Newbery Honor Author Lisa Yee

I asked Amina Luqman-Dawson, Andrea Beatriz Arango, Christina Soontornvat, and Lisa Yee to answer two questions and finish two sentence starters. 

Hello, Lisa Yee! Congratulations on receiving a 2023 Newbery Honor for Maizy Chen’s Last Chance!

Lisa Yee: Thank you, John. I’m still trying to process this!

I love hearing about the CALL. What was running through your heart when the committee was clapping and cheering for you?

Lisa Yee: A couple of days before the announcements, my editor, Shana Corey, said I should keep my phone on “just in case.” Normally I’m not great about following directions, but I did this time, which meant I answered a lot of spam calls!

When the phone rang on Sunday at about 3 pm, I braced for another telemarketer. But IT WAS THE NEWBERY COMMITTEE, and when I figured that out, I started babbling and crying, and recall saying, “What am I supposed to do?” It was all so overwhelming.

Later, I asked Shana and my agent, Jodi Reamer, “What if it WASN’T really the committee?! What if it was a prank call???” And they calmed me down and told me it was for real.

What does a Newbery Honor for Maizy Chen’s Last Chance mean to you?

Lisa Yee: This was the hardest, most personal book I’ve ever written. When I was working on Maizy, there was so much anti-Asian hate happening that at one point I was paralyzed and just couldn’t write. So, to have not only finished it but to have garnered the recognition of a Newbery Honor means the world to me. This is truly a dream come true.

Please finish the following sentence starters:

Story is life.

Libraries are home.

Thank you, Lisa!

Borrow Maizy Chen's Last Chance from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


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