2019 YALSA Book Awards for Libraries
Many of these newly announced Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) award winning books & finalists will be available for circulation soon in our school library. Stay tuned!
The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The winning titles are selected from the previous year’s publishing. The Alex Awards were first given annually beginning in 1998 and became an official ALA award in 2002.
- “The Black God’s Drums,” By P. Djèlí Clark, Published by Tor.com, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, a division of Macmillan.”Creeper, a scrappy young teen, is done living on the streets of New Orleans. Her sights are set on securing passage aboard Captain Ann-Marie’s smuggler airship Midnight Robber, earning the captain’s trust using a secret about a kidnapped Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls the Black God’s Drums. But Creeper keeps another secret close to her heart–Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, who speaks inside her head and grants her divine powers. And Oya has her own priorities….”
- “The Book of Essie,” By Meghan MacLean Weir, Published by Knopf, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin RandomHouse.”Tells the story of the seventeen-year-old daughter of an evangelical preacher, star of the family’s hit reality show, and the secret pregnancy that threatens to blow her entire world apart”
- “Circe,” By Madeline Miller, Published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group.”Follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals”
- “Educated: A Memoir,” By Tara Westover, Published by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House.”A . . . memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University”
- “The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After,” By Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil, Published by Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House.”Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. It was 1994, and in 100 days more than 800,000 people would be murdered in Rwanda and millions more displaced. Clemantine and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, ran and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries searching for safety. They did not know whether their parents were alive. At age twelve, Clemantine and Claire were granted asylum in the United States. . . . This book captures the . . . costs and aftershocks of war: what is forever lost, what can be repaired, the fragility and importance of memory. A . . . story of dislocation [and] survival”.
- “Green,” By Sam Graham-Felsen, published by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House.”In 1992 Boston, Dave, a white boy at a mostly black middle school, befriends Marlon, a youth who lives in public housing and who confounds Dave’s assumptions about black culture before their bond is tested by girls, family secrets, and national violence.”
- “Home After Dark,” by David Small, illustrated by the author, published by Liveright, an imprint of W.W. Norton & Company.”Thirteen-year-old Russell Pruitt, abandoned by his mother, follows his father to dilapidated 1950s Marshfield, California where he is forced to fend for himself against a ring of malicious bullies.”
- “How Long ’Til Black Future Month?” By N. K. Jemisin, Published by Orbit, an imprint of Hachette Book Group.”A collection of stories about destruction, rebirth, and redemption.”
- “Lawn Boy,” By Jonathan Evison, Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing.”Mike Muñoz is a young Mexican American not too many years out of high school–and just fired from his latest gig as a lawn boy on a landscaping crew. Though he tries time and again to get his foot on the first rung of that ladder to success, he can’t seem to get a break. But then things start to change for Mike, and after a raucous, jarring, and challenging trip, he finds he can finally see the future and his place in it.”
- “Spinning Silver,” by Naomi Novik, published by Del Rey, a division of Penguin Random House.”A . . . retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale . . . Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father is not a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has lefthis family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem intercedes. Hardening her heart, she sets out to retrieve what is owed, and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. But when an ill-advised boast brings her to the attention of the cold creatures who haunt the wood, nothing will be the same again. For words have power, and the fate of a kingdom will be forever altered by the challenge she is issued . . .”
The Margaret A. Edwards Award, established in 1988, honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. The annual award is administered by YALSA and sponsored by School Library Journal magazine. It recognizes an author’s work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world. The Edwards award celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013.
M.T. Anderson wins 2019 Edwards Award for:
- “The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party”
- “The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves”
The William C. Morris YA Debut Award, first given in 2009, honors a book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature. The winner is announced annually at the ALA Youth Media Awards, with a shortlist of up to five titles named the first week of December. The award’s namesake is William C. Morris, an influential innovator in the publishing world and an advocate for marketing books for children and young adults. Bill Morris left an impressive mark on the field of children’s and young adult literature. He was beloved in the publishing field and the library profession for his generosity and marvelous enthusiasm for promoting literature for children and teens.
2019 Morris YA Debut Winner
Darius the Great Is Not Okay written by Adib Khorram, published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House
Marked by depression and high-school unpleasantness, Darius’ lackluster existence takes an unexpected turn when he travels to Iran to meet his grandparents for the first time. There, a meaningful friendship opens up new possibilities to Darius, whose sensitive soul-searching will resonate with many teens.
2019 Morris YA Debut Finalists
- Blood Water Paint written by Joy McCullough, published by Dutton Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House.In this novel, told primarily in verse, history’s Artemisia Gentileschi is developing into a brilliant artist when the teacher hired by her father sexually assaults her. Finding courage and strength in the stories of other women, Artemisia bravely accuses her attacker in court, an act unheard of in the 1600s.
- Check, Please!: #Hockey written and illustrated by Ngozi Ukazu, published by First Second, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.Using witty dialogue, a subtle gay romance, and lots of references to Bitty’s baking, Ukazu dives deep into bro-culture and demolishes toxic masculinity in this well-crafted graphic novel, which follows Eric “Bitty” Bittle and his hockey team through their years at Samwell University. Teens will be ready to devour the next installment of this unabashedly charming story.
- Children of Blood and Bone written by Tomi Adeyemi, published by Henry Holt Books, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.In Orïsha, diviners and maji were revered for their abilities, until tyrannical King Saran forced magic from the kingdom. When his daughter, Amari, flees the palace with an ancient relic, she meets 17-year-old diviner Zélie. Together, they undertake a quest to restore the kingdom’s magic, but Amari’s brother is determined to keep his father’s legacy intact.
- What the Night Sings written and illustrated by Vesper Stamper, published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House.This is a haunting, first-person account of Gerta, a musically talented teenager, who learns of her Jewish heritage only after being sent to Auschwitz and, later, Bergen-Belsen. Torn from her father, she clings to his viola and discovers her own voice and strength after the liberation. Lovely, lyrical prose and ethereal illustrations make Stamper’s unusual story sing.
YALSA’s 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. The winner is announced annually at the ALA Youth Media Awards, with a shortlist of up to five titles named the first week of December.
2019 Excellence in Nonfiction Winner
The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees written and illustrated by Don Brown and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Unwanted by their own country, unwanted by other countries, Syria’s refugees are between a rock and a hard place. Staying in Syria is far too dangerous – violence is constant and pervasive. Leaving Syria is fraught with peril – crossing the desert, falling victim to con artist smugglers, and fatal journeys by boat.
2019 Excellence in Nonfiction Finalists
- The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor written by Sonia Sotomayor and published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House. A portrait of determination and strength, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor describes her rise from a trying childhood in the South Bronx. Offering full credit to those who helped along the way, this beloved Justice offers gentle advice for young readers.
- Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam written by Elizabeth Partridge and published by Viking Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House. A chronological account of the Vietnam War as experienced at home and in the field, from a wide variety of perspectives. Stories of eight young soldiers are highlighted by means of personal interviews and thoughtfully chosen photographs.
- The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler written and illustrated by John Hendrix and published by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS. A true and gripping spy story, this graphic biography describes pivotal moments in the career of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose religious faith led him to devote his life to the German Resistance to Hitler. Visual metaphors in the powerful illustrations convey the looming danger.
- Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction written and illustrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka and published by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic. A raw graphic memoir, author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka depicts his complex upbringing – including a search for his father, difficult interactions with his heroin-addicted mother, and day-to-day life with his grandparents. Illustrations–ample in gray, burnt orange, and earth tones–conjure the feeling of vague memories.
The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. It is named for a Topeka, Kansas school librarian who was a long-time active member of the Young Adult Library Services Association. The award is sponsored by Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association. Learn more about Michael Printz via this videofrom cjonline.com
2019 Printz Award Winner
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Acevedo transforms everyday language into transcendent imagery in this novel-in-verse about Xiomara, who struggles to come into her own power amid her restrictive upbringing. Over the course of these lyrical, expressive, and honest poems, she grows from speaking with her fists to embracing her identity as the Poet X.
2019 Honor Books
Damsel by Elana K. Arnold. Balzer+Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Ama has no memory of what comes before she wakes in Prince Emory’s arms, but she’s no ordinary damsel in distress. Using the language of classic fairy tales to shatter familiar tropes, Arnold asks readers to confront the ways systemic violence against women pervades cultural touchstones.
A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti. Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. Struggling with PTSD in the wake of a terrifying tragedy, Annabelle decides to run across the country in a physically demanding journey that mirrors the circuitous path of her emotional recovery. Caletti insightfully explores trauma, loss, and guilt while illuminating the damaging expectations our culture places on teenage girls.
I, Claudia by Mary McCoy. Carolrhoda Lab®, an imprint of Carolrhoda Books®, a division of Lerner Publishing Group. In this political thriller set in a privileged high school, underestimated and unreliable narrator Claudia chronicles her rise to power. Sharp, biting humor pervades McCoy’s novel about vicious high school students embroiled in an explosive struggle for control.