Book An Author
Too short to play basketball and too squeamish to be a surgeon, Naomi Milliner decided to become an
overnight success instead. It only took sixteen years to get her debut novel, SUPER JAKE & THE KING
OF CHAOS, published. She has served on the Great Group Reads Committee for the Women's National Book
Association since 2009 and enjoyed working as both reviewer and Program & Events Coordinator for
Children's Literature in years past. Naomi lives with her husband, sons, and two ridiculous cats in
Maryland. She loves visiting students both in-person and virtually.
Naomi is available for in-person and virtual visits throughout the U.S. Naomi has three different
presentations and presents for ages 9 through adult. Her presentations are great for schools and PTA
meetings, family nights, synagogues and churches, and libraries as they revolve around her book and
life with her special needs son.
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Andrew Toffoli is living one of his many dreams: illustrating,
writing, and publishing his own children's book series. Andrew combined his Graphic Design
degree with a love of teaching and began his career as a graphic design teacher in Miami Dade
County Public Schools, where he has motivated students for over 25 years. Andrew's inspiration
comes from his love of family, art, history, and teaching. Over the past 18 years, he has
created a series of books called "Histories" that continues to grow. He has also earned a loyal
following of teachers that use his books to teach history, art history, and science across the
curriculum. Inspiring children to not only learn history but develop their inner author. The
Histories series now contains 11 titles and has sold over 50,000 copies.
Andrew is available for in-person visits in Florida and bordering states and is also available
for virtual visits anywhere. His presentations include a book reading, illustration
demonstration, a run-through of the creative process of writing and illustration, and a trivia
game with hand-drawn illustrations as the prizes.
Book Awards You Need to Know
The Freeman Book Awards
The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), the Committee on Teaching about Asia (CTA) of
the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), and Asia for Educators (AFE) at Columbia University sponsor
the annual Freeman Book Awards. The awards recognize quality books for children and young adults
that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of East and Southeast Asia.
"We know that reading helps shape a student's view of the world. If stories are biased or skewed,
adverse views of society, people, and even of themselves can develop. On the other hand, when
parents, teachers, librarians, and other adults share books where characters from under-represented
communities are extant, valued, and not stereotyped, positive views are formed. Thus, collections
and curricula serving young readers should include diverse books so that all children can see
themselves accurately reflected and investigate the experience of people with differing backgrounds.
Freeman Book Awards contribute to this process." - Nancy Hope, Executive Director, Freeman Book
Awards. Learn more at Freeman Book Awards - NCTAsia.
2021 Winner- Children's Literature
The Floating Field by Scott Riley and illustrated by Nguyen Quang and Kim Lien
After watching the World Cup on television, a group of Thai boys is inspired to form their own
team. But on the island of Koh Panyee, in a village built on stilts, there is no open space. The
boys can play only twice a month on a sandbar when the tide is low enough. Everything changes
when the teens join together to build their very own floating soccer field. Perfect for fans of
stories about sports, beating seemingly impossible odds, and places and cultures not often shown
in picture books.
2021 Winner- Young Adult: Middle School Literature
Finding Junie Kim by Ellen Oh
Junie Kim just wants to fit in. So she keeps her head down and tries not to draw attention to
herself. But when racist graffiti appears at her middle school, Junie must decide between
staying silent or speaking out. Junie's history teacher assigns a project, and Junie decides to
interview her grandparents, learning about their unbelievable experiences as kids during the
Korean War. Junie comes to admire her grandma's fierce determination to overcome impossible odds
and her grandpa's unwavering compassion during wartime. And as racism becomes more pervasive at
school, Junie taps into the strength of her ancestors and finds the courage to do what is right.
Finding Junie Kim is a reminder that within all of us lies the power to overcome hardship and
2021 Winner- Young Adult: High School Literature
Tsunami Girl by Julian Sedgwick and illustrated by Chie Kutsuwada
Fifteen-year-old Yuki struggles at school with her confidence and goes to Japan to stay with her
grandfather, a well-known manga artist to whom she is very close. But during her visit, a
calamitous event occurs – the East Coast Earthquake and Tsunami – and her beloved Grandpa is
lost. Yuki and her friend Taka must make sense of the terrible situation and come to terms with
the loss of their life as they knew it – and see that through renewal and with resilience, they
can emerge from this tragedy with optimism for the future. Interwoven with Japanese folk tales,
modern-day ghost stories, and the creation of her very own vibrant manga hero, Yuki finds the
courage to overcome extraordinary odds and take her first steps into the world that lies beyond
catastrophe. Told through both prose and manga.
2021 Winner- Young Adult: High School Literature (Graphic Novel)
The Waiting by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim and translated by Janet Hong
The story begins with a mother's confession ... sisters permanently separated by a border during
the Korean War. Keum Suk Gendry-Kim was an adult when her mother revealed a family secret: She
had been separated from her sister during the Korean War. It's not an uncommon story—the
peninsula was split across the 38th parallel, dividing one country into two. As many fled
violence in the north, not everyone was able to make it south. Her mother's story inspired
Gendry-Kim to begin interviewing her and other Koreans separated by the war; that research
fueled a deeply resonant graphic novel. The Waiting is the fictional story of Gwija, told by her
novelist daughter Jina. When Gwija was 17 years old, after hearing that the Japanese were
seizing unmarried girls, her family married her in a hurry to a man she didn't know. Japan fell,
Korea gained its independence, and the couple started a family. But peace didn't come, and the
young family of four fled south. On the road, while breastfeeding and changing her daughter,
Gwija was separated from her husband and son. Then seventy years passed. Seventy years of
waiting. Gwija is now an elderly woman, and Jina can't stop thinking about the promise she made
to help find her brother. Expertly translated from Korean by the award-winning translator Janet
Hong, The Waiting is the devastating follow-up to Gendry-Kim's Grass.