Freeman Book Awards

The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), the Committee on Teaching about Asia (CTA) of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), and Asia for Educators (AFE) at Columbia University announce the establishment of annual Freeman Book Awards for new young adult and children’s literature. The awards recognize quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of East and Southeast Asia. Awards are given in two categories: Children’s and Young Adult on the several countries of East and Southeast Asia.


For the 2017 prizes, the committee will consider books that fit the criteria below and have been published during the preceding year (January 1 – December 31, 2017). Books must be published in English; bi-lingual books will also be considered.

Submission Deadline

The deadline for submission of titles to the relevant committee members (listed below) is August 15, 2017. It is the responsibility of the publisher to submit one copy of the title to each member of the relevant grade-level committee.

Categories and Types of Awards

  • Children’s Literature
  • Young Adult Literature

Genres: Fiction, poetry, folklore, selected non-fiction, graphic novels (no textbooks or fact books).

Subjects: Books, published in English, which have the culture and people of East or Southeast Asia as the primary focus of the story and contribute meaningfully to understanding of any of the following: China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.


The books should accurately and skillfully portray the experience of individuals living in East Asia and Southeast Asia. 

In determining the award, books will be judged for:

  1. Quality of story, its plot and characterization;
  2. Cultural autenticity;
  3. Potential for classroom use;
  4. Appeal to intended audience.

Bilingual books and translations will be considered:

  • Bilingual books that include English are eligible;
  • Translations are eligible in the year first published in English.

Announcement of Awards

We will announce the Freeman Book Awards at the American Library Association Mid-winter Meeting where both the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) announce their awards. Publishers of winning titles will receive notification of awards by November 1, 2017, in time to schedule “Meet the Author” events, if appropriate.

The Awards will be publicized through all the relevant media sties of the participating organizations and the list maintained on a permanent website (

Award Seals

Award seals can be ordered from the printer. Please see directions for ordering the seal HERE.

Significance of the Freeman Book Awards

Since the early 1990s, the Freeman family has made significant contributions to the understanding of Asia of the American people. Through the Freeman Foundation, the family has supported thousands of programs and created impacts on millions of people. The vision, dedication and devotion of the Freeman Family have left deep marks on the people to people relationships between the United States and East and Southeast Asia, and will continue to bring about positive changes in those relationships. The Freeman Foundation believes that having the Freeman Book Awards would be the most appropriate way to recognize the Freeman Family, and would further enhance the efforts of many American educators in promoting education about Asia in this country. The Freeman Foundation hopes that the Freeman Book Awards will encourage writers to write more books on Asia, teachers to teach more of those books, and students to read more of those books.

The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) is a flagship program in education about Asia in this country.  During the past two decades, the Freeman Foundation and NCTA have collaborated effectively in creating and implementing programs on Asia in K-12 schools throughout America. NCTA and its member sites, in collaboration with the Committee on Teaching about Asia (CTA) of the Association for Asian Studies, administer the Freeman Book Awards.

Nomination Process

There is no entry fee for nomination. To nominate a title:

  1. Publishers or authors: please
    • Complete the submission form;
    • Submit one review copy to each member of the relevant review committee by August 15, 2017 for titles published in 2017. See the list of committee members and their addresses HERE. When available, publishers are all requested to send gift cards for Kindle versions to all reviewers, enabling those who prefer to read on a Kindle to do so.
  2. Teachers and librarians: please complete the submission form with as much information as you can provide and return it to Amelia Tan by email only as soon as possible.

Authors publishers, teachers and librarians are all encouraged to nominate a title for review.

*Publishers are responsible for mailing one copy to each member of the 2017 Review Committee.


For questions on the awards, please contact Amelia Tan by email only.