Barnes & Noble Announces Annual Children’s & Young Adult Book Awards Winners

Press Release

The Swifts by Beth Lincoln & Claire Powell Crowned Overall Winner

New York, NY – May 15, 2023 –
Barnes & Noble announces the winners of their annual Children’s & YA Book Awards at a live event tonight hosted in New York City. The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels, written by Beth Lincoln and illustrated by Claire Powell, is the Overall Winner as well as the winner of the Young Reader category. How to Eat a Book by Mrs. & Mr. MacLeod took the lead in the Picture Books category and A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin triumphed in Young Adult.

“This has been a stellar year for children’s publishing, breaking all sorts of sales records and marked by blistering creativity. Our booksellers have acclaimed a wonderful selection of books for the Book Awards and the winners of each category are truly extraordinary. We look forward to expanding nationwide the young audiences captivated and inspired by these books,” said James Daunt, CEO, Barnes & Noble. “In The Swifts, Beth Lincoln’s unparalleled wordsmithing and wit, complemented by Claire Powell’s sensational artwork, thrilled our booksellers, as surely it will readers for generations to come.”

The bookseller is proud to present these annual awards elevating new voices and outstanding talent in children’s publishing. The winners in each category, including the Overall Winner, are selected from a shortlist of eighteen new titles proposed by Barnes & Noble booksellers who specialize in children’s literature. Titles are eligible if they are one of the author’s early works. The company prides itself on seeking out emerging talent, introducing outstanding new authors to the widest audience. The voices of these authors are sure to have an enduring influence on the reading enjoyment of children of all ages and backgrounds for years to come.

Here is what Barnes & Noble booksellers are saying about the Overall Winner, The Swifts: A Dictionary of Scoundrels:

“A delightfully quirky story of wordplay and mystery by Beth Lincoln, this book celebrates individuality and is certain to become an instant classic as soon as readers meet the Swift family. A sparkling debut, The Swifts is the perfect read for fans of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library and The Bookwanderers.” – Bookseller Brittany B., Cary, NC

“You will swiftly be engrossed in the phenomena of a maelstrom where not everything smells like daisies during the course of the Swift family reunion. Use caution when opening the freezer! Shenanigans are sure to ensue. This book is such a delight, it simply can’t be defined.” – Bookseller Lindsay B., Manchester, CT

“Beth Lincoln knocks it out of the park with this wholesome who-dunnit perfect for fans of A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Mysterious Benedict Society. There is mystery, humor and treasure hunting all packed into the pages of this fantastic middle grade adventure!” – Amanda Y., Los Angeles, CA

“We all deserve to read a book like The Swifts growing up! Clever, quirky, and endlessly entertaining with plenty of teachable moments for kids. Also great to see LGBTQ+ representation effortlessly woven into the fabric of this story!” – Jess L., Nashua, NH

“This zany cast of characters will live in my heart (and on my bookshelf) forever.”
– Michele L., Bloomfield, NJ

The Children’s & YA Book Awards sit alongside the Barnes & Noble Book of the Year and Discover Prize programs connecting avid readers with the best books. It also kicks off the bookseller’s perennial Summer Reading event where children in 1st through 6th grade who read any eight books can receive one free book at the end of the summer.

Customers can find the Barnes & Noble Children’s & YA Book Awards Winners and Finalists on display at their local Barnes & Noble and on  They can also join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, using the hashtag #BNBookAwards.

Picture Book Winner
: How to Eat a Book written and illustrated by Mrs. & Mr. MacLeod

Just when Sheila Grunion is about to eat her first book, a peculiar turn of events occurs when the book instead eats her! Fantastically illustrated with dipped pen-and-ink cutout art and set on a three-dimensional stage, How to Eat a Book is a modern celebration of books brought to life by debut wife and husband duo, Mrs. & Mr. MacLeod.

“Mrs. and Mr. MacLeod didn’t create the typical picture book,” said Scott Berkowitz, Manager of Children’s Books, Barnes & Noble. “How to Eat a Book is a fantastical portal to a world filled with whimsy and adventure. The Grunion cousins fell right out of a Shel Silverstein poem, and we’re thrilled to welcome them to our ever-expanding book club of favorite story-time friends. We can’t wait to see what’s next for the Grunions.”

Young Reader Winner
: The Swifts written by Beth Lincoln and illustrated by Claire Powell

On the night they are born every Swift child is given a name, and a personality, from the sacred Family Dictionary. Set in a world of nominative determinism, Shenanigan Swift knows her role: mischief-maker. But when a mysterious incident occurs at a family reunion, Shenanigan must trust she’s capable of defying her definition to catch a killer and save her family.

“Chock full of mystery, mayhem, and malarkey, The Swifts is a delightfully quirky celebration of individuality and the power of words,” said Stephanie Pinheiro, Manager of Young Reader & YA Books, Barnes & Noble. “Fans of Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl won’t want to miss this charming tale.”

Young Adult Winner:
A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin

Brewed with plenty of both tea and magic, this debut novel follows Ning on her quest to become the imperial city’s greatest shennong-shi. With the very poison tea that took her mother now threatening the life of her sister, Ning’s only hope to save her is winning the competition to earn a favor from the princess.

“An atmospheric fantasy centering around the ancient and magical art of tea-brewing, A Magic Steeped in Poison is a mesmerizing debut sure to fill your cup with romance, betrayal, and political intrigue,” said Stephanie Pinheiro, Manager of Young Reader & YA Books, Barnes & Noble.

All Contacts

Shannon DeVito

Senior Director, Book Strategy & Customer Experience

Barnes & Noble, Inc.

About Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble, Inc. is the largest retail bookseller in the United States. The Company has approximately 600 bookstores across the United States, as well as its online bookstore at, the Nook Digital business which offers both e-books and an audio book subscriptions service, the SparkNotes educational service, stationery and gift retailer Paper Source, and the publisher Union Square & Co. General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be found on the Company's website at