YALSA announces 2019 Alex Awards

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/28/2019


Communications and Marketing Office

ALA Media Relations



SEATTLE – The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has selected 10 adult books with special appeal to teen readers to receive the 2019 Alex Awards. The awards, sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust and Booklist, were announced today at the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits held in Seattle, Washington, from Jan. 25 - 29, 2019.

The 2019 Alex Award winners are:

“The Black God’s Drums,” By P. Djèlí Clark, Published by Tor.com an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, a division of Macmillan

Creeper has her sights on leaving the streets of New Orleans and starting a new adventure on an airship. But first she will need to partner with the reluctant Captain Ann-Marie to save a kidnapped Haitian scientist and stop the use of a dangerous weapon. Wildly original with spy nuns and sky pirates, this steampunk alternate history is a winning adventure.

“The Book of Essie,” By Meghan MacLean Weir, Published by Knopf, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House

Essie, the youngest family member of Evangelical television reality stars, is pregnant and refuses to name the father. The showrunners--and her parents--decide the best solution is for Essie to marry quickly with lots of hype to increase ratings. Celebrity, scandal, and reality TV make for a wicked, compulsively readable combination.

“Circe,” By Madeline Miller, Published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group

Spurned by her fellow gods for her lack of beauty and power, minor goddess Circe seeks out mortals instead and finds in herself a new ability: witchcraft, and the power to transform men into monsters. Coming of age over the span of a thousand years, Circe--and the reader--must find safe harbor in this ongoing epic of gods and men.

“Educated: A Memoir,” By Tara Westover, Published by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House  

Raised in an extremist family and barely homeschooled, Tara Westover decides that education is more important than family. Breaking ties, forging new relationships, and unlearning much of what she’s grown up "knowing" prove to be nearly insurmountable. This stirring memoir shows that ignorance is not bliss, and that knowledge is power.

“The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After,” By Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil, Published by Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House

In 1994, six-year-old Clemantine and her fifteen-year-old sister flee the Rwandan Genocide and spend the next six years surviving refugee camps before arriving in America. This is Clemantine’s story--that of a survivor, a refugee, and an immigrant who defies stereotype time and time again.  

“Green,” By Sam Graham-Felsen, published by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House

In 1992 Boston, David Greenfield hates being one of the few white kids in his middle school where even his former best friend bullies him. He connects with a boy from the projects, but competition cause a rift in their blossoming friendship. A timely historical fiction, “Green” explores race, class, minority status, and the daily injustices of middle school life.

“Home After Dark,” by David Small, illustrated by the author, published by Liveright, an imprint of W.W. Norton & Company

After his mother abandons them, his father uproots thirteen-year-old Russell Pruitt to a rundown town in 1950s California. Russell tries to fit in while navigating a landscape of homophobic bullies and a serial animal killer.  David Small’s storytelling and lush illustrations capture all the uncertainties of adolescence in this coming of age story.

“How Long ’Til Black Future Month?” By N. K. Jemisin, Published by Orbit, an imprint of Hachette Book Group

Author N.K. Jemison is a master worldbuilder, and this collection of short stories is a weird, wild, and original reimagining of both the past and the future, celebrating resistance and action and speaking truth to power.

“Lawn Boy,” By Jonathan Evison, Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill a division of Workman Publishing

Twenty-something Mike Muñoz is passionate about the art of landscaping--a fresh cut lawn and a creative topiary. Caught between taking care of his mother and brother and trying to strike out on his own, Mike is not-so-patiently waiting for a lucky break. His struggle is familiar and heartbreaking, and it’s impossible not to root for him as he chases the elusive American Dream.

“Spinning Silver,” by Naomi Novik, published by Del Rey, a division of Penguin Random House

Miryem has earned a reputation for turning silver into gold, but soon her talent gains unwanted attention from a cold, cruel fae king. Now Miryem finds herself trapped in a bargain that will change her life and the lives of those around her in this magical, multilayered fairy tale.

“This year’s Alex Awards highlight the many ways a story can be told, celebrate tales of grief and grit, and reimagine both the past and the future. Cults and Afrofuturism for the win!” said 2019 Alex Awards Committee Chair Kali Olson

The Alex Awards were created to recognize that many teens enjoy and often prefer books written for adults, and to assist librarians in recommending adult books that appeal to teens. A full list of official nominations will be available online at www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists/alex

The award is named in honor of the late Margaret Alexander Edwards, fondly called “Alex” by her closest friends, a pioneer in providing library services to young adults. At Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Edwards used adult books extensively with teens to broaden their experience and enrich their understanding of themselves and their world.

Members of the 2019 Alex Awards Committee are: Chair Kali Olson, The Blake School, Minneapolis; Amy Fowler, Nevins Memorial Library, Methuen, Mass.: Dr. Janet W. Hilbun, Department of Information Science, University of North Texas, Garland, Texas; Johanna Lewis, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library; Ellen McTyre, Mamaroneck Public Library District, Mamaroneck, N.Y.; Becky Reiser, Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton, Calif.; Elizabeth Page, Coronado (Calif.) Public Library; Ellen Wickham, Raytown (Mo.) South High School; and Booklist Consultant Maggie Reagan, 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 information on the Alex Awards and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit http://www.ala.org/yma"www.ala.org/yma