2018 AILA Youth Literature Awards Announced

For Immediate Release
Sat, 02/10/2018


Jody Gray


Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services


DENVER — The American Indian Library Association (AILA), an affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA), has selected three titles to receive the 2018 American Indian Youth Literature Award. The 2018 AILA Best Picture Book is Shanyaak'utlaax: Salmon Boy (2017), published by Sealaska Heritage Institute, illustrated by Tlingit artist Michaela Goade, and edited by Tlingit speakers Johnny Marks, Hans Chester, David Katzeek, and Nora Dauenhauer and Tlingit linguist Richard Dauenhauer. The 2018 AILA Best Middle School Book is Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers, Volume 1 (2016), published by Native Realities, edited by Arigon Starr (Kickapoo) and featuring the work of Theo Tso (Las Vegas Paiute), Jonathan Nelson (Diné), Kristina Bad Hand (Sičháŋǧu Lakota/Cherokee), Roy Boney Jr. (Cherokee), Lee Francis IV (Laguna Pueblo), Johnnie Diacon (Mvskoke/Creek), Weshoyot Alvitre (Tongva), Renee Nejo (Mesa Grand Band of Mission Indians), and Michael Sheyahshe (Caddo). The 2018 AILA Best Young Adult Book is #Not Your Princess: Voices of Native American Women (2017), published by Annick Press, edited by Lisa Charleyboy (Tsilhqot’in) and Mary Beth Leatherdale.
The American Indian Youth Literature Awards are presented every two years. The awards were established as a way to identify and honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians and Alaska Natives. Books selected to receive the award present American Indians in the fullness of their humanity in the present and in past contexts. Honor Books are also selected in each category.

2018 Picture Book Honors:

  • All Around Us (2017), written by Xelena González (Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation) and illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia. Cinco Puntos Press.
  • Black Bear Red Fox (2017), written and illustrated by Julie Flett (Cree/Métis). Native Northwest.
  • Fall in Line, Holden! (2017), written and illustrated by Daniel W. Vandever (Diné). Salina Bookshelf, Inc.
  • I'm Dreaming of...Animals of the Native Northwest (2017), written by Melaney Gleeson-Lyall (Musqueam, Coast Salish) and illustrated by First Nations artists. Native Northwest.
  • Mission to Space (2016), written and illustrated by John Herrington (Chickasaw). White Dog Press.

2018 Middle Grade Honor Book:

  • The Wool of Jonesy, Part 1 (2016) written and illustrated by Jonathan Nelson (Diné). Native Realities. 

2018 Young Adult Honor Books:

  • Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology (2016), edited by Hope Nicholson, including stories by Anishinaabe authors Grace L. Dillon, Niigaan Sinclair, and Nathan Adler; Richard Van Camp (Dene/Tłı̨chǫ), Cherie Dimaline (Métis), David A. Robertson (Swampy Cree), Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee), Darcie Little Badger (Lipan Apache), Gwen Benaway (Annishinabe/Mètis), Mari Kurisato (Ojibwe Nakawē), and Cleo Keahna (Ojibwe/Meskwaki). Bedside Press.
  • Marrow Thieves (2017), written by Cherie Dimaline (Métis). DCB (submitted by Orca Books).
  • Fire Starters (2016), written by Jen Storm (Ojibway); illustrated by Scott B. Henderson and colorist Donovan Yaciuk. HighWater Press. 


The American Indian Library Association is a membership action group that addresses the library-related needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Members are individuals and institutions interested in the development of programs to improve library cultural and informational services in school, public, and academic libraries. AILA is committed to disseminating information about Indian cultures, languages, values, and traditions to the library community. http://ailanet.org/
The American Indian Library Association is an Affiliate of the American Library Association. Affiliate organizations of the American Library Association are groups having purpose or interests similar to those of the Association.