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Seventh Annual Anna Dewdney Read Together Award Winner and Honor Books Announced

May 3, 2023

Tune in for a virtual reading on TBD of the winning title by the author and illustrator, followed by a Q&A.

New York, NY – May 3, 2023 – Penguin Young Readers, the Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader are honored to announce that The Proudest Color, written by Dr. Sheila Modir and Jeffrey Kashou, and illustrated by Monica Mikai, published by Familius Books, is the winner of the Seventh annual Anna Dewdney Read-Together Award.

This award is given annually to a picture book that is both a superb read-aloud and sparks compassion, empathy, and connection. The award commemorates the life and work of author/illustrator Anna Dewdney and celebrates her commitment to reading with young children and putting books into as many little hands as possible.

Sheila Modir and Jeffrey Kashou will gather virtually to record a read-aloud of their winning title, followed by a conversation about their creative process and Q&A. We invite teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents to submit your own questions, or the questions of young readers’ for the book’s authors to answer. Submit a question for the Q&A by May 19.

Sheila Modir is a pediatric psychologist and Jeffrey Kashou is a marriage and family therapist. As Middle Eastern Americans (Iranian and Palestinian) and as clinicians, they advocate for diversity, equality, and inclusion and work toward promoting resilience in children. While this is their first children’s book together, this happy couple from Southern California has teamed up on publications, presentations, and service work locally and internationally. Sheila and Jeff donate their author proceeds from the book to ACLU SoCal and other local social justice organizations for children. Visit them at

Monica Mikai is an illustrator and former educator. She has an MFA from the New York Studio School, where she studied painting, and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two sons, and her sassy cat, Nima.

The Honor Books for 2023 are:

Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, A Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion, by Shannon Stocker; illus. by Devon Holzwarth (Dial Books)

Snow Globe Wishes, by Erin Dealey; illus. by Claire Shorrock (Sleeping Bear Press)

The Bad Seed, by Jory John; illus. by Pete Oswald (HarperCollins)

Tiny Spoon vs. Little Fork, by Constance Lombardo; illus. by Jason Patterson and Dan Abdo (Hippo Park/Astra Publishing)

In honor of this year’s Anna Dewdney Read Together Award winner, Penguin Young Readers will donate 250 copies of The Proudest Color to two organizations: StoryMaze Project, an organization run by The Radical Librarian, that aims to eliminate Baltimore’s book deserts; and to a Harlem-based organization aimed at improving literacy and opportunities for children. The authors will also donate their portion of the monetary prize to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California.

Past winners can be viewed here.

The winner and honor books were chosen via voting over the last two months by librarians, teachers, booksellers, and caregivers across America.

About Anna Dewdney

Anna Dewdney was the New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of Llama Llama Red Pajama. Other award-winning books in the Llama Llama series include Llama Lama and the Bully GoatLlama Lama Time to ShareLlama Llama Misses MamaLlama Llama Holiday Drama, and Llama Llama Mad at Mama. The latest book in the Llama Llama series Llama Llama’s Little Lie will be released in August 2023. She was also the author/illustrator of Little ExcavatorNobunny’s PerfectRoly Poly Pangolin, and Grumpy Gloria. Anna worked as a rural mail carrier and taught at a boys’ boarding school for many years before becoming a full-time author and illustrator. Anna was a committed advocate of literacy, speaking regularly on this topic and publishing articles in the Wall Street Journal and other national outlets.

About Penguin Young Readers

Penguin Young Readers is one of the leading children’s book publishers in the United States. The company owns a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Dial Books, Dutton, Flamingo, Kokila, Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Workshop, Philomel, Puffin, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Razorbill, Viking, and Frederick Warne. These imprints are home to such award-winning, New York Times- bestselling authors as, Laurie Halse Anderson, Max Brallier, Jan Brett, Eric Carle, Roald Dahl, Anna Dewdney, John Flanagan, John Green, Oliver Jeffers, Brad Meltzer, Ransom Riggs, Ruta Sepetys, Sabaa Tahir, Jacqueline Woodson, and dozens of other popular authors. Penguin Young Readers Group is also the proud publisher of perennial brand franchises such as The Little Engine That Could, the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, Peter Rabbit, Spot, the Classic Winnie the Pooh, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, Madeline, Mad Libs, the Last Kids on Earth, the Rangers Apprentice, and Who HQ among many others. Penguin Young Readers Group is a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

About Every Child a Reader

Every Child a Reader is a 501(c)(3) award-winning literacy charity whose popular national programs include Children’s Book Week, the longest-running literacy initiative in the country, celebrating 104 years in 2023; the Kids’ Book Choice Awards, the only national book awards chosen solely by children and teens; Get Caught Reading, a classroom poster project: and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature program, in partnership with the Library of Congress.


Penguin Contact: Garrett Bond, Publicity Manager, Brands, Penguin Young Readers

CBC and Every Child a Reader Contact: Carl Lennertz, Executive Director, The Children’s Book Council

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