Children's and Young Adult Literature Awards and Lists
ALA Notable Books for Children
Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children's books. According to the Notables Criteria, "notable" is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children's books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children's interests in exemplary ways.
This award, sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust, honors ten adult books with special appeal to teens. The Alex committee also publishes its official nomination list after the awards announcement.
American Indian Youth Literature Awards
The American Indian Library Association (AILA) recognizes excellence in books by and about American Indians. By identifying and honoring outstanding writing and illustrations in the field of children’s literature, AILA encourages authors, illustrators, editors, publishers and tribal entities to create materials that present Native Americans in the fullness of their humanity in present and past contexts.
The Américas Award is given in recognition of U.S. works of fiction, poetry, folklore, or selected non-fiction (from picture books to works for young adults) published in the previous year in English or Spanish that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States. By combining both and linking the Americas, the award reaches beyond geographic borders, as well as multicultural-international boundaries, focusing instead upon cultural heritages within the hemisphere. The award is sponsored by the national Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP).
Arab American Book Award
Awarded by the Arab American National Museum, the Arab American Book Award encourages the publication and excellence of books that preserve and advance understanding, knowledge, and resources of Arab Americans.
Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature
The Asian/Pacific Librarian Association honors and recognizes individual work about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, based on literary and artistic merit through this award.
The Batchelder Award is a citation awarded to an American publisher for a children's book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English and published in the United States.
Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards
First presented in 1967 and customarily announced in June, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards are among the most prestigious honors in the field of children’s and young adult literature. Winners are selected in three categories: Picture Book, Fiction and Poetry, and Nonfiction. Two Honor Books may be named in each category. On occasion, a book will receive a special citation for its high quality and overall creative excellence. The winning titles must be published in the United States but they may be written or illustrated by citizens of any country. The awards are chosen by an independent panel of three judges who are annually appointed by the Editor of the Horn Book.
Buckeye Children’s & Teen Book Award
The Buckeye Children’s and Teen Book Award program is designed to encourage students in Ohio to read literature critically, to promote teacher and librarian involvement in young adult literature programs, and to commend authors of such literature. The Teen category was added to the existing Buckeye Children’s Book Award in 2003.
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
Carter G. Woodson Awards
National Council for the Social Studies established the Carter G. Woodson Book Awards for the most distinguished social science books appropriate for young readers that depict ethnicity in the United States. First presented in 1974, this award is intended to “encourage the writing, publishing, and dissemination of outstanding social studies books for young readers that treat topics related to ethnic minorities and race relations sensitively and accurately.” Books relating to ethnic minorities and the authors of such books rarely receive the recognition they merit from professional organizations. By sponsoring the Carter G. Woodson Awards, the National Council for the Social Studies gives wide recognition to and directly stimulates authors and publishers.
First presented in 1949, the Christopher Awards were established by Christopher founder Father James Keller to salute media that “affirm the highest values of the human spirit.” Their goal is to encourage men, women and children to pursue excellence in creative arenas that have the potential to influence a mass audience positively. Award winners encourage audiences to see the better side of human nature and motivate artists and the general public to use their best instincts on behalf of others.
Claudia Lewis Awards
This award is given for the best poetry book of the year for young readers. A longtime member of the Committee, Claudia Lewis was an esteemed poet, author, and teacher of children's literature. She served on the faculty at Bank Street College of Education.
Coretta Scott King Awards
Given to African American authors and illustrator for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions, the Coretta Scott King Book Award titles promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream of a pluralistic society. The award is designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.
Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award
Awarded by the Council for Exceptions Children’s Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, the Dolly Gray award recognizes authors, illustrators, and publishers of high quality literature that appropriately portrays individuals with developmental disabilities.
Established in 1988, the award honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. The award is administered by YALSA and sponsored by the School Library Journal. 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.
Flora Stieglitz Straus Awards
This award is given for a nonfiction book that serves as an inspiration to young readers. Flora Stieglitz Straus chaired the Children's Book Committee for over sixty years.
The Giverny Award is an annual award established in 1998 by Dr. Jim Wandersee and Dr. Eisabeth E. Schussler for the 15º Laboratory, currently based at Louisiana State University. It is awarded to the author and to the illustrator of a children's science picture book written in the English language and published within five years of the award date. The book must teach its young reader at least one important scientific principle, or encourage the reader toward specific science-related pursuits or inquiry.
Golden Kite Awards
Presented by the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators the Golden Kite Awards, given annually to recognize excellence in children’s literature, grant cash prizes of $2,500 to author and illustrator winners in four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Book Text, and Picture Book Illustration. Authors and illustrators will also receive an expense-paid trip to Los Angeles to attend the award ceremony at the Golden Kite Luncheon at SCBWI’s Summer Conference in August. These are the only children’s literary award judged by a jury of peers.
The Gryphon Award of $1,000 is given annually in recognition of an English language work of fiction or non-fiction for which the primary audience is children in Kindergarten through Grade 4. The title chosen best exemplifies those qualities that successfully bridge the gap in difficulty between books for reading aloud to children and books for practiced readers.
Jane Addams’ Children’s Book Awards
The Jane Addams Children's Book Awards are given annually to the children's books published the preceding year that effectively promote the cause of peace, social justice, world community, and the equality of the sexes and all races as well as meeting conventional standards for excellence.
John Steptoe New Talent Award
Awarded by the Coretta Scott King Task Force, the John Steptoe New Talent Award is intended to affirm new talent and to offer visibility to excellence in writing and/or illustration which otherwise might be formally unacknowledged within a given year within the structure of the two awards given annually by the Coretta Scott King Task Force.
Josette Frank Awards
This award is given each year to honor a book or books of outstanding literary merit in which children or young people deal in a positive and realistic way with difficulties in their world and grow emotionally and morally. In addition to being a well-known author of articles about children's books, Josette Frank was the first editor of the Children's Book Committee publications and remained a member for over sixty years. The prize to the author of the award books has been generously provided by The Florence L. Miller Memorial Fund.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Awards
The Wilder Medal honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.
Mathical Book Award
The Mathical Book Prize cultivates a love of mathematics in the everyday world. Each year’s winners and honor books join a selective and ever-growing list of new and previously published fiction and non-fiction titles for kids of all ages.
Middle East Book Awards
Awarded by the Middle East Outreach Council, the Middle East Book Awards recognize quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of the Middle East and its component societies and cultures.
The William C. Morris YA Debut Award, first awarded in 2009, honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature. 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.
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature (MFA)
This award honors books for younger readers (from “Young Adults” to picture books for beginning readers), in the tradition of The Hobbit or The Chronicles of Narnia.
National Book Awards
The Awards are given to recognize achievements in four genres: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature.
The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
Notable Books for a Global Society
Awarded by the Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association, the Notable Books for a Global Society honors books that enhance student understanding of people and cultures throughout the world.
Orbis Pictus Awards
The Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children was established as an annual award for promoting and recognizing excellence in the writing of nonfiction for children. The name Orbis Pictus, commemorates the work of Johannes Amos Comenius, Orbis Pictus—The World in Pictures (1657), considered to be the first book actually planned for children.
Outstanding International Book List
The United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBYP) selects an annual list of international books that are deemed most outstanding of those published during the calendar year.
Outstanding Science Trade Book Awards
The books that appear in these lists were selected as outstanding children's science trade books. They were selected by a book review panel appointed by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and assembled in cooperation with the Children’s Book Council (CBC). NSTA and CBC have cooperated on this bibliographic project since 1973.
The Children's Literature Association, an organization of teachers, scholars, librarians, editors, writers, illustrators, and parents interested in encouraging the serious study of children's literature, created the Phoenix Award as an outgrowth of the Association's Touchstones Committee. The award, given to a book originally published in the English language, is intended to recognize books of high literary merit. The Phoenix Award is named after the fabled bird who rose from its ashes with renewed life and beauty. Phoenix books also rise from the ashes of neglect and obscurity and once again touch the imaginations and enrich the lives of those who read them.
The 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.
Pura Belpre Awards
The award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented annually 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.
Rainbow Books presents an annual bibliography of quality books with significant and authentic GLBTQ content, which are recommended for people from birth through eighteen years of age. Rainbow Books is a joint project of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table and the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association.
Schneider Family Book Award
A new addition to the American Library Association’s Media Youth Awards, the award is donated by Dr. Katherine Schneider, and honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. Three annual awards are presented for the best Teen, Middle School and Children’s Book. The American Library Association administers the Awards, and each recipient receives $5000 and a framed plaque. Winners are announced at the ALA Midwinter Meeting.
Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction
Established in 1982, the annual award of $5,000 goes to an author for a meritorious book published in the previous year for children or young adults. Scott O'Dell established this award to encourage other writers--particularly new authors--to focus on historical fiction. He hoped in this way to increase the interest of young readers in the historical background that has helped to shape their country and their world.
The Sibert Medal honors the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published during the preceding year.
Sid Fleischman Humor Awards
The Sid Fleischman Humor Award is an award for authors whose work exemplifies the excellence of writing in the genre of humor. The SCBWI established the award to honor humorous work, so often overlooked in children’s literature by other award committees.
South Asia Book Award
The South Asia Book Award, administered by the South Asia National Outreach Consortium, recognizes outstanding works of literature, from early childhood to secondary reading levels, which accurately and skillfully portray South Asia or South Asians in the diasporas.
Stonewall Book Awards
The Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award honors GLBT books for juvenile and young adult audiences. The award is sponsored by the ALA Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Round Table.
Sydney Taylor Awards
The Sydney Taylor Book Award is presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience. Presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) since 1968, the Award encourages the publication and widespread use of quality Judaic literature. Gold medals are presented in three categories: Younger Readers, Older Readers, and Teen Readers. Honor Books are awarded silver medals, and Notable Books are named in each category.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Awards
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal honors the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished contribution to the body of American children’s literature known as beginning reader books published in the United States during the preceding year.
Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award Winners
Texas State University College of Education developed the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award to honor authors and illustrators who create literature that depicts the Mexican American experience. The award was established in 1995 and was named in honor of Dr. Tomás Rivera, a distinguished alumnus of Texas State University.
The Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association prepares annual lists identifying the best titles within a category. What follows is a list of few of the lists:
- Best Fiction for Young Adults
- Best of the Best
- Best Non-Fiction for Young Adults
- Great Graphic Novels for Teens
- Reader’s Choice
- Teens' Top Ten