Recommended Reading

ALA Library Fact Sheet 23

List of links to ALA's literature award winners and various notable reading lists for all ages, sorted by age group.

General Lists (across two or more age groups; includes lists for tweens) | For Children | For Young Adults/Teens | For Adults | Reference Books (for children, teens, and adults) | For Librarians, Readers' Advisory |

Shortcut URL for this page: http://www.ala.org/readinglists


This page is compiled by the ALA Library. Please send any needed corrections to Valerie Hawkins of ALA's Library.

For a list of upcoming event dates, see ALA's Celebration Weeks & Promotional Events 2014.

The ALA Online Store at http://www.alastore.ala.org supports the reading events and programs listed here - including Banned Books Week, Born to Read, National Library Week, Teen Read Week - with event posters and matching bookmarks, along with our popular celebrity READ posters and matching bookmarks, and with various other items, including banners, pens, and t-shirts. Librarians working with teens and young adults may be interested in the YALSA's Reads 4 Teens Recommended Reading for Teen Patrons—digital download available for purchase.

Some additional award details available on the Media Awards page of the ALA Professional Tips Wiki, compiled by the ALA Library. Also consult the list of books compiled at the free OCLC WorldCat.org web site, Books with more information on ALA's literary awards and reading lists.

More lists of books for various age groups can be found in the continuously updated collection of reading lists from various library, news, and reading sources online that the ALA Library has bookmarked at Delicious.com.


Lists and Awards Spotlight

The press releases announcing ALA's various 2014 awards can be found at Awards (Books & Media), including American Library Association announces 2014 youth media award winners.

Booklist Editors' Choice and Top of the List picks for 2013

Frequently Challenged Books. The ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) receives reports from libraries, schools, and the media on attempts to ban books in communities across the country. We compile lists of challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools. The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information. For more information on ALA's efforts to raise awareness of censorship and promote the freedom to read, please explore Banned Books Week. Explore the following pages for listings of banned/challenged books:

YALSA's Teen Book Finder. YALSA's (Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of ALA) Teen Book Finder is a free app to help teens, parents, librarians and library staff, educators, and anyone who loves YA literature access to the past three years' of YALSA's awards and lists on their smartphone.

The May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award. ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children, a division of ALA) established the lecture series in 1969 with sponsorship from Scott, Foresman and Company. The lectureship is now funded by the ALSC May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Endowment, and administered by ALSC. The lecturer, announced annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, may be an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature, of any country, who shall prepare a paper considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children’s literature. This paper is delivered as a lecture each April, and is subsequently published in Children and Libraries, the journal of ALSC.

Top Ten Most Re-Read Books List
List of popular novels, plays, and poetry compiled for a news report by committee of librarians and book review editors -- including Nancy Pearl.


General Lists (across two or more age groups; includes lists for tweens)

  • Alex Awards - YALSA announces 2014 Alex Awards - previous Alex Awards winners. ALA's Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) spotlights 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 award is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust and Booklist.
  • Amelia Bloomer Project - 2014 Amelia Bloomer List highlights feminist books for young readers. The list presents well-written and well-illustrated books with strong feminist messages that affirm positive roles for girls and women. The works are recommended for young people from birth through eighteen years of age.
  • Booklist Editor's Choice: Books for Youth, 2013. Committed to providing a broad selection of outstanding books that mixes popular appeal with literary excellence, the Books for Youth editorial staff has chosen the titles below as best-of-the-year nonfiction and fiction books and picture books (sorted into sections for older readers, middle readers, and young readers).
  • Building a Home Library. The ALA-Children's Book Council (CBC) Joint Committee, with cooperation from the Quicklists Consulting Committee of ALA's Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC, a division of ALA), created these four bibliographies, released August 2012, to provide guidance to parents, grandparents, and others interested in assembling a high-quality library for their children at home.
  • Día Book List. El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day) is celebrated every year on April 30. The Día book list brochure, provided in PDF format, includes suggestions for children's books available in several languages, resource websites, and literacy tips for parents in both English and Spanish. The list is divided into age groups: Ages Birth-4; Ages 4-8; Ages 8-12; and Ages 12-up.

  • Graphic Novels Reading List - 2013 update | Graphic novels - 2012 update of core collection. In 2011, the ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children, a division of ALA) Board of Directors directed the Quicklists Consulting Committee to create a list of core titles than can be used when starting or maintaining a children’s graphic novel collection. The intended audience is librarians selecting books for inclusion in public libraries serving elementary school-age children. We attempted to create a list of core titles that can be used when starting or maintaining a children's graphic novel collection. The list, both the 2013 and 2012 versions, is divided into age groups by school grade: Grades K-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8.
  • Lasting Connections, 2013 - Book Links magazine announces the annual annotated Lasting Connections list, considered an essential resource for children’s librarians, school library media specialists and K–8 educators. The list spotlights the editors’ selections of the 30 best 2013 picture books, novels and informational titles for the K-8 classroom, all selected for their natural connections across the curriculum and to the Common Core State Standards.
  • Rainbow Project - Rainbow Project Reading List 2014. The Rainbow Project is a joint project of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table and the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. The Rainbow Project 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.
  • Schneider Family Book Award - 2014 Schneider Family Book Awards recipients named. 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. Three annual awards each consisting of $5000 and a framed plaque, will be given annually in each of the following categories: birth through grade school (age 0–8), middle school (age 9–13) and teens (age 14–18). (Age groupings are approximations). Also see the Schneider Award Select Bibliography of Children's Books about the Disability Experience (PDF). This list contains some outstanding books that portray emotional, mental, or physical disability experiences, most published between 2000 and 2008. The grade level designations are intended as guidelines.
  • Stonewall Book Awards - 2014 Stonewall Book Awards announced - 'Beautiful Music for Ugly Children' and 'Fat Angie' win 2014 Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award - Stonewall Book Awards List (1971 through the present). The Stonewall Book Awards of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table of ALA are given annually to English-language works of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience, and include the Stonewall Book Awards – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children's and Young Adult Literature Award, the Stonewall Book Awards – Barbara Gittings Literature Award, and the Stonewall Book Awards – Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award.
  • Top Titles for Tweens 2013 - ALSC's School-Age Programs and Services Committee is happy to share with you a list of this year's Youth Media Award winners that are especially suited to those in-between patrons, those who straddle that line between little kid and teenager, ages 10 to 14. Also, look back at the 2012 Tween Award Book List.

  • Tween Recommended Reads - List includes 25 titles chosen specifically to appeal to tweens and to encourage them to read, compiled by members of ALSC's 2013 School Age Programs and Services Committee. PDFs of the booklist are available online in full color and black and white and are free to download, copy and distribute.

  • University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries. An annual collection development tool published with the help and support of two divisions of the American Library Association (ALA): the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the Public Library Association (PLA). University presses represent an often-undiscovered gold mine of resources for school and public libraries. Many books and reference works from scholarly publishers are valued far beyond the walls of any ivory tower. They can be the building blocks of learning and growing for high-school students, general readers, independent researchers, and involved citizens. For more than 20 years, a volunteer panel of PLA and AASL librarians review and select 400+ titles published by AAUP member presses to build this valued collection development resource. The bibliography is released in both print and online editions, distributed freely to 13,000+ librarians. Book entries include key bibliographic data, a thumbnail description, and a PLA and/or AASL rating.


For Children


For Young Adults/Teens


For Adults


Reference Books (for children, teens, and adults)


For Librarians, Readers' Advisory


This page is part of ALA Recommends... compiled by the ALA Library. Contact us at library@ala.org with any questions. See the other lists of recommendations compiled by ALA member committees - ALA Recommended Listening: List of links to ALA's recommended music and spoken-word recordings and audiobooks for all ages, sorted by age group; ALA Recommended Viewing: List of links to ALA's recommended DVDs and videos for all ages, sorted by age group; and ALA Recommended Web Sites: List of links to ALA's recommended web sites for all ages, sorted by age group.


Last updated: February 2014


For more information on this or other fact sheets, contact the ALA Library Reference Desk by telephone: 800-545-2433, extension 2153; fax: 312-280-3255; e-mail: library@ala.org; or regular mail: ALA Library, American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611.