When the Angels Left the Old Country

Sacha Mankin '14

When the Angels Left the Old Country is a debut young adult novel by Sacha Mankin ’14, who uses the pen name Sacha Lamb. The novel, a queer immigrant fairytale about individual purpose, the fluid nature of identity, and the power of love, won three awards at the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards, including a Printz honor, one of the highest honors in children’s literature. It also won the Sydney Taylor Book Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries, and a Stonewall Book Award for LGBTQIA+ representation in children’s literature.

In an interview with School Library Journal, Lamb said they felt a responsibility toward both the LGBTQIA+ community and the Jewish community as they wrote: “I tried to make my characters three-dimensional; you know, they’re not perfect. Even the supernatural characters are human in the way that they make mistakes, and they grow and they change. But I definitely had in mind that I wanted to make them complicated and have them do things that are wrong without playing into negative stereotypes. [I hope] all of the characters have qualities that make them universally appealing and universally relatable.” (Levine Querido, 2022)

When the Angels Left the Old Country book cover