ALA 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 2015.

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.

The ALA Online Store also has available for purchase:

  • YALSA's (Young Adult Library Services Association) 2014 Reads 4 Teens Recommended Reading for Teen Patrons—digital download
  • Outstanding Books for the College Bound—digital download
  • See summer reading resources at ALA Library Fact Sheet 17 - Library Summer Reading Programs.

    Go directly to the reading lists by ALSC, YALSA, and RUSA.

    The ALA Library has collected reading lists of books about libraries and librarians.


    Lists and Awards Spotlight

    The ALA 2015 Youth Media Awards will be announced February 2, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. CT.
    For additional information, see Books with more information on ALA's literary awards and reading lists.

    Booklist Editors' Choice and Top of the List picks, 2014 at the Booklist Reader

    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, 2014. 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 – 2014 Update. 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), has created four Building a Home Library bibliographies. These downloadable lists are intended to provide guidance to parents, grandparents and others interested in assembling a high-quality library for their children at home. The four 2014 Building a Home Library lists are available for children ages 0 to 3; 4 to 7; 8 to 11; and 12 to 14. Librarians, educators and others who work with families are encouraged to download and print these brochures and share them with parents, grandparents, and caregivers in their community.
    • 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. Día book list brochures, provided in PDF format, include suggestions for children's books available in several languages, resource websites, and literacy tips for parents in both English and Spanish. The lists are 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, 2014. Each January in Book Links, we publish a partner list to Booklist’s Books for Youth Editors’ Choice selections. “Lasting Connections” highlights our top 30 choices for the K–8 classroom, all published in the previous year and 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

    • ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for Best Book in Library Literature - Holley wins YALSA/ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Service to Young Adults Achievement Award (for 2014) - previous ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for Best Book in Library Literature winners (2009-present). To recognize those who improve management principles and practice, understanding and application of new techniques, or further the education of librarians or other information specialists.
    • ALA Professional Tips Wiki: Readers' Advisory for Adults. A list of online and print resources for finding book titles for adult patrons.
    • ALA Professional Tips Wiki: Readers' Advisory for Children and Young Adults. A list of online and print resources for finding book titles for children and young adult/teen patrons.
    • ALA Professional Tips Wiki: Selection. A list of online and print resources for selecting books for a library collection.
    • Booklist Core Collection articles. Dozens of articles by Booklist staff, naming pertinent titles in various book genres.

    • Booklist Professional Reading Roundup: Fall 2014. Professional reading materials are reviewed exclusively on Booklist Online, and to make sure you haven’t missed any, we present a roundup of titles reviewed from July 2014 to November 2014.

    • Booklist Professional Reading Roundup: Spring 2014. Professional reading materials are reviewed exclusively on Booklist Online and to make sure you haven’t missed any, we present a roundup of titles reviewed from December 2013 to June 2014.

    • Common Core State Standards: Resources from Booklist Publications - A new educational initiative brings enormous challenges for everyone, especially the teachers and librarians charged with summoning the energy and creativity required to implement the changes. We hope our coverage, including suggestions for linking individual titles with specific standards, will help educators address these new directives while extending our mission: to get the best books for children into the classroom and into the hands of students.

    • Donald G. Davis Article Award. Presented by the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association every second year to recognize the best published article written in English in the field of United States and Canadian library history. Articles published during the two preceding calendar years are eligible; e.g., articles from 2012 and 2013 may be nominated for the 2014 award.

    • Eliza Atkins Gleason Book Award. Presented by the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association every third year to recognize the best book written in English in the field of library history. Books published in the three preceding calendar years are eligible; e.g. books that appeared in 2013, 2014, or 2015 will be eligible for the award in 2016.

    • Ilene F. Rockman Instruction Publication of the Year Award. Administered by the Instruction Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association, this annual award recognizes an outstanding publication related to instruction in a library environment published in the preceding two years. The award honors Ilene F. Rockman's professional contributions to academic librarianship in the area of information literacy.

    • Justin Winsor Library History Essay Award. Presented by the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association annually to recognize the best essay written in English on library history. The award consists of a certificate and a $500 cash award, as well as an invitation to have the winner's essay considered for publication in Information & Culture: A Journal of History.

    • Louis Shores Award. Established in 1990, this award from RUSA (Reference and User Services Association, a division of ALA) recognizes an individual reviewer, group, editor, review medium or organization for excellence in book reviewing and other media for libraries. Award winners receive a citation. Complete list of winners, from 1991 to the present, at the bottom of the page.
    • Phyllis Dain Library History Dissertation Award. Presented by the ALA Library History Round Table, it recognizes outstanding dissertations in English in the general area of library history. $500 and a certificate are given for a work that embodies original research on a significant topic relating to the history of libraries. The biennial award is given in odd-numbered years. Dissertations completed and accepted during the preceding two academic years are eligible; e.g., dissertations from 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 will compete for the award in 2015.

    • Resources for Children and Their Parents and Educators: Dealing with the Tragic Events of September 11, 2001: Resources for Teachers/Professionals. Resources that were compiled to aid parents, teachers and caregivers in discussing with children and teens the terrorist attacks that took place in New York City, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
    • YALSA Handouts and Flyers: Advocacy Tools | Canned Presentations | Bibliographies, Competencies, and Guidelines | Membership | Professional Development | Teen Reading | Technology | Toolkits. YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of ALA) offers several downloadable resources about its events and resources. You can download these presentations, handouts, and flyers for use at conferences, presentations, workshops, and other events.
    • YALSA Professional Tools - YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of ALA) developed the tools on this page -- Career Development; ALA Council Resolutions; Recruitment; Toolkits and Bibliographies; Collection Development Tools; and Online Resources -- to help school librarians, young adult specialists, and others who work in libraries with their work with teens. Please use the resources listed on this site to find practical tools for your day-to-day work, as well as tools for developing your career.
    • The Zora Neale Hurston Award. This annual award from RUSA (Reference and User Services Association, a division of ALA), founded in 2008, is given to any ALA member who has demonstrated leadership in promoting African American literature. Complete list of winners, from 2009 to the present, at the bottom of the page.


    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.


    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: December 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.