ang Bakunawa at an Minokawa,” by the street artist group Ang Gerilya, that depicts the legendary Minokawa eating the sun.

Ellickson has taught English in Thailand and earned her TESOL teaching certificate in Prague. She currently works in the Department of Global Studies at University of California Santa Barbara. Ellickson will receive a cash prize of $1,000, and will publish Roman the Renegade with Lee & Low Books.

Previous winners of Lee & Low’s New Visions Award include Ink and Ashes by Valynne Maetani, an Asian/Pacific American Honor for Literature; Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh, which received three starred reviews and is a Junior Library Guild selection; and Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar, which received two starred reviews and is listed as a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People.

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