VA READS is the official book award and

a program of the

Virginia Association of School Librarians.

2022-2023 Votes are Due May 19th.

Our mission is to provide educators and parents with an annual list of quality, inclusive children's literature to be used in classrooms, homes and libraries to provide students with the opportunity to experience windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors in children's literature.

*Note: Confused by the term sliding doors? Sliding doors "These doors allow readers to walk into a story and become part of the world that has been created by the author. " (Mirrors, windows and sliding doors originated from Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop.)



Picture Book List Details

VA READS Picture Books 2022-2023 Selections

Dumplings for Lili by Melissa Iwai. Norton Young Readers (9781324003427). Lili goes up and down the stairs of her grandmother’s apartment borrowing ingredients for all different types of dumplings.

Every Night is Pizza Night by J. Kenji López-Alt. Norton Young Readers (9781324005254) Pipo sets out on a neighborhood quest to prove that pizza is the best and discovers that best might not mean what she thought it meant.

Everybody in the Red Brick Building by Anne Wynter. Balzer + Bray (‎978-0062865762) Everybody in the red brick building was asleep until a crying baby sets off a chain reaction of noises. One by one, the residents return to their beds, each with a new set of sounds to help them fall asleep.

Fastest Woman on Earth: The Story of Tatyana McFadden by Francesca Cavallo. Undercats (9781953592040). This nonfiction picture book tells the story of Paralympic athlete Tatyana McFadden, winner of 17 Paralympic medals.

Home Is In Between by Mitali Perkins. Farrar, Straus and Giroux (9780374303679). Shanti feels caught in between her old world in India and her new one in America as she remembers her village and learns her new town.

Paletero Man by Lucky Diaz. HarperCollins (‎978-0063014442). A young boy is off in search of Paletero José but when he finally catches up to him, his pockets are empty, no money!

Room for Everyone by Naaz Khan. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (9781534431393). Musa is worried there won’t be enough room as the dala dala keeps stopping to pick people up along the way to the beach on this counting adventure.

Sakamoto’s Swim Club: How a Teacher Led an Unlikely Team to Victory by Julie Abery. Kids Can Press. (9781525300318). A true story of a teacher who coached Hawaiian swimmers to Olympic glory.

Usha and the Big Digger by Amitha Jagannath Knight. Charlesbridge (9781623542023). Two sisters and a cousin all look at the same night sky but they all see different things.

Vamos Let’s Cross The Bridge by Raúl the Third. Versity (9780358380405). Little Lobo, Bernabé, La Oink Oink, and El Toro get stuck on a bridge between sister cities in two different countries and make a party out of a traffic jam.

VA READS Middle Grade Selections 2022-2023

Barakah Beats. By Maleeha Siddiqui. Scholastic Press (9781338702064). Attending public school for the first time, Nimra joins a band despite her worry that it violates her Muslim faith.

Born Behind Bars. By Padma Venkatraman. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Young Readers (9780593112472). Kabir, 9, has always lived in prison with his mother in India. Suddenly released, he must learn to make his way alone in an unfamiliar world.

Chunky. By Yehudi Mercado. Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins (9780062972798). Hudi, Mexican American and Jewish, laughs his way through his struggles with sports and his health issues, with the help of an imaginary mascot.

Healer of the Water Monster. By Brian Young. HarperCollins/Heartdrum (9780062990402).

While visiting his grandmother, a Navajo boy enlists help from Holy Beings and tribal members as he tries to help heal an ailing Water Monster and his own uncle.

Isaiah Dunn is My Hero. By Kelly J. Baptist. Crown/Random House Children’s Books (9780593121368) His mother is barely coping following his father’s death, but Isaiah’s inherited literary talent and a supportive community help the family begin to recover.

Linked. By Gordon Korman. Scholastic Press (9781338629118). When swastikas start appearing around the school, a community of middle schoolers enter a journey of self-discovery and understanding, and form stronger bonds.

Measuring Up. By Lily LaMotte. Art by Ann Xu. HarperAlley (9780062973863).

Cici has recently moved to Seattle from Taiwan and desperately misses A-má, her grandmother. To pay for a plane ticket for A-má to visit her, Cici hopes to win a cash prize through a junior chef competition.

The One Thing You’d Save. By Linda Sue Park. Illus. by Robert Sae-Heng. Clarion (9781328515131). Using traditional and modified sijo poetic structure, Park explores what children would save if they were ever in a house fire.

Show Me a Sign. By Ann Clare LeZotte. Scholastic (9781338255812).

Based in the actual Deaf community that existed on Martha’s Vineyard during the 1800’s, Mary lives a singularly typical life. Never considering the deafness she is born with to be a disability until a prejudiced scientist arrives, Mary finds herself the focus of a study against her will.

While I Was Away. By Waka T. Brown. HarperCollins/Quill Tree (9780063017115).

This novel, based on the author’s childhood, chronicles 12-year-old Waka’s culture shock as she spends a summer in Japan with her grandmother to improve her Japanese language skills.

Contact us: or contact director, Ami Schroder at