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Award Reading Challenge

by on March 8, 2013

As a teen librarian, I strive to read numerous books of a wide variety.  I do this for several reasons: to stay current with new books, to find great books to recommend, to chat with teens about books, and to present booktalks.  I also find myself discussing teen books with parents. They are quite interested in what their children are reading, and award-winners get them excited every time.

When the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) suggested a reading challenge for current award winners, I jumped at the chance.  On January 28, 2013, The Hub (YALSA’s blog), presented the challenge:  “Read/listen to 25 of the 83 titles on our list of eligible titles [pdf] to finish the challenge” (Kolderup, 2013).  The three basic rules are: read 25 award winning books between February 3 and June 22.  The format is important, so the books must be read or listened to in the format the award was given.  Anyone who doesn’t work for the American Library Association (ALA) qualifies to participate.  The awards include award and honor books from the:  Alex Award, Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, Margaret A. Edwards Award, Michael L. Printz Award, Odyssey Award, William C.  Morris Award, Schneider Family Book Award, and the Stonewall Book Award.  Additional books can also be selected from YALSA’s 2013 Top Ten Amazing Audiobooks, Best Fiction, Great Graphic Novels, Popular Paperbacks, and Quick Picks.  This brings the total number of qualifying books to 83 (Kolderup, 2013).  That is quite a list to choose from!

I started putting titles on hold and am gobbling them up.  All this reading has got me wondering, what do these awards mean? So, this and my next post will cover a summary of each of the awards.

 The Alex Award grabs teens’ attention as it is given to books that were written for adults, and have great teen appeal.  This award was first offered in 1998 and in 2002 became ALA issued.  It is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust; she was a groundbreaking teen librarian who inspired many librarians.  Another award that honors Margaret A. Edwards is the School Library Journal funded Edwards Award.  This award acknowledges when books and authors “have provided young adults with a window through which they can view their world and which help them to grow and to understand themselves and their role in society” (YALSA Board of Directors, 1996).

The Award for Excellence in Nonfiction is presented by YALSA and recognizes the best nonfiction book written for teens in the given year.  The Michael L. Printz Award only looks at the “literary merit” of teen fiction (The Michael L. Printz Award Policies and Procedures, 2013).  The Odyssey Award honors the best producer of an audiobook for children or teens.  Because it is for children or teens, it is “jointly given and administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and … YALSA” (Odyssey Award, 2013).  Both the Printz Award and the Odyssey Award are supported by Booklist.  The Morris Award was founded in 2009 and gives tribute to a debut author who writes for teens (Morris Award, 2013).

Watch for my next post where I’ll write about the awards I didn’t cover today and my thoughts about some of the books.


Alex Awards.  Young Adult Library Association.  February 17, 2013, http://www.ala.org/yalsa/alex-awards#current.

Kolderup, Gretchen, “YALSA’s 2013 Hub Reading Challenge Begins!,” The Hub (blog), February 3, 2013, http://www.yalsa.ala.org/thehub/2013/02/03/yalsas-2013-hub-reading-challenge-begins/.

Michael L.  Printz Award Policies and Procedures, The.  Young Adult Library Association.  February 17, 2013, http://www.ala.org/yalsa/booklistsawards/bookawards/printzaward/aboutprintz/criteria.

Morris Award.  Young Adult Library Association.  February 17, 2013.  http://www.ala.org/yalsa/morris-award.

Nonfiction Award.  Young Adult Library Association.  February 17, 2013, http://www.ala.org/yalsa/nonfiction-award#current.

Odyessy Award.  Young Adult Library Association.  February 17, 2013, http://www.ala.org/yalsa/odyssey-award#winners.

Printz Award.  Young Adult Library Association.  February 17, 2013, http://www.ala.org/yalsa/printz-award#current.

YALSA Board of Directors.  “Margaret A.  Edwards Award Policies and Procedures.” Young Adult Library Association.  1996.  February 17, 2013, http://www.ala.org/yalsa/bookawards/edwards/policies.