Youth Media Awards
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, ALA awards guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by judging committees composed of librarians and other children's experts, the awards encourage original and creative work. Winners are announced at the Midwinter Meeting of the association (usually in January). Award presentations are at the ALA Annual Conference in June. Major awards include:
Newbery and Caldecott Medals
The most prestigious awards in children's literature, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals honor distinguished writing and illustration of children's books published in the United States.
The John Newbery Medal, awarded every year since 1922, honors the author of the year's most outstanding contribution to children's literature. Newbery was the first publisher to recognize that children have reading interests distinct from adults. Henrik Van Loon won the first Newbery Medal in 1922 for "The Story of Mankind."
The Randolph Caldecott Medal honors the illustrator of the year's most distinguished American picture book for children. Presented every year since 1938, the medal is named for Randolph Caldecott, a 19th-century English illustrator known for the action, vitality and humor of his picture books. Dorothy P. Lathrop won the first Caldecott Medal in 1938 for "Animals of the Bible."
Considered the "Academy Awards" of children's publishing, the Newbery and Caldecott medals are a virtual guarantee that the honored books will remain in print on library and bookstore shelves for years to come. The awards are administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA.
Coretta Scott King Awards
The Coretta Scott King Awards honor African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults that demonstrate sensitivity to "the true worth and value of all beings." The books - fiction or nonfiction - must have been published in the year prior to the award.
The first presentation was in 1970 to Lillie Patterson, author of "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Man of Peace." The first award to an illustrator was presented in 1974 to George Ford for "Ray Charles," written by Sharon Bell Mathis. Mathis also received the Coretta Scott King author award.
The awards are administered by the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services. Winners receive a framed citation, an honorarium of $250 and a set of Encyclopedia Britannica or World Book Encyclopedia. Certificates are given to authors and illustrators of books named as Honorable Mention.
Michael L. Printz Award
The Michael L. Printz Award, established in 1999, honors excellence in literature written for young adults. The first presentation was in 2000 to Walter Dean Myers for "Monster." The annual award is administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association and sponsored by Booklist magazine.
The award is named in honor of the late Michael L. Printz, longtime YALSA member and Topeka, Kans., school librarian, known for discovering and promoting quality books for young adults. "Mike," as his friends and colleagues knew him, served on both the Best Books for Young Adults and the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committees.
The award-winning book may be fiction, nonfiction, poetry or an anthology and can be a work of joint authorship or editorship. Nominated books may have been previously published in another country, but must have been in the U.S. during the preceding year. The books must be designated by their publishers as either a young adult book or one published for ages 12 through 18.
Margaret A. Edwards Award
The Margaret A. Edwards Award, established in 1988, honors an author's lifetime contribution in writing books of enduring popularity with teenagers. S.E. Hinton received the first Edwards Award in 1988 for her books "The Outsiders," "Rumblefish," "Tex" and "That Was Then, This is Now." Judy Blume received the 1996 award for "Forever."
The award is named in honor of the late Margaret A. Edwards, an administrator of young adult programs at Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Md., for more than 30 years. Edwards brought young adult literature and library services to the attention of the library profession. She spent her professional life bringing books and young adults together, pioneering outreach services for teenagers and establishing a stringent training program designed for librarians beginning their work with adolescents.
The annual award is administered by YALSA and sponsored by School Library Journal magazine. Winners receive $1,000 and a citation.
Andrew Carnegie Medal
The Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video was awarded for the first time in 1991 to honor an outstanding video production for children released during the previous year. The first recipients were producers George McQuilkin and John Matthews for "Ralph S. Mouse," based on the book by Beverly Cleary.
Entries must be originally released in the United States. The producer must be a U.S. citizen or resident, or the production company must be headquartered in the U.S. Materials can be of feature length but not theatrically released. The annual award is administered by ALSC, through an endowment established by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award
The Robert F. Sibert Information Book Award was awarded for the first time in 2001 to honor the most distinguished informational book published in the preceding year. Informational books are defined as those written and illustrated to present, organize and interpret documentable factual material for children. Poetry and traditional literature are not eligible.
The award is named in honor of Robert F. Sibert, the long-time president of Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc., of Jacksonville, Ill. The annual award is sponsored by the company and administered by ALSC.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, established in 1954, honors an author or illustrator whose books are published in the U.S. and have, over a period of years, made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. The award is named in honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the popular "Little House" series of books, which later became the basis for a television series. Wilder's first book, "The Little House in the Big Woods," (1932) was published when she was 65. Wilder received the first award in 1954. The award, administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), was given every five years between 1960 and 1980. It is now given every other year.
Pura Belpré Award
The Pura Belpré Award honors Latino writers and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in a work of literature for youth. The award is named in honor of Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library and a pioneer in preserving and disseminating Puerto Rican folklore.
The Belpré Award was first presented in 1996 to Judith Ortiz Cofer, author of "An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio" and to Susan Guevara, illustrator for "Chato’s Kitchen." It is administered by ALSC and the National Association to Promote Library Services to the Spanish Speaking (REFORMA). This award is presented every other year (in opposite years from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal).
Mildred L. Batchelder Award
The Mildred L. Batchelder Award is presented to a publisher for the most outstanding book originally published in a foreign language in a foreign country and subsequently translated into English for publication in the U.S. The award was first presented in 1968 to Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., for "The Little Man," written by Erich Kästner and translated from German by James Kirkup. The award is administered by ALSC.