Like the Academy Awards, but for Children's Librarians
At the beginning of each year the American Library Association honors outstanding books and materials for children and teens. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the ALA Youth Media Awards guide parents, educators, librarians, and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts, the awards encourage original and creative work in the field of children’s and young adult literature and media.
The 2018 Youth Media Award announcements took place at the Colorado Convention Center on Monday, February 12, at 8:00 AM, Mountain Time (that is 7:00 AM, Pacific Time, for those of us in California).
Newbery Medal and Honor Books
The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
2018 Medal Winner:
Filipino folklore and real life converge at the bottom of a well. Even while following signs and portents, the characters are the definition of creative agency. Masterfully told through shifting points of view, this modern quest tale shimmers with humor and authentic emotion.
2018 Honor Books:
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James
A boy walks into a barbershop; a prince walks out. Through lyrical free verse, Derrick Barnes’joyous paean celebrates the universal, transformative, confidence-building experience of a great haircut.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Terse, sharp verse depicts a desperate teenager seeking to avenge the shooting death of his brother. Gun tucked into his waistband, he is shocked by the appearance of childhood friends and relatives on a chilling sixty-second elevator ride. Visceral language and raw emotion result in a powerful novel of grief and vengeance.
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
“I am learning to speak. To give myself a way out. A way in.” Jade’s mixed media collages evolve as she finds her voice. Through artful and poetic language, Watson explores themes of race, class, gender and body image in this dynamic journey.
Caldecott Medal and Honor Books
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
(Please see our Mock Caldecott Medal blog post to learn more about how this award is chosen!)
2018 Medal Winner:
In this spare, nearly wordless picture book, a girl and a wolf cub each get lost in the snow and rescue each other. Cordell uses pen and ink and watercolor wash to capture the frenzied snowfall and the brave girl’s frantic, frightful journey. Fairy tale elements and a strong sense of color and geometry offer an engrossing, emotionally charged story.
2018 Honor Books:
Big Cat, little cat by Elisha Cooper
Simple and joyful domestic routines underscore the deeply entwined lives of two feline companions and the impact of loss on one. Cooper uses expressive black-and-white line art with strategic, evocative washes of color to convey the reassuring circular nature of life.
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut illustrated by Gordon C. James and written by Derrick Barnes
Sometimes a haircut is so much more than just a haircut. Sometimes a haircut makes you royalty. A love-letter to the contemporary barbershop experience and the empowerment it affords, Gordon C. James’s impressionistic oil paintings capture every bit of the bravado, swagger, and joy of this African-American institution.
A Different Pond illustrated by Thi Bui, written by Bao Phi
An early morning fishing trip between father and son provides food for that evening’s dinner and time to reflect on a similar pond in Vietnam. Bui’s evocative thick black ink brushstrokes with graphic novel panels create a cinematic experience, powerfully capturing facial expressions, mood, and quiet moments. Based on the experiences of both the Vietnamese American illustrator and author, this story depicts the immigrant experience as well as universal themes of family, love, and survival.
Grand Canyon by Jason Chin
An Asian-American father and daughter explore this national park, from the Inner Gorge to the South Rim. Chin uses watercolor, gouache and pen and ink to render sweeping landscapes, culminating in an epic gatefold panorama. Diagrams, die-cuts and field-guide inspired illustrations of animals, plants and fossils reveal the multiple layers and eons of formation.
Printz Award and Honor Books
The Michael L. Printz Award is named for a Topeka, Kansas school librarian who was a long-time active member of the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association. It is awarded annually to a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.
2018 Award Winner:
California native Marin, devastated by grief and questioning her reality, plans to spend her winter break in an empty dorm in upstate New York. But now her best friend, Mabel, is on her way to visit, and Marin must confront the loneliness that is threatening to take over her heart.
2018 Honor Books:
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
William Holloman is on the most haunting elevator ride of his life. He’s been urged to break “the rules” he’s grown up with. (No crying. No snitching. Get revenge.) Reynolds’ first novel in verse is a provocative, compelling, and essential love letter to young people in detention centers.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Traumatized after witnessing the violent death of a friend, Starr searches for her voice as she moves between her black neighborhood and predominately white private school. This emotional novel, inspired by volatile race relations in America today, explores the importance of family, friendship, identity, and the courage to seek justice.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
In a world of gods, monsters, and nightmares, orphan librarian Lazlo and goddess Sarai find each other in their dreams. Against the backdrop of a city reeling after a brutal war, this lushly built, extravagantly written tale explores vengeance, love, and mercy.
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman
Inspired by the more than 700 letters the van Gogh brothers wrote to each other, Heiligman uncovers fresh insights into Vincent’s development as an artist and his relationship with the brother who supported him emotionally and financially throughout his life.
Explore More Awards
- The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18.
- The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.
- The Mildred L. Batchelder Award is awarded to the most outstanding book originally published in a foreign language in a foreign country, and subsequently translated into English and published in the United States.
- The Odyssey Award is given to the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States.
- The Pura Belpré Award is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.
- The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.
- The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is awarded annually to the authors and illustrators of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year.
- The Stonewall Book Award - Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award is given annually to English-language works of exceptional merit for children or teens relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.
- The William C. Morris YA Debut Award honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.
- The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18) during a Nov. 1 – Oct. 31 publishing year.
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