Each year the American Library Association (ALA) honors books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the ALA Youth Media Awards, including the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards, guide parents, educators, librarians, and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts, the awards encourage original and creative work in the field of children’s and young adult literature and media.
The 2021 Youth Media Award announcements took place on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, at 8 a.m. CT during the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits virtual conference. A recording of the 2021 YMA announcements is available at http://ala.unikron.com.
For a complete list of 2021 winners, please review our wrap press release: ALA announces 2021 Youth Media 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 and became an official ALA award in 2002.
The award is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust and administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association. Edwards pioneered young adult library services and worked 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 many librarians who serve young adults. The Alex Awards are named after Edwards, who was called “Alex” by her friends.
Coretta Scott King Awards
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.
The award is sponsored by ALA's Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT).
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2019! The award was founded in 1969 by Mabel McKissick and Glyndon Greer at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The first award was given to Lillie Patterson in 1970 for her biography, "Martin Luther King, Jr.: Man of Peace" (Garrard). In 1982, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards became an officially recognized ALA award. Learn more about the 50th anniversary celebration.
Three awards are given annually: Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award, and Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award.
Coretta Scott King - Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement Award
The Coretta Scott King - Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement is named in memory of beloved children’s author Virginia Hamilton. The annual award is presented in even years to an African American author, illustrator or author/illustrator for a body of his or her published books for children and/or young adults, and who has made a significant and lasting literary contribution. In odd years, the award is presented to a practitioner for substantial contributions through active engagement with youth using award-winning African American literature for children and/or young adults, via implementation of reading and reading related activities/programs.
The award is sponsored by ALA's Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT). A medal and check for $1,500 is presented to the winner during the Coretta Scott King Awards Breakfast at the ALA Annual Conference.
Virginia Hamilton was an award-winning author of children's books. She wrote more than 35 books throughout her career, including “M. C. Higgins, the Great,” for which she won the 1975 Newbery Medal. During her lifetime, Ms. Hamilton received numerous awards including the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book.
Children's Literature Legacy Award
Administered by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, the Children’s Literature Legacy Award 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 through books that demonstrate integrity and respect for all children’s lives and experiences. Each year the recipient is announced at the ALA Midwinter Meeting and is honored at the Annual Conference in June. The recipient receives an award citation and presents an acceptance speech. The award may be given posthumously.
Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award
Announced for the first time in 2019, the Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award is given to a digital media producer that has created distinguished digital media for an early learning audience. The award is administered annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
John Newbery Medal
The Newbery Medal 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.
On June 22, 1921, Frederic G. Melcher proposed the award to the American Library Association meeting of the Children's Librarians' Section and suggested that it be named for the eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. The idea was enthusiastically accepted by the children's librarians, and Melcher's official proposal was approved by the ALA Executive Board in 1922.
Margaret A. Edwards Award
The Margaret A. Edwards Award, established in 1988, honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.
The annual award is administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, and sponsored by School Library Journal magazine. 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. The Edwards award celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013.
Michael L. Printz Award
The Michael L. 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. The award is administered by YALSA and sponsored by Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association.
Mildred L. Batchelder Award
This award, established in Mildred L. Batchelder's honor in 1966, 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 foreign language in a foreign country, and subsequently translated into English and published in the United States. The award is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association.
The Odyssey Award is given to the producer of the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States. The award is jointly given and administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), divisions of ALA, and is sponsored by Booklist.
The story of the wanderings of Ulysses, as he returns to his kingdom of Ithaca after the Trojan War, are ascribed to the blind poet Homer who either wrote, or dictated, the epic poem called "The Odyssey." Whether this odyssey of Ulysses was based on one specific event, or many different ones, is argued by researchers today, though they all seem to agree that the poems comprising The Odyssey were originally told and retold in the oral tradition, hence the name for this award. The Odyssey Award allows us to return to the ancient roots of storytelling, while living in our modern world.
Pura Belpré 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. It is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an ALA affiliate.
Randolph Caldecott Medal
The Randolph 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. During 2013, children's picturebook lovers everywhere celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Award.
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal
The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is awarded annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year. The award is named in honor of Robert F. Sibert, the long-time President of Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc. of Jacksonville, Illinois. The Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, administers the award.
Schneider Family Book Award
The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. The award is donated by Dr. Katherine Schneider. 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.
Stonewall Book Award - Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award
Stonewall Book Award - Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award is given annually to English-language works of exceptional merit for children or teens relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience. The award is sponsored by the American Library Association's Rainbow Roundt Table.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is given annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year. The winner(s), recognized for their literary and artistic achievements that demonstrate creativity and imagination to engage children in reading, receives a bronze medal. Honor Book authors and illustrators receive certificates, which are presented at the ALA Annual Conference. The award was established in 2004 and first presented in 2006.
The award is named for the world-renowned children’s author, Theodor Geisel. "A person’s a person no matter how small," Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, would say. "Children want the same things we want: to laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and delighted." Brilliant, playful, and always respectful of children, Dr. Seuss charmed his way into the consciousness of four generations of youngsters and parents. In the process, he helped them to read. The Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, administers the award.
William C. Morris Award
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 is administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association.
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.
YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults
The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18) during a Nov. 1 – Oct. 31 publishing year. The award winner will be announced annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting Youth Media Awards, with a shortlist of up to five titles named the first week of December. The award is administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association.