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Youth Media Awards wrap-up

Monday was a big, big day for young adult literature. After months of speculation, Mock Printz committees, posts about the finalists for the William C. Morris and Excellence in Nonfiction Awards, and tons and tons and tons of reading by dedicated committee members, the ALA’s Youth Media Awards were announced at the Midwinter Conference in Dallas.

One of my favorite things about being a young adult librarian is the incredible sense of community that’s grown up about libraries and young adult literature, and the YMAs were a perfect example. I wasn’t able to be in Dallas this year, but luckily for me and other librarians, publishers, and YA and children’s lit fans around the world, the announcements were streamed live (in fact, you can watch the archived announcements and videos by some of the honored authors and illustrators on the YMA’s YouTube Channel).

I watched the announcements in one window and had Twitter up in another. There was plenty of buzz on Twitter–so much so that #alayma was trending for more than an hour! Lots of author names and book titles also trended following the announcement of each award. If you haven’t had the chance before, I highly recommend watching the announcements live if you can. It’s so great to hear the audience erupt in cheers when the winners are announced, and if you’re anything like me, you might find yourself cheering along. Being a reader of and writer for the Hub made this year’s awards especially fun for me. I’d read four of the five Morris finalists (two of which won other awards–including the Printz!), something which I might not have done were it not for The Hub.

Here’s the complete list of all the awards given in young adult literature. The name of each award will link to the award’s page on the ALA website, where you can learn about the history and see a complete list of winners. If The Hub did any coverage of a book before its big win, I’ve linked to that too. Enjoy!

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:

Winner: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley


  • Why We Broke Up, written by Daniel Handler, art by Maira Kalman
  • The Returning by Christine Hinwood
  • Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults:

Susan Cooper is the 2012 Edwards Award winner. She was recognized particularly for The Dark Is Rising SequenceOver Sea, Under StoneThe Dark Is RisingGreenwitch, The Grey King, and Silver on the Tree.

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults, which honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults each year:

Winner: The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery by Steve Sheinkin [interview with the author]

The other finalists were:

William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for young adults:

Winner: Where Things Come Back written by John Corey Whaley! This is the first time a book has won both the Morris and the Printz, although not the first time a debut author has won the Printz.


The Alex Awards, given to the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences:

  • Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoskin
  • In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard
  • The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
  • The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens by Brooke Hauser
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • Robopocalypse: A Novel by Daniel H. Wilson
  • Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
  • The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston
  • The Talk-Funny Girl by Roland Merullo

In addition to the six big awards listed above, young adult literature won a couple more awards on Monday! These are awards that are either given to several age groups (like the Schnieder Family Book Award, which is given to a book for ages 0-8, 9-13, and 14-18) or, like the Odyssey Award, given to any book for young people, regardless of age. I’ve only included YA winners here, but you can find full lists on ALA’s website!

Odyssey Award for best audiobook for children and/or young adults:

Winner: Rotters, written by Daniel Kraus and narrated by Kirby Heyborne.


  • Ghetto Cowboy, written by G. Neri and narrated by JD Jackson
  • Okay for Now, written by Gary D. Schmidt and narrated by Lincoln Hoppe
  • The Scorpio Races, written by Maggie Stiefvater and narrated by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham
  • Young Fredle, produced by Listening Library, written by Cynthia Voigt and narrated by Wendy Carter

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience:

Teen Winner: The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

Pura Belpré (Author) Award:

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall


  • Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck by Margarita Engle
  • Maximilian and the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller by Xavier Garza (middle grade)

Stonewall Book Award-Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the LGBT experience:

Winner: Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy written by Bil Wright


  • a + e 4ever, drawn and written by Ilike Merey
  • Money Boy by Paul Yee
  • Pink by Lili Wilkinson
  • With or Without You by Brian Farrey

I don’t know about you, but my reading list just got a lot longer!

— Emily Calkins, currently reading The Lost Hero

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  1. Brian Brian

    I love the Alex awards–I haven’t read a pick from that list (in any year) that I haven’t enjoyed. This being the case, it was the list I instantly wanted to turn into a handout for my teen area.

    I just wish they had blurbed the ten titles picked, and not just the other nominees…

  2. […] my favorite YALSA Book List is one that we didn’t mention in our Youth Media Awards wrap-up last week (because it wasn’t put out until after the YMAs): the Best Fiction for Young Adults list […]

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