Donna Barba Higuera, a California native who now lives in Issaquah with her family, has won one of the most prestigious awards in children’s literature. The American Library Association announced Monday that Higuera’s middle-grade book “The Last Cuentista” was the winner of the John Newbery Medal, awarded yearly to the most distinguished children’s book published the previous year.
Higuera’s book is the 100th winner of the Newbery, established in 1921 and named for an 18th-century English book publisher.
Inspired by science-fiction and Mexican folklore, “The Last Cuentista” has at its center a 12-year-old girl relocated to a new planet after Earth is destroyed, who becomes the only one to remember the stories of her former life. A starred Publisher’s Weekly review of the book described it as “gripping, euphonious … and full of storytelling magic.”
Higuera’s previous books for children include “Lupe Wong Won’t Dance,” which won a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award in 2020, and the picture book “El Cucuy Is Scared, Too!”
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