2019 Morris Award

2019 Winner

Darius the Great Is Not Okay written by Adib Khorram, published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House

Marked by depression and high-school unpleasantness, Darius’ lackluster existence takes an unexpected turn when he travels to Iran to meet his grandparents for the first time. There, a meaningful friendship opens up new possibilities to Darius, whose sensitive soul-searching will resonate with many teens.

2019 Finalists

Blood Water Paint written by Joy McCullough, published by Dutton Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House.

In this novel, told primarily in verse, history’s Artemisia Gentileschi is developing into a brilliant artist when the teacher hired by her father sexually assaults her. Finding courage and strength in the stories of other women, Artemisia bravely accuses her attacker in court, an act unheard of in the 1600s.

Check, Please!: #Hockey written and illustrated by Ngozi Ukazu, published by First Second, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

Using witty dialogue, a subtle gay romance, and lots of references to Bitty's baking, Ukazu dives deep into bro-culture and demolishes toxic masculinity in this well-crafted graphic novel, which follows Eric "Bitty" Bittle and his hockey team through their years at Samwell University. Teens will be ready to devour the next installment of this unabashedly charming story.










Children of Blood and Bone written by Tomi Adeyemi, published by Henry Holt Books, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

In Orïsha, diviners and maji were revered for their abilities, until tyrannical King Saran forced magic from the kingdom. When his daughter, Amari, flees the palace with an ancient relic, she meets 17-year-old diviner Zélie. Together, they undertake a quest to restore the kingdom’s magic, but Amari’s brother is determined to keep his father’s legacy intact.

What the Night Sings written and illustrated by Vesper Stamper, published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House.

This is a haunting, first-person account of Gerta, a musically talented teenager, who learns of her Jewish heritage only after being sent to Auschwitz and, later, Bergen-Belsen. Torn from her father, she clings to his viola and discovers her own voice and strength after the liberation. Lovely, lyrical prose and ethereal illustrations make Stamper’s unusual story sing.

2019 Committee

Members of the 2019 William C. Morris Award Committee are: Chair Charli Osborne, Southfield Public Library, Southfield, MI; Alicia Abdul, Albany High School, Albany, NY; Kim Dare, Herndon High School, Herndon, VA; Audrey Hopkins, Dallas Public Library, Oak Lawn Branch, Dallas, TX; Melanie Lyttle, Madison Public Library, Madison, OH; Joel Shoemaker, Illinois Prairie District Public Library, Metamora, IL; Sarah Sullivan, Nevins Memorial Library, Methuen, MA; Isaiah West, Alexandria Library, Alexandria, VA; Bobbie Xuereb, MiraCosta College, San Diego, CA; Vicki Morris Emery, Administrative Assistant, Lake Braddock Secondary School, Fairfax Station, VA; and Julia Smith, Booklist Consultant, Chicago, IL.