The American Library Association has announced the winners of the most prestigious awards for children’s and young adult literature for 2020 with its Youth Media Awards.
The books and other forms of media range from stories about the struggles of a 7th-grade African-American student sent to a prestigious school with little diversity to a picture book honoring American black leaders to the story of a modern Native American family. Here is a list of many of the winners and honor books.
The prestigious Newberry Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature went to a graphic novel for the first time: New Kid by Jerry Craft. New Kid is the story of Jordan, who attends an elite academy outside his neighborhood, whose students and teachers can’t seem to stop reminding him that he’s one of the few students of color. Meanwhile, all Jordan wants to do it be an artist. New Kid was described by the Newberry committee as a book that “explores friendship, race, class, and bullying in a fresh and oftentimes humorous manner.” Craft also received a Coretta Scott King Author Award for the book. and New Kid was among several graphic novels to receive honors this year.
Newbery Honor Books are The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker, Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga, and Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams.
Randolph Caldecott Medal
Besides being named a Newberry Honor Book, The Undefeated won the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book for children. The book was illustrated by Kadir Nelson and is an ode to great black Americans. Nelson also received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book Award.
Caldecott Honor Books are Bear Came Along, illustrated by LeUyen Pham and written by Richard T. Morris; Double Bass Blues, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez and written by Andrea J. Loney; and Going Down Home with Daddy, illustrated by Daniel Minter and written by Kelly Starling Lyons.
Coretta Scott King Book Awards
These awards recognize both African-American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults.
Besides Craft and Nelson, honorees are Alicia D. Williams as the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe author award winner for new talent for Genesis Begins Again, and April Harrison as the Steptoe illustrator award winner for new talent for What Is Given from the Heart.
Michael L. Printz Award
A.S. King received the Printz Award, given for excellence in literature written for young adults, for the novel Dig. Dig is described as “a surreal and searing dive into the tangled secrets of a wealthy white family in suburban Pennsylvania and the terrible cost the family’s children pay to maintain the family name.”
Four Printz Honor Books also were named: The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi, translated by Cathy Hirano; Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell; Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir by Nikki Grimes; and Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean.
The Sibert Award, given for the most distinguished informational book for children, went to Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story, written in verse by Kevin Noble Maillard and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. It is described as as “an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family.”
Sibert Honor books are All in a Drop: How Antony van Leeuwenhoek Discovered an Invisible World, written by Lori Alexander and illustrated by Vivien Mildenberger; This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy; Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir by Nikki Grime; and Hey, Water! written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis.
A complete list of all of the awards given to books and other kinds of media is available from the American Library Association at this link.