2021 CALA Best Book Award Call for Nominations

Nomination deadline: April 1, 2021
Postmark deadline for nominated books: May 1, 2021

The annual CALA Best Book Award recognizes outstanding books, published in English or Chinese, which exhibit excellence in addressing topics about China and/or written by Chinese authors or authors of Chinese descent. The Award is to raise awareness of these topics and authors in North America.

The Committee will select nominated books in the following categories: fiction, non-fiction, juvenile books (age 12 - 18) and children's books (age 11 and under). The winner(s) will be announced before the advance registration deadline for the 2021 ALA Annual conference. Each award author(s) will receive an award certificate at CALA Annual Award Banquet in June during the 2021 ALA Annual conference.

If there are not any books meeting the criteria, award(s) will not be given.


Eligible Works

●      Related to Chinese cultural heritage or topics about China, and/or written by Chinese authors or authors of Chinese descent.

●      Published between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 by a publishing house, trade or small press/publisher located in North America or one of its territories for general commercial release in the United States. Self-published works and exclusively internet publications may also be considered by the committee.

●      Written in Chinese or English. This requirement does not limit the use of words or phrases in non-Chinese and non-English languages where appropriate in context. Translations of original works may be considered.

●      Works that have previously won other prizes or recognitions are eligible.

Ineligible Works

●      Anthologies by more than one author.

●      Reprints of books originally published prior to the current award year.

In the event of a dispute over eligibility, the Award Committee will decide whether a book is eligible, and its decision will be binding.

Evaluation Criteria

●      Strengths: the overall judgement based on the works.

●      Narration (for fiction): this criterion measures the description fluency and attractiveness of language in fictions.

●      Subject matter (for non-fiction): this criterion measures the clarity of the subject matter.

●      Appeal and involvement (for juvenile books (Age 12 - 18)): this criterion measures originality of the story, with a convincing plot, in-depth characters and realistic outcomes. 

●      Imagination (for children's books (Age 11 and under)): this criterion measures the age-appropriateness of text and story line in combination with the creativity of illustrations and themes.

●      Value/Influence: this criterion evaluates the general implication or potential force of a work.

●      Other feedback as reference: this criterion depends on the feedback from different channels, such as online bookstores, etc.

The Award Committee will combine these criteria and select the winner(s).

Submission Process

●      Entries may be submitted by an author, publisher, agent, publicist or any individual.

●      Nominations must be submitted through the Best Book Award Nomination Form by April 1, 2021.

●      An author, publisher, publicist, agent or individual may submit more than one entry per author, but not more than one entry per book.

●      It is encouraged to mail books of entry to the Best Book Award Committee, with three copies, one copy each to committee members. All nominated books must be postmarked by May 1, 2021. Please send books as early as possible. The Award Committee is not obligated to consider books with a postmark after May 1, 2021. Book packages must be clearly marked with "CALA Best Book Award.”

●      Electronic books are also acceptable. 

●      Upon receiving an entry, the Award Committee will notify the submitter via email. The Award Committee is not responsible for lost submissions.

●      Please mail or email books of entry to the following address:

Jennifer Woo

116 San Carlos Avenue

El Cerrito, CA 94530


Clara Tran

234 Old Town Road

Setauket, NY 11733


Joanne Chern

5042 7th Ave. NE

Seattle, WA 98105


If you have any questions, please email Jennifer Woo, Jennifer.woo@sfpl.org or Clara Tran, yuet.tran@stonybrook.edu or visit CALA Annual Best Book Award to learn more about the Award.

Thank you for considering.


CALA Best Book Award Committee

Jennifer Woo, Jennifer.woo@sfpl.org (Co-chair)

Clara Tran, yuet.tran@stonybrook.edu (Co-chair)

Joanne Chern, jchern@uw.edu (Member)