The Poet X Wins 2019 Printz Award

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/28/2019


Communications and Marketing Office

ALA Media Relations


SEATTLE – “The Poet X,”, written by Elizabeth Acevedo published by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, has won the 2019 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) today announced the winner during the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits held Jan. 25 - 29, in Seattle, Washington.

Acevedo transforms everyday language into transcendent imagery in this novel-in-verse about Xiomara, who struggles to come into her own power amid her restrictive upbringing. Over the course of these lyrical, expressive, and honest poems, she grows from speaking with her fists to embracing her identity as the Poet X.

“Acevedo’s fresh voice paints a vibrant character jumping off the page. We loved reading her journey from questioning her place to owning her power.” said Printz Award Committee Chair Rachel Fryd.

Three Printz Honor Books also were named: 

“Damsel,” written by Elana K. Arnold, published by Balzer+Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Ama has no memory of what comes before she wakes in Prince Emory’s arms, but she’s no ordinary damsel in distress. Using the language of classic fairy tales to shatter familiar tropes, Arnold asks readers to confront the ways systemic violence against women pervades cultural touchstones.

“A Heart in a Body in the World,” written by Deb Caletti, published by Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

Struggling with PTSD in the wake of a terrifying tragedy, Annabelle decides to run across the country in a physically demanding journey that mirrors the circuitous path of her emotional recovery. Caletti insightfully explores trauma, loss, and guilt while illuminating the damaging expectations our culture places on teenage girls.

“I, Claudia,” written by Mary McCoy, published by Carolrhoda Lab®, an imprint of Carolrhoda Books®, a division of Lerner Publishing Group.

In this political thriller set in a privileged high school, underestimated and unreliable narrator Claudia chronicles her rise to power. Sharp, biting humor pervades McCoy’s novel about vicious high school students embroiled in an explosive struggle for control.

The 2019 Printz Award winner and honor books will be celebrated at ALA’s 2019 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Washington, DC on a new date, Monday, June 24 from 8 – 10pm. Tickets are $39 in advance. Learn more at

The award, first given in 2000, is named for the late Michael L. Printz, a Topeka, Kansas, school librarian known for discovering and promoting quality books for young adults. The award is administered annually by YALSA and is sponsored by Booklist magazine.

Members of the 2019 Printz Award Committee are: Chair Rachel Fryd, Free Library of Philadelphia; Sam Helmick, Burlington (Iowa) Public Library; Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.; Karen R. Lemmons, Detroit School of the Arts; Teka McCabe Briarcliff High School and Briarcliff Middle School, Port Chester, N.Y.; Jessica Lorentz Smith, Bend (Ore.) Senior High School; Jennifer Thompson, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library; Anna Grace Tschetter, Memorial Hall Library, Andover, Mass.; Paula Willey, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, Md.; Award Administrative Assistant, Sandy Craft, Casady School, Oklahoma City; and Sarah Hunter, 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, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail:  

For more information on the Michael L. Printz Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit