2019 Morris Award finalists announced

For Immediate Release
Tue, 12/11/2018


Nichole O'Connor

Program Officer for Events & Conferences




CHICAGO — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), selected five books as finalists for the 2019 William C. Morris Award, which honors the year’s best books written for young adults by a previously unpublished author.

YALSA will name the 2019 award winner at the Youth Media Awards at 8 a.m. on January 28 in Seattle during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting.

The 2019 finalists are:

  • “Blood Water Paint” written by Joy McCullough, published by Dutton Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House;
  • “Check, Please!: #Hockey” written and illustrated by Ngozi Ukazu, published by First Second, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group;
  • “Children of Blood and Bone” written by Tomi Adeyemi, published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group;
  • “Darius the Great Is Not Okay “written by Adib Khorram, published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House;
  • “What the Night Sings” written and illustrated by Vesper Stamper, published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House.

“The 2019 Morris Committee was thrilled to read so many impressive debut novels this year. The quality of this year’s titles made choosing only five finalists a challenge,” said Charli Osborne, chair of the 2019 William C. Morris Award committee. “Our titles include the first graphic novel chosen as a Morris finalist, a contemporary journey of self-discovery, a historical fiction novel in verse, a gorgeously illustrated story of strength and liberation, and a fantasy novel that’s already been optioned as a major motion picture. All of the finalists show a depth of characterization and sheer storytelling. These books not only captivated us, they swallowed us whole and made us feel.”

The Morris Award is named after William C. Morris, an influential innovator in the publishing world and an advocate for marketing books for children and young adults. William “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.

More information on the finalists and the award can be found on the Morris Award page. Publishers and library staff can purchase finalist seals to place on the finalist titles at www.ala.org/awardsgrants/seals. For more information on the Morris Award or YALSA’s other young adult literature awards, please visit www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists.

YALSA will host a reception honoring the finalists and the winner, as well as YALSA’s Nonfiction Award finalists and winner, at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting on January 28 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Sheraton Seattle in the Metropolitan Ballroom. See a full list of YALSA’s events and programs at the Midwinter Meeting on YALSA’s Midwinter wiki page.

Members of the 2019 William C. Morris Award Committee are: Chair Charli Osborne, Southfield Public Library, Southfield, MI; Alicia Abdul, Albany High School, Albany, NY; Kim Dare, Herndon High School, Herndon, VA; Audrey Hopkins, Dallas Public Library, Oak Lawn Branch, Dallas, TX; Melanie Lyttle, Madison Public Library, Madison, Ohio. Joel Shoemaker, Illinois Prairie District Public Library, Metamora, IL Sarah Sullivan, Nevins Memorial Library, Methuen, MA; Isaiah West, Alexandria Library, Alexandria, VA; Bobbie Xuereb, MiraCosta College, San Diego, CA; Vicki Morris Emery, Administrative Assistant, Lake Braddock Secondary School, Fairfax Station, VA; and Julia Smith, Booklist Consultant, Chicago, IL.

The mission of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to www.ala.org/yalsa, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail: yalsa@ala.org.