The American Library Association has announced the winners of its most prestigious awards for children’s and young adult literature.
The books range from a story about a Latinx middle-school girl dealing with her grandfather’s failing memory issues to an illustrated book about lighthouse keepers to a non-fiction book for young adults about the Chicago Race Riot of 1919. Here is a list of many of the winners and honor books.
John Newbery Medal
This annual award is for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature and goes to Merci Suárez Changes Gears, by Meg Medina. The novel follows 11-year-old Merci as she deals with middle-school drama and her beloved grandfather’s forgetfulness and changing personality. The book drew upon the author’s childhood love of biking as well as memories of her Cuban-American grandparents.
Newberry honor books are The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani and The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.
Randolph Caldecott Medal
This award is for the most distinguished American picture book for children and goes to Hello Lighthouse, illustrated and written by Sophie Blackall. The book gives readers a glimpse into the life and work of a lighthouse keeper and his family through the changing seasons. It is the author’s second Caldecott Medal.
Caldecott honor books are Alma and How She Got Her Name, illustrated and written by Juana Martinez-Neal; A Big Mooncake for Little Star, illustrated and written by Grace Lin; The Rough Patch, illustrated and written by Brian Lies; and Thank You, Omu!, illustrated and written by Oge Mora.
Coretta Scott King Book Awards
These books recognize both African-American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults.
The King Author Book Award went to A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919, written by Claire Hartfield. The book tells the story of the race riot that broke out after an African-American swimmer crossed an “invisible line” at a Lake Michigan beach and was stoned by white swimmers and drowned. Honor books are Finding Langston, written by Lesa Cline-Ransome; The Parker Inheritance, written by Varian Johnson; and The Season of Styx Malone, written by Kekla Magoon.
The King Illustrator Book Award went to The Stuff of Stars, illustrated by Laura Freeman and written by Marion Dane Bauer. Its vivid pages begin with how Big Bang started the universe out of a void and describe in poetry how all of matter becomes the singularities that become each one of us. Illustrator honor books are Hidden Figures, illustrated by Laura Freeman and written by Margot Lee Shetterly; Let the Children March, illustrated by Frank Morrison and written by Monica Clark-Robinson; and Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and written by Alice Faye Duncan.
Other King award winners: Monday’s Not Coming, written by Tiffany D. Jackson, received the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award. The Caldecott honor book Thank You, Omu!, illustrated and written by Oge Mora, won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award.
Michael L. Printz Award
This award, for excellence in literature written for young adults, went to The Poet X, written by Elizabeth Acevedo. The book describes how a young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. The Poet X earlier received the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and Acevedo also was given the Pura Belpré Author Award for best book by a Latinx author.
Young Adult Library Services Association Award
This award is given for excellence in nonfiction for young adults and went to The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees, written and illustrated by Don Brown. The book is a graphic novel about the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, exposing the harsh realities of living in, and trying to escape, a war zone.
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.