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Youth Media Awards- What are they?

Jenn, our children's librarian

On Monday the American Library Association (ALA) announced all of the Youth Media Awards (or YMAs). I’m sure you’ve heard of some of them, like the Caldecott for illustrations and the Newbery for writing. But, there are more than a dozen awards given out by multiple divisions within ALA.

This day can be compared to the Academy Awards, the excitement is real and lives are changed. If your book wins a major award it is almost guaranteed to never go out of print. The authors and illustrators who win become rock stars in the publishing and library worlds. Within an hour of the winners being announced the books were being checked of the library and requests were being placed.

Every year there is at least one, “Oh” moment when the winners are announced and this year there were a few. Most of the extra excitement surrounded one book: March Book 3 by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin.   Cover for march Book 3 by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin showing a road with people walking The book won the Coretta Scott King Author Award (recognizing an African-American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults), the Michael L. Printz Award (for excellence in literature written for young adults), the Robert F. Sibert Award (for most distinguished informational book for children), and the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. WOW, was how I felt. A book has never been honored so much in one given year. There are usually books that are honored for more than one award, but John Lewis and Andrew Aydin have to be beaming with pride.

I enjoyed cheering for the winners and discovering books that I overlooked which I will add to the collection. I pay particular attention to the awards for children’s books and my favorites are the Newbery and the Schneider Family Book Award (for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience). Now I place seals on the winners, add more copies to the collection, purchase the books that we don’t own, and read the ones I haven’t read yet.

For a list of all the winners click here.

Cover for Radiant Child by Jean-Michel Basquat showing a drawing of a young man.

Winner of the Caldecott Award

Cover for We are Growing by Laurie Keller showing 7 cartoon blades of grass

Winner of the Geisel Award for beginning readers

Cover of The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill young girl gazing at a full moon with origami birds flying around

Winner of the Newbery Award