For immediate release | February 12, 2018

2018 Schneider Family Book Awards recipients named

DENVER – The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Schneider Family Book Awards, which honor an author or illustrator for an 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 Denver, Feb. 9–13.

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

“Silent Days, Silent Dreams,” written and illustrated by Allen Say and published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an Imprint of Scholastic Inc., won the award for young children.

Allen Say’s distinctive biographical picture book spotlights the work and life of James Castle, an outsider artist. Deaf and autistic, this artist used his untraditional style of art to communicate his understanding of the world. Growing up at the turn of the 20th century, Castle showed incredible resilience despite an often harsh existence.

“The committee was emotionally struck by the perseverance and indomitable spirit of James Castle’s journey to communicate in spite of his circumstances,” said Award Jury Chair Joanna Tamplin.

“Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess,” written by Shari Green and published by Pajama Press Inc., won the award for best middle grades book.

This tender, free-verse novel welcomes readers into sixth-grader Macy’s world. Through an intergenerational relationship with her neighbor, Iris, Macy learns to navigate friendships, family changes and school assignments. Iris learns to communicate with Macy through sign language, and Macy learns how Iris sends messages through the gift of cookies.

“Green uses the importance of stories and storytelling to highlight our common bonds, despite age, illness, or disability,” said Tamplin.

The teen award winner is “You’re Welcome, Universe,” written and illustrated by Whitney Gardner and published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Julia is an artist; her medium graffiti. She thrives on the thrill of creating and the risk of getting caught. When she is expelled from her school for the deaf , Julia seeks to find balance between feeling invisible and her desire to be seen. Her friendship with “hearie” YP unexpectedly enhances her life and art.

“Gardner’s wonderful, messy character, Julia, is full of bluster and drama. Readers will warm up to this prickly teen as she learns to trust friends and find her way with her art,” said Tamplin.

Members of the 2018 Jury were: Chair, Joanna Tamplin, Hawks Rise Elementary, Tallahassee, Fla.; Alyson Beecher, Pasadena Unified School District, Pasadena, Calif.; Mary Burkey, Independent Library Consultant, Columbus, Ohio; Jill Garcia, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Washington, D.C.; Gregory Lum, Jesuit High School Clark Library, Portland, Ore.; Jennifer Kelley Reed, Newton Public Schools, Newton, Mass.; JoAnna Schofield, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Warrensville Heights Branch, Warrensville Heights, Ohio; and Ed Spicer, Independent Curriculum Consultant, Allegan, Mich.

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world with more than 57,000 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