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Exploring Youth Book Awards

by on February 23, 2017

I had the honor of attending the Youth Media Awards announcements at the ALA Midwinter Conference in Atlanta, GA in January. The excitement was overflowing as people started to arrive long before the doors opened. After the seats filled up, the announcements swiftly began. There was a lot of cheering, clapping, some gasps, and history made with the unmatched record wins for March: Book Three the graphic novel written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin with art by Nate Powell.

After I left Atlanta, I was thinking about the many other wonderful awards that are given out yearly (or every few years) by several affiliates of ALA that might not receive the same fanfare. The Awards section of the YA & Kids Professional Tools resource offers a selected list of these youth awards that can help your Readers’ Advisory and reference sessions.

The American Indian Library Association announces winners of their American Indian Youth Literature Award every two years and “the awards were established as a way to identify and honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians. Books selected to receive the award will present American Indians in the fullness of their humanity in the present and past contexts.” 1 They even offer a PDF brochure with their latest winners to share with patrons and fellow librarians.

The “goal of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature is to honor and recognize individual work about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, based on literary and artistic merit.”2 Given out annually by the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, the awards cover not only three categories of youth literature but also Adult fiction/Graphic Novels and Adult nonfiction.

REFORMA: The National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, co-sponsors an annual award with ALSC. “The Pura Belpré Award is presented 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.”3 Their book awards honor both writing and illustration for children and teens.

Check out the Awards section for further resources and recommendations.


1 http://ailanet.org/activities/american-indian-youth-literature-award/

2 http://www.apalaweb.org/awards/literature-awards/

3 http://www.reforma.org/content.asp?pl=7&contentid=7

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