Alex Awards

About the Alex Awards
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. The titles were selected by the YALSA Adult Books for Young Adults Task Force from the previous year's publishing and were part of the Adult Books for Young Adults Project, which explored the role of adult books in the reading lives of teenagers and was funded by the Margaret Alexander Edwards Trust. Edwards was a young adult specialist for many years at the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore. Her work is described in her book Fair Garden and the Swarm of Beasts, and over the years she has served as an inspiration to librarians who serve young adults. With the approval of the Trust, the task force appointed to develop and implement the project named the awards the Alex Awards after Edwards, who was called “Alex” by her friends.

The task force decided to select ten titles annually, and also decided to select a top ten list rather than a single title or a long list because of the popularity of the concept and because it parallels the Top Ten titles selected by the Best Books for Young Adults and Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers committees. The task force members also believed that selecting more than one book provided a greater variety of titles, whereas a longer list would be less selective than desired. A top ten list also allows for a more balanced list—fiction and nonfiction, as well as various genres. The task force also wanted to make diversity a priority in the lists.

In 2002 the Alex Awards were approved as an official ALA award, and the Task Force was superseded by the Alex Awards Committee.

The major sponsor of the Alex Awards continues to be the Margaret Alexander Edwards Trust. Booklist is also a sponsor.

Administered by:

Young Adult Library Services Association logo

2019 Selection(s)

The Black God’s Drums

by P. Djèlí Clark, published by, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, a division of Macmillan

The Book of Essie

by Meghan MacLean Weir, published by Knopf, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House


by Madeline Miller, published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group

Educated: A Memoir

by Tara Westover, published by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House

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


by Sam Graham-Felsen, published by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House

Home After Dark

by David Small, illustrated by the author, published by Liveright, an imprint of W.W. Norton & Company

How Long ’Til Black Future Month?

by N. K. Jemisin, published by Orbit, an imprint of Hachette Book Group

Lawn Boy

by Jonathan Evison, published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing

Spinning Silver

by Naomi Novik, published by Del Rey, a division of Penguin Random House