Michael L. Printz Award

About the Michael L. Printz Award
The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.

Who Was Mike Printz?

When the Newbery Award began , people probably asked, "Who is John Newbery?" After 75 years of Newbery Awards, "everyone knows the name." So that everyone will recognize the name of this new award as quickly as possible, some background information may prove helpful. "Mike," as he was known to his friends and colleagues, was a school librarian at Topeka West (KS) High School for many years and retired from teaching in 1994. Until his untimely death in 1996, he worked as a marketing consultant for Econo-Clad Books.

Mike was active in YALSA and served on the Best Books for Young Adults Committee and the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee. He had a passion for books and reading. Finding the right book for the right student at the right time was not just a slogan to Mike-he lived it. He also appreciated the authors who wrote books for young adults and demonstrated this by initiating an author-in-residence program at his high school. One of those authors was Chris Crutcher, who became a close friend. Chris recalls the quiet times he spent with Mike talking with him about his vision of young adult literature and its place in kid's lives and says, "The ache I feel [upon hearing of Mike's death] is my wish that he could have accepted for himself what he so readily gave to us, readers and writers alike; a place to stand in the circle of the joy and heartache that is storytelling."

YALSA has created a place, a circle if you will, for Mike to stand and be recognized- that place is the Michael L.Printz Award.

YALSA published A Printz of a Man, a volume of articles written by Mike's friends and colleagues in 1997. Copies were given to the participants at the YALSA preconference, Popular Reading, which was dedicated to Mike, in San Francisco. It is now available on this web site for the reader's information and enjoyment.

Administered by:

Young Adult Library Services Association logo

Award and Frequency

This award is given out on an annual basis.


  • The award-winning book may be fiction, nonfiction, poetry or an anthology.
  • Books must have been published between January 1 and December 31 of the year preceding announcement of the award.
  • To be eligible, a title must have been designated by its publisher as being either a young adult book or one published for the age range that YALSA defines as "young adult," i.e., 12 through 18. Adult books are not eligible.
  • Works of joint authorship or editorship are eligible.
  • The award may be given posthumously provided the other criteria are met.
  • Books previously published in another country are eligible (presuming an American edition has been published during the period of eligibility).

Application Instructions

The Michael L. Printz Award Committee will consider and vote on books published within its assigned calendar year (January 1 to December 31). Publishers, authors, or editors may not nominate their own titles.  Both field and Committee nominations will be accepted for books that meet the published criteria. Field nominations must be seconded by a committee member.

Nominations may be accepted from the field up to December 1, and from Committee members up to December 15.

Final selections are made at the Midwinter Meeting during a series of Committee meetings closed to the public. Only Committee members attending the Midwinter Meeting will be allowed to vote. Members can only vote on books they have read.

Please keep in mind the following criteria guiding the Committee's final selection when you are selecting books to nominate:

The Printz Award is selected annually and recognizes the best book written for young adults, based solely on literary merit. It must have been designated by its publisher as being either a young adult book or one published for the age range that YALSA defines as "young adult;" i.e., 12 through 18, and must have been copyrighted and introduced during the assigned calendar year. It may be written by either an American or foreign author. Single authors or multiple authors are accepted. The book may be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or anthology.

The nomination form is found at: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/yalsa/booklistsawards/printzaward/nominationform/nominationform.cfm

Contact Information

Displaying active committee roster as of 02/03/2023. Last retrieved on 02/03/2023. Members can log in and refresh page to view full contact information for committee members.