“Darius the Great Is Not Okay” wins 2019 William C. Morris Award

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/28/2019


Communications and Marketing Office

ALA Media Relations



SEATTLE – “Darius the Great Is Not Okay,” written by Adib Khorram and published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House, has been named the 2019 winner of the William C. Morris Award, which honors a book written for young adults by a previously unpublished author. The award was presented by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits held Jan. 25 – 29, in Seattle, Washington.

Marked by depression and high-school unpleasantness, Darius’ lackluster existence takes an unexpected turn when he travels to Iran to meet his grandparents for the first time. There, a meaningful friendship opens up new possibilities to Darius, whose sensitive soul-searching will resonate with many teens.

“Adib Khorram tackles weighty topics with a light touch. His subtle exploration of relationships transcends gender, ethnicity, and race,” said Morris Award Chair Charli Osborne.

The award is named for William C. Morris, an influential innovator in the publishing world and an advocate for marketing books for children and young adults. William “Bill” Morris left an impressive mark on the field of children’s and young adult literature. He was beloved in the publishing field and the library profession for his generosity and marvelous enthusiasm for promoting literature for children and teens. The Morris Award is awarded annually at ALA’s Midwinter Youth Media Awards and will be presented at a reception from 10:30 a.m. – noon on Monday, Jan. 28, at the Sheraton Seattle in the Metropolitan Ballroom.

The 2019 Morris Award finalists, announced in December, included:

  • “Blood Water Paint” written by Joy McCullough, published by Dutton Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House;
  • “Check, Please!: #Hockey” written and illustrated by Ngozi Ukazu, published by First Second, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group;
  • “Children of Blood and Bone” written by Tomi Adeyemi, published by Henry Holt Books, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group;
  • “What the Night Sings” written and illustrated by Vesper Stamper, published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House.

Members of the 2019 William C. Morris Award Committee are: Chair Charli Osborne, Southfield Public Library, Southfield, Mich.; Alicia Abdul, Albany (N.Y.) High School; Kim Dare, Herndon (Va.) High School; Audrey Hopkins, Dallas Public Library, Oak Lawn Branch, Dallas; Melanie Lyttle, Madison (Ohio) Public Library; Joel Shoemaker, Illinois Prairie District Public Library, Metamora, Ill.; Sarah Sullivan, Nevins Memorial Library, Methuen, Mass.; Isaiah West, Alexandria (Va.) Library; Bobbie Xuereb, Mira Costa College, San Diego; Vicki Morris Emery, administrative assistant, Lake Braddock Secondary School (Retired), Fairfax Station, Va.; and Julia Smith, Booklist consultant, Chicago.

The mission of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to www.ala.org/yalsa, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail: yalsa@ala.org.

For more information on the William C. Morris Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit www.ala.org/yma.