‘Rez Ball’ wins 2024 William C. Morris Award

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/22/2024


ALA Media Relations

Communications, Marketing & Media Relations Office

American Library Association


BALTIMORE — “Rez Ball,” written by Byron Graves, has been named the 2024 winner of the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, which honors a book published by a first-time author. The book is published by Heartdrum, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. The award was announced today by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), during the ALA’s LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience held Jan. 19-22 in Baltimore.

Ojibwe teen Tre works towards his dream of making the high school varsity basketball team and winning the state tournament, all while navigating friendships, romance, and the grief of losing and living in the shadow of his late older brother.

“Rez Ball impressed us with its authentic voice, well-developed characters and exciting action scenes as it explored grief, prejudice, friendships, family and community.” said Morris Award Chair Kim Keown Farnsworth.

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 2024 Morris Award finalists, announced in December, include:

  • “All the Fighting Parts,” written by Hannah V. Sawyerr and published by Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams.
  • “Once There Was,” written by Kiyash Monsef and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
  • “Saints of the Household,” written by Ari Tison and published by Farrar Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group. 978-0374389499.
  • “She Is a Haunting,” written by Trang Thanh Tran and published by Bloomsbury YA, a division of Bloomsbury Publishing Inc.

Members of the 2024 William C. Morris Award Committee are: Chair Kim Keown Farnsworth, Sacramento, California; Todd Cates, Winder, Georgia; Molly Dettmann, Norman, Oklahoma; Sondra Eklund, South Riding, Virginia; Sarah Flowers, Morgan Hill, California; Paula Langsam, Denver, Colorado; Laura Pearle, East Boston, Massachusetts; Maria Vivar-Guzman, Lanham, Maryland and Administrative Assistant Sandy Craft, Oklahoma City, OK.

The mission of the 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 at 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.


About the American Library Association

The 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, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government, and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library's role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit www.ala.org.