2009 Winner: Laurie Halse Anderson

laurie halse anderson Laurie Halse Anderson is the winner of the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award for Catalyst, Fever 1793, and Speak. Read her acceptance speech (PDF).

These gripping and exceptionally well-written novels, through various settings, time periods, and circumstances, poignantly reflect the growing and changing realities facing teens. Iconic and classic in her storytelling and character development, Anderson has created for teens a body of work that continues to be widely read and cherished by a diverse audience.  

In Catalyst, published by Viking Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group,  overachiever Kate Malone is forced to confront unresolved issues when girl bully Terri and her family move into her home.  Fever 1793, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, shows how Mattie Cook’s dreams for the future are reduced to a day-to-day struggle for survival as a yellow fever epidemic fills the streets of Philadelphia. In Speak, a 2000 Printz Honor Book, published by Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, Melinda Sordino is silenced by a trauma and ostracized by her classmates until she once again faces her attacker and finds the strength to fight back

“Laurie Halse Anderson masterfully gives voice to teen characters undergoing transformations in their lives through their honesty and perseverance while finding the courage to be true to themselves,” said Edwards Committee Chair David Mowery.

Laurie Halse Anderson will be honored at the YALSA Edwards Award Luncheon and presented with a citation and cash prize of $2,000 during the 2009 ALA Annual Conference to be held in Chicago, July 9 - 15.

The Margaret A. Edwards Award is sponsored by School Library Journal and administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the ALA.

Members of the 2009 Edwards Committee are: Chair David Mowery, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library; Stephen Crowley, Putnam County Library System, Palatka, Fla.; Kristine Mahood, Timberland Regional Library, Tumwater, Wash.; Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton; and Stephanie Squicciarini, Fairport (N.Y.) Public Library.