Keeping the City Running Book Jacket and Image of Brian Floca

Brian Floca Wins 2022 Horace Mann Upstanders Book Award For “Keeping The City Going”

Floca’s picture book is a tribute to the essential workers who stayed on the streets to keep their cities going during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Antioch University Los Angeles’ Education Department is honored to announce Brian Floca as the 2022 Horace Mann Upstanders Book Award recipient for Keeping the City Going (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books.) The Horace Mann Upstanders Book Award honors children’s literature that best exemplifies the ideals of social action and encourages young readers to become agents of change themselves by standing up to injustice. The Horace Mann Upstanders Book Award will be formally presented to Floca at the 15th Annual Upstanders Book Award Ceremony which will be held virtually on April 23, 2022.

“I’d like to express my sincere thanks to the Education Department at Antioch University Los Angeles for their selection of Keeping the City Going for the 2022 Horace Mann Upstanders Book Award,” said Floca. “I’m grateful and happy and humbled to see the book in the good company of past winners, and to know that the values honored by the Upstander Award have been seen in this book.”

Caldecott Award winner Floca gives a heartfelt thank you to the essential workers who kept their cities going during COVID-19 quarantine in this tenderly illustrated picture book. The once hustling and bustling streets are empty. Well, almost empty. Around the city there are still some people out and about. These are the people keeping us safe. Keeping us healthy. Keeping our mail and our food delivered. Keeping our grocery stores stocked. Keeping the whole city going. Floca speaks for us all in this stirring homage to all the essential workers who kept the essentials operating so the rest of us could do our part by sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Published in the spring of 2021, Keeping the City Going has been honored by Kirkus Reviews as a 10 Picture Books To Look for in 2021, Publishers Weekly as The Most Anticipated Children’s and YA Books of Spring 2021, the Wall Street Journal as a Summer Reading Pick, Publishers Weekly as a Best Books of 2021 selection, and a 2021 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books selection.

“An Upstander is a person or a group who chooses to take a positive stand and act on behalf of themselves and others. This award honors literature that encourages readers to take that risk and stand up for something they believe in,” said Dr. J. Cynthia McDermott, Chair of Antioch University Los Angeles’ Education Department. “Brian exemplifies an Upstander in all his work.”

Brian Floca is the author and illustrator of Locomotive, winner of the 2014 Caldecott Medal, Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 (recently revised and expanded), Lightship, and The Racecar Alphabet, among other titles.  He is currently at work on drawings of campers and dinosaurs. (Not together, though. Two different books.) Floca has illustrated Avi’s Poppy Stories series, including the recently published volume Ragweed & Poppy; Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan’s Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring; Laura Amy Schlitz’s Princess Cora and the Crocodile; and Hawk Rising, by Maria Gianferrari. In addition to the Caldecott Medal, Floca’s books have received four Robert F. Sibert Honor awards for distinguished informational books, an Orbis Pictus Award and Orbis Pictus Honor, a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators, and have three times been selected for the annual New York Times Best Illustrated Books list.