'If These Wings Could Fly' wins 2021 William C. Morris Award

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/25/2021


Communications and Marketing Office

ALA Media Relations



CHICAGO – “If These Wings Could Fly,” written by Kyrie McCauley and published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, has been named the 2021 winner of the William C. Morris Award, which honors a book written for young adults by a previously unpublished author. The award was announced today by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) at the American Library Association’s ALA Midwinter Virtual, held Jan. 22 – 26.

Living in a house that magically covers the damage inflicted by her volatile father’s rampages, Leighton Barnes finds nothing strange in the thousands of crows descending on her town.  As tensions mount in town and at home, she struggles with simultaneously wanting to escape and to protect her mother and younger sisters.

“Through haunting, lyrical prose McCauley builds a devastatingly authentic and layered tale of intergenerational trauma and violence and society’s ‘blind eye’ that perpetuates it,” said Morris Award Chair Melissa Malanuk.

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 2021 Morris Award finalists, announced in December, included:  

“Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard ” by Echo Brown, published by Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. 

“The Black Kids” by Christina Hammonds Reed, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

“It Sounded Better in My Head,” by Nina Kenwood, published by Flatiron Books, Macmillan Publishers.

“Woven in Moonlight,” by Isabel Ibanez, published by Page Street Publishing.

Members of the 2021 William C. Morris Award Committee are: chair Melissa Malanuk (she/her), Queens Borough Public Library, Jamaica, New York; Meaghan Darling (she/her), Sparta Public Library, Sparta, New Jersey; Laura Erwin (she/her), Bossard Memorial Library, Gallipolis, Ohio; Megan Garrett (she/her), Mid-Continent Public Library, Lee’s Summit, Missouri; Jamie M. Gregory (she/her), Christ Church Episcopal School, Moore, South Carolina; Lindsey Helfrich (she/her), Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento, California; Alicia Kalan (she/her), The Northwest School, Seattle; Carol Maples (she/her), Central High School, Pollok, Texas; and Ann Pechacek (she/her), Worthington Libraries, Worthington, Ohio.

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.