Nominations Invited for New PALA Book Award

The Polish American Librarians Association is establishing a book award to recognize excellence in telling the story of Poland’s history and culture, the Polish American experience, or the Polish diaspora. The PALA Book Award will be given annually to the author of a book in any genre, and readers are invited to nominate books published in 2019 or 2020. PALA is planning to present the first PALA Book Award in 2021.

Books in English—fiction or nonfiction, including books for children or young adults and new translations—will be considered. Honorable Mentions may be named. The PALA Board of Directors will collect nominations through January 2021, in preparation for the association’s 2021 Annual Meeting, when the winner will be announced. A list of nominees will then be sent to PALA members in advance for voting and the final selection will be approved by the PALA Board of Directors.

PALA became an affiliate of the American Library Association in 2020, and the 2021 PALA Annual Meeting, including the first presentation of the PALA Book Award, will be scheduled in coordination with the ALA’s 2021 Annual Conference scheduled for June 24-29 in Chicago. The 2020 ALA Annual Conference and a planned PALA 10-year anniversary celebration were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Membership in PALA lasts a lifetime with a single $50 joining fee. (If you have joined in the past, you are already a member.) You do not have to be Polish and you do not have to be a librarian to support the educational goals of the association or to nominate books for the PALA Book Award. Learn more at

Books published that have already been suggested are listed below. Support for these titles as well as additional nominations are welcome and may be made on Facebook or at “Contact Us.” Include a brief rationale for the nomination.

American Warsaw: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Polish Chicago by Dominc  A. Pacyga

Citizen 865 by Debbie Cenziper

Coming to Be by Rebecca Thaddeus

Country Awakening novel by Bozena Zawisz

Ellis Island: A People’s History by Małgorzata Szejnert

The Escape Artist by Helen Fremont

How Languages Saved Me by Tadeusz Haska

The Life of Marek Zaczek Vol. I: Under the Wings of Eagles by David Trawinski

Little Altar Boy by John Guzlowski

Poles in Illinois by John Radzilowski & Ann Hetzel Gunkel

The Things We Cannot Say: A Novel by Kelly Rimmer

The Trunk by Tom Schalata

The Volunteer: The True Story of the Resistance Hero Who Infiltrated Auschwitz by Jack Fairweather

They Went Left YA novel by Monica Hesse

Victoria’s War: A Novel by Catherine A. Hamilton