For immediate release | January 11, 2016

2016 Schneider Family Book Awards recipients named

BOSTON – The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Schneider Family Book Awards, which honor an author or illustrator for the artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. The award was announced today during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Boston, Jan. 8 - 12.

Recipients are selected in three categories: birth through grade school (age 0–8), middle grade (age 9–13) and teens (age 14–18). Winners will receive $5,000 and a framed plaque, which will be presented in Orlando during the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition in June.

Emmanuel’s dream: the true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, written by Laurie Ann Thompson illustrated by Sean Qualls and published by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York, won the award for young children.

Against almost insurmountable odds, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, born with only one strong leg, sets out to ride a bike 400 miles across Ghana to raise awareness for the disabled. With the message of “being disabled does not mean unable,” the stunning mixed media art supports this uplifting and inspiring story.

“Thompson and Qualls biographical picture book proves that ‘One leg is enough to do great things -- and one person is enough to change the world,’” said Award Chair Alyson Beecher.

Fish in a Tree written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt and published by Nancy Paulsen Books, Published by the Penguin Group, won the award for best middle grade title.

Ally moves through multiple elementary schools without learning to read by using her strengths in math and art along with some behavior distractions. When a new teacher discovers Ally has dyslexia, he uses patience and sensitivity to build up Ally’s confidence as well as her ability to read.

“Mullaly Hunt portrays a modern classroom with a diverse cast and challenges featuring a character to cheer for and a teacher everyone should have,” said Beecher.

The War that Saved my Life written by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, Published by the Penguin Group won the award for best middle grade title.

Set during World War II, Ada is a resourceful character who slowly and believably makes accommodations for her untreated club foot. Her growth as a character, her acceptance by the villagers, and the home she and her brother make with Susan, their sponsor, are both heartfelt and powerful.

“Bradley’s gripping portrayal of a World War II evacuee with a disability demonstrates even the most challenging times can provide an opportunity for a better life,” said Beecher.

The teen award winner is The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B written by Teresa Toten and published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York.

Enter 13B, where the support group for young adults with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder meets each week. Here an unlikely band of “superheroes” led by their own “Batman,” Adam, works together to confront their personal struggles and discover the inner strength to keep moving forward.

“With humor and poignancy, Toten introduces us to Adam, an endearing teen, facing first romance, parent issues, and the daily challenges of OCD,” said Beecher.

Members of the 2016 Schneider Family Book Award committee are: Chair Alyson Beecher, Pasadena (Calif.) Unified School District; Nancy L. Baumann, retired school librarian and author, Columbia, Mo.; Betsy Fraser, Calgary Public Library, Alberta, Canada; Beth McGuire, Wendover Middle School, Greenburg, Penn.; Elsworth Rockefeller, Oak Park (Ill.) Public Library; Joanna Tamplin, Hawks Rise Elementary, Tallahassee, Fla.; Caroline Ward, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, Conn.; and Jill Garcia, National Library Service For The Blind & Physically Handicapped, Beltsville, Md., ex officio.

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world with more than 55,000 members. Its mission is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

For more information on the Schneider Family Book Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit



Macey Morales

Deputy Director

American Library Association

Public Awareness Office

312 280 4393