And the Award Goes To…

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 2019 Youth Media Award announcements took place at the Washington State Convention Center on Monday, January 28, 2019 at 8:00 AM, Pacific Time.

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.

2019 Medal Winner:

Merci Suárez Changes Gears changes gears book cover

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Merci Suárez changes gears begins the sixth grade and knows things will change, but she did not count on her grandfather acting strangely, not fitting in at her private school, and dealing with Edna Santos' jealousy.

2019 Honor Books:

The Night Diary book cover
The Nigh Diary by Veera Hiranandani
Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.

The Book of Boy book cover
The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock and illustrated by Ian Schoenherr
In 1350, a boy with a large hump on his back becomes the servant of a shadowy pilgrim on his way to Rome, who pulls the boy into a dangerous expedition across Europe to gather the seven precious relics of Saint Peter.

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!)

2019 Medal Winner:

Hello Lighthouse book cover

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

Explores the life of one lighthouse as it beams its message out to sea through shifting seasons, changeable weather, and the tenure of its final keeper.

2019 Honor Books:

Alma and How She Got Her Name book cover
Alma and How She Got Her Name, illustrated and written by Juana Martinez-Neal
When Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela asks her father why she has so many names, she hears the story of her name and learns about her grandparents.

Big Mooncake for Little Star book cover
Big Mooncake for Little Star, illustrated and written by Grace Lin
Reimagines the cycles of the moon as a mother bakes a Big Moon Cookie and, despite Mama's request to wait, Little Star begins nibbling at it every night.
The Rough Patch book cover
The Rough Patch, illustrated and written by Brian Lies

Farmer Evan and his dog do everything together and, especially, in the garden but when his dog passes away Evan lets his garden fill with weeds until a pumpkin vine brings new hope.

Thank You, Omu! book cover

Thank you, Omu!, illustrated and written by Oge Mora
When the aroma of Omu's homemade stew fills the air, her neighbors arrive, one by one, for a taste until all is gone except for her generous spirit.

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.

2019 Award Winner:

The Poet X book cover

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Harlem. Ever since her body grew into curves, Xiomara Batista has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. She pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers-- especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. Mami is determined to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, and Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. When she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she can't stop thinking about performing her poems.

2019 Honor Books:

Damsel book cover
Damsel by Elana K. Arnold
Waking up in the arms of Prince Emory, Ama has no memory of him rescuing her from a dragon's lair, but she soon discovers there is more to the legend of dragons and damsels than anyone knows and she is still in great danger.
A Heart in a Body in the World book cover
A Heart In A Body In The World by Deb Caletti
Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and backed by her brother and friends, Annabelle, eighteen, runs from Seattle to Washington, D.C., becoming a reluctant activist as people connect her journey to her recent trauma.
I, Claudia book cover
I, Claudia by Mary McCoy
Over the course of her high school years, awkward Claudia McCarthy finds herself unwittingly drawn into the dark side of her school's student government, with dire consequences.

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 American Indian Youth Literature Award honors the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians. (Presented every two years.)
  • The Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature honors individual work about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, based on literary and artistic merit.
  • 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 Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish 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.