Michael L. Printz Award

About the Michael L. Printz Award
The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.

Who Was Mike Printz?

When the Newbery Award began , people probably asked, "Who is John Newbery?" After 75 years of Newbery Awards, "everyone knows the name." So that everyone will recognize the name of this new award as quickly as possible, some background information may prove helpful. "Mike," as he was known to his friends and colleagues, was a school librarian at Topeka West (KS) High School for many years and retired from teaching in 1994. Until his untimely death in 1996, he worked as a marketing consultant for Econo-Clad Books.

Mike was active in YALSA and served on the Best Books for Young Adults Committee and the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee. He had a passion for books and reading. Finding the right book for the right student at the right time was not just a slogan to Mike-he lived it. He also appreciated the authors who wrote books for young adults and demonstrated this by initiating an author-in-residence program at his high school. One of those authors was Chris Crutcher, who became a close friend. Chris recalls the quiet times he spent with Mike talking with him about his vision of young adult literature and its place in kid's lives and says, "The ache I feel [upon hearing of Mike's death] is my wish that he could have accepted for himself what he so readily gave to us, readers and writers alike; a place to stand in the circle of the joy and heartache that is storytelling."

YALSA has created a place, a circle if you will, for Mike to stand and be recognized- that place is the Michael L.Printz Award.

YALSA published A Printz of a Man, a volume of articles written by Mike's friends and colleagues in 1997. Copies were given to the participants at the YALSA preconference, Popular Reading, which was dedicated to Mike, in San Francisco. It is now available on this web site for the reader's information and enjoyment.

Administered by:

Young Adult Library Services Association logo

2018 Winner(s)

We Are Okay

written by Nina LaCour, published by Dutton Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers

California native Marin, devastated by grief and questioning her reality, plans to spend her winter break in an empty dorm in upstate New York. But now her best friend, Mabel, is on her way to visit, and Marin must confront the loneliness that is threatening to take over her heart.


2018 Honor(s)

The Hate U Give

written by Angie Thomas and published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Traumatized after witnessing the violent death of a friend, Starr searches for her voice as she moves between her black neighborhood and predominately white private school. This emotional novel, inspired by volatile race relations in America today, explores the importance of family, friendship, identity, and the courage to seek justice.


Long Way Down

by Jason Reynolds and published by Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

William Holloman is on the most haunting elevator ride of his life. He’s been urged to break “the rules” he’s grown up with. (No crying. No snitching. Get revenge.) Reynolds’ first novel in verse is a provocative, compelling, and essential love letter to young people in detention centers.


Strange the Dreamer

written by Laini Taylor and published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, a division of Hachette Book Group

In a world of gods, monsters, and nightmares, orphan librarian Lazlo and goddess Sarai find each other in their dreams. Against the backdrop of a city reeling after a brutal war, this lushly built, extravagantly written tale explores vengeance, love, and mercy.


Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers

written by Deborah Heiligman and published by Godwin Books/Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Inspired by the more than 700 letters the Van Gogh brothers wrote to each other, Heiligman uncovers fresh insights into Vincent’s development as an artist and his relationship with the brother who supported him emotionally and financially throughout his life.