2022 Schneider Family Book Awards recipients named

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/24/2022

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CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Schneider Family Book Awards, which honor an author or illustrator for the artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. The award was announced today during the ALA’s LibLearnX, held virtually from Jan. 21– 24.  

Recipients are selected in three categories: young children birth through grade school (age 0–8), middle grades (age 9–13) and teens (age 14–18). Winners will receive $5,000 and a framed plaque.  

“A Walk in the Words,” written and illustrated by Hudson Talbott and published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House, is the Schneider Family Book Award young children’s honor title.  

“A Sky-Blue Bench,” written by Bahram Rahman, illustrated by Peggy Collins and published by Pajama Press, Inc., is the Schneider Family Book Award young children’s honor title.

“My City Speaks,” written by Darren Lebeuf, illustrated by Ashley Barron and published by Kids Can Press Ltd., won the award for young children. 

Photographer Darren Lebeuf and paper artist Ashley Barron collaborate on the tale of a girl with a visual impairment and her father as they journey throughout their city. The two enjoy many familiar stops along their journey to their final destination, a concert stage in the park.

“The committee was charmed by this sensory delight, in which words and images work collaboratively to describe a day in the city from the perspective of a girl who is blind.”  said award co-chairs Susan Hess and Mary-Kate Sableski.

“Stuntboy, in the Meantime,” written by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Raúl the Third and published by Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, is the Schneider Family Book Award best middle grades honor title.  

“A Kind of Spark,” written by Elle McNicoll and published by Crown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC, is the Schneider Family Book Award best middle grades honor title.  

“A Bird Will Soar,” written by Alison Green Myers and published by Dutton Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House, won the award for best middle grades title. 

Myers employs poetry and science to create a bird-loving autistic boy whose disability strongly shapes his identity. As Axel seeks to help heal his broken family and an injured eaglet, he learns to rely on his strength and the people around him, to help his family, the bird, and himself.

“This luminous story of an autistic boy captivated the committee with the use of poetry, science, and narrative to weave an exploration of identity and family,” said award co-chairs Susan Hess and Mary-Kate Sableski.

“A Face for Picasso: Coming of Age with Crouzon Syndrome,” written by Ariel Henley and published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, is the Schneider Family Book Award teens honor title.  

The teens award winner is “Words in my Hands,” written and illustrated by Asphyxia and published by Annick Press.  

In this work of speculative fiction, Piper searches for her identity as a Deaf teenager through her art and activism in a futuristic Australia rife with food insecurity, fuel shortages, political corruption, and censorship. She shows strength and determination by learning sign language and through her artwork and community garden.

 “This illustrated novel impressed the committee with its depiction of a Deaf teenager who finds her place in a challenging future by claiming her Deaf identity and advocating for a better and more sustainable world for all,” said award co-chairs Susan Hess and Mary-Kate Sableski.

Members of the 2022 committee include Susan Hess (award co-chair), New York City school librarian, retired, Osprey, Florida; Mary-Kate Sableski (award co-Chair), associate professor, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio; Cathy Andronik, Brien McMahon High School, retired, Norwalk Public Library, Bridgeport, Connecticut; Betsy Fraser, Selector, Calgary Public Library, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Ashley Mensah, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; Rachel G. Payne, coordinator, early childhood services, Brooklyn Public Library, New York; Sharon Powers, media specialist, Lake Nona Middle School, Orlando, Florida; Scot Smith, Robertsville Middle School, Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and Alyson Beecher (ex-officio), educator, Glendale Unified School District, California.

For more information on the Schneider Family Book Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit www.ala.org/yma

American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org.