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Diverse Book Young Adult Award

The Diverse Book Awards was established in November 2019 and was created by Abiola Bello and Helen Lewis, founders of The Author School. There are many book awards but very few that are just for diversity and we believe diversity is something to celebrate! The first year running the awards was AMAZING despite Abiola and Helen having to judge 60 books! But The Diverse Book Awards is here to stay and hopes to recreate that magic for many years to come.



Cheung, Sue ISBN: 9781783448395

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"A funny and achingly poignant portrayal of the identity crises, family conflicts, and hopes of a British-Chinese teenager in the 1980s"

Jo is the kind of open, honest, amusing character readers immediately care about. Told through her wittily illustrated diary, Jo’s tale begins with a(nother) upheaval. She and her family have just moved to their new Chinese takeaway, but her hopes for a fresh start are immediately dashed when she sees there’s no living room, and she has to share a room with little sister Bonny while big brother Simon lives with their grandparents.

Jo’s experience of feeling “doubly different” is poignantly portrayed – she’s an outsider at school because she’s Chinese, and an outsider among her wider Chinese family because her own family is dysfunctional, and because she doesn’t speak the same language. Thank goodness, then, that she forms a friendship with fellow outcast, Tina the Goth, who stands up to racist school bullies. But while Jo begins to feel hopeful about her future and takes steps towards realising her dream of working in fashion, she and Bonny are increasingly neglected by their parents, and then there’s Dad’s aggressive outbursts.

The mid-1980s setting prompts many amusing references, from ra-ra skirts and Gary Kemp’s perm, to sending drawings to Take Hart and going to Wimpy for a Knickerbocker Glory  - but above all this is a highly readable, highly empathetic, impactful novel about familial abuse and neglect, trying to fit in, and finding your way in the world. Based on her own experiences, author Sue Cheung’s big-hearted story will chime with readers of 12+ who know how it feels to fall between cracks and dream of a different life.

- Joanne Owen (LoveReading Editorial Expert)

The bright idea came about when Abiola was looking up book awards for diverse books and only found one, despite the conversations about more diversity in books. She shared the idea with Helen who backed it and they agreed it has to be UK based to celebrate the amazing talent that we have. Whilst Abiola was trying to think of a clever awards name, Helen said, “Why not keep it simple and call it The Diverse Book Awards?" 

The Diverse Book Awards are open to anyone who has written a book for children, young adults and adult. Fiction only and UK based authors that features Black, Asian, Latin American and and/or inclusive main characters.