Alex Awards

alex awardsAbout the Alex Award

The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The winning titles are selected from the previous year's publishing. The Alex Awards were first given annually beginning in 1998 and became an official ALA award in 2002.

The award is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust. Edwards pioneered young adult library services and worked for many years at the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore. Her work is described in her book Fair Garden and the Swarm of Beasts, and over the years she has served as an inspiration to many librarians who serve young adults. The Alex Awards are named after Edwards, who was called “Alex” by her friends.

Seal Licensing

Individuals who wish to buy small quantities of seals can find them in the ALA Online Store. Publishers wishing to buy bulk seals or license seal images can find more information by consulting YALSA's Award Seals Usage Guidelines and  ALA's Seals Sales & Permissions page.

If you'd like to license the winner or nominee seal, please learn more here.

Visit YALSA's Teen Book Finder Database, a one-stop shop for finding selected lists and award winners. Users can search this free resource by award, list name, year, author, genre and more, as well as print customizable lists.

Current Winners

Official Nominations

Previous Winners

Award Policies and Procedures

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Committee Information

Seal Licensing

Teen Book Finder App

2021 Winners   

View the 2021 official nominations!



Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, published by Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781534437678).  A diverse group of priests, sailors, and travelers converge in the holy city of Tova in preparation for the annual winter solstice celebration, which coincides with a solar eclipse in this epic fantasy adventure. Great writing and world building transport the reader to a civilization inspired by pre-Columbian mythology. 

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, published by Tom Doherty Associates/Tor Books (ISBN 9781250217288 ).  Buttoned-up and by-the-book Linus is sent to investigate a classified orphanage on a strange island by Extremely Upper Management. Forced out of his comfort zone, he is surprised to find love and family in this magically joyful tale.

The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice - Crossing Antarctica Alone by Colin O’Brady, published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781982133115).  Mindset expert Colin O’Brady recounts his experience as the first to traverse Antarctica solo and unassisted. Drawing strength from prior successes, failures, and his support system, he endures whiteouts, subzero temperatures, and starvation while pulling a 365-pound supply sled.
Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio by Derf Backderf, published by Abrams Comicarts (ISBN 9781419734847).  In 1970 the Ohio National Guard opened fire on Kent State students protesting the Vietnam War, killing four and wounding nine. This chilling graphic novel follows the lives of the students, politicians, guardsmen, and law enforcement in simple black and white, revealing a volatile situation ending in heartbreaking tragedy.

The Kids Are Gonna Ask by Gretchen Anthony, published by Park Row Books (ISBN 9780778308744).  A few years after losing their mother, the McClair twins use podcasting to search for their biological father. The family is turned inside out by the media, but with the help of their loving grandmother, they persevere in this witty coming of age novel.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones published by Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781982136451).  Told through the backdrop of cultural tradition versus modern expectations, this horror story follows four Native American men as a decision from their past comes back to haunt them. Magical realism and realistic fiction blend as an avenging presence tracks them down.

Plain Bad Heroines by emily m. danforth, published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins (ISBN 9780062942852) .  This gothic horror novel follows the lives of queer women throughout history. As our past and present heroines learn about a mysterious curse connected to Brookhaunts School for Girls, they explore their own identities in this work of metafiction filled with sapphic romance. 
Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi, published by Tom Doherty Associates/Tor Books (ISBN 9781250214751).  Ella has unexplained powers. She worries about her younger brother Kev, born during the LA riots and later incarcerated simply for being black. Magical realism highlights the injustice, anger, and systemic racism that is prevalent in modern society.
Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh, published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781982156947).  In this humorous graphic memoir about the ups and downs of life, Allie Brosh uses simple, expressive illustrations and wit to grapple with difficult and challenging topics, such as grief, loneliness, and self-love, even if you’re a weirdo. 
We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry, published by Pantheon Books, a division of Penguin Random House (ISBN 9780525565437). The 1989 Danvers High School Field Hockey team is sick of losing. Could their town’s gritty history surrounding the Salem Witch Trials and a notebook featuring Emilo Estevez change their luck and their lives? Join the team for this quirky ride.

View the 2021 official nominations!

2021 Committee Members

Members of the 2021 Alex Awards Committee are: Michael Fleming (Chair), Julie Benolken, Heather Beverley, Anne Dame, Tammiika Frowner, Amanda Kingswell, Kathleen Reynolds, Carrie Richmond, Karen Scott, Kirsten Gunn (Administrative Assistant), Maryanne Olson (Liason)

Previous Winners