American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards 2015

In the early hours of this morning, the American Library Association announced their Youth Media Awards recipients. It was a  banner year for the awards as the winners exemplified the diversity of American youth literature with titles featuring cultural diversity, disability, LGBT themes and multiple formats.

Congratulations to the selection panels for each of these awards!

The Michael L. Printz Award

Acknowledging excellence in literature for young adults, the Printz is ‘The Big One’.

The winner is Jandy Nelson for critical darling, I’ll Give You The Sun (released in June by Walker Books.)


Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world. This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

This year, four titles were selected as Honor Books:

  • And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard,
  • The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley,
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith and
  • This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (graphic novel)


The William C. Morris Award

This award honours a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and often attracts the most conversation.

gabiGabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero is the 2015 winner:

July 24
My mother named me Gabriella, after my grandmother who, coincidentally, didn’t want to meet me when I was born because my mother was unmarried, and therefore living in sin. My mom has told me the story many, many, MANY, times of how, when she confessed to my grandmother that she was pregnant with me, her mother beat her. BEAT HER! She was twenty-five. That story is the basis of my sexual education and has reiterated why it’s important to wait until you’re married to give it up. So now, every time I go out with a guy, my mom says, “Ojos abiertos, piernas cerradas.” Eyes open, legs closed. That’s as far as the birds and the bees talk has gone. And I don’t mind it. I don’t necessarily agree with that whole wait until you’re married crap, though. I mean, this is America and the 21st century; not Mexico one hundred years ago. But, of course, I can’t tell my mom that because she will think I’m bad. Or worse: trying to be White.

Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: Cindy’s pregnancy, Sebastian’s coming out, the cute boys, her father’s meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.

The finalists:

  • The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley
  • The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E.K. Johnston
  • The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos
  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton


The Schneider Family Book Award

Girls Like Us by Gail Giles was announced as the winner of the teen award for writing a book ‘that embod[ies] an artistic expression of the disability experience‘:

We understand stuff. We just learn it slow. And most of what we understand is that people what ain’t Speddies think we too stupid to get out our own way. And that makes me mad. 

Quincy and Biddy are both graduates of their high school’s special ed program, but they couldn’t be more different: suspicious Quincy faces the world with her fists up, while gentle Biddy is frightened to step outside her front door. When they’re thrown together as roommates in their first “real world” apartment, it initially seems to be an uneasy fit. But as Biddy’s past resurfaces and Quincy faces a harrowing experience that no one should have to go through alone, the two of them realize that they might have more in common than they thought — and more important, that they might be able to help each other move forward. Candlewick


Margaret A. Edwards Award 

This award represents lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Previous recipients include; Laurie Halse Anderson, Markus Zusak, Judy Blume and S.E. Hinton.

This year’s recipient is Sharon M. Draper.

Sharon M. Draper is the recipient of the 2015 Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens for “Tears of a Tiger”; “Forged by Fire”; “Darkness Before Dawn”; “The Battle of Jericho”; “November Blues” and “Copper Sun.”  YALSA


The Stonewall Book Award 

This award recognises books that demonstrate exceptional merit relating to the LGBT experience. Awarded by the ALA since 1971, the Stonewall is the most enduring literary award for LGBTQI themes.

The Stonewall Honor Book for Children’s and Young Adult Literature are:

  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin  (non-fiction)
  • I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson (fiction)
  • Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino &Isabelle Malenfant (picture book)


Nonfiction for Young Adults

YALSA awarded this prize to teen author, Maya Van Wagenen for her critically and commercial hit,   Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek.

Finalists include:

  • Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw,
  • The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming
  • Ida M. Tarbell: The Women Who Changed Big Business – And Won! by Emily Arnold McCully
  • The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Muting, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin


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