There are several ways to approach the 2021 Reading Challenge here at The Hub, though there’s no easy way to five in a row! One way to get started is to look at the 2021 ALA YMA winners and honorees, many of which can fill more than one spot on the Bingo board.
Let’s begin with those top corners. The Odyssey Award is given each year to excellent audiobooks produced for children or young adults. The 2021 winner was Kent State by Deborah Wiles, which is also a full-cast audiobook, so it would work for either corner. Another award-winning title with a full cast audiobook is Traci Chee’s We Are Not Free, a 2021 Printz honor book.
Another amazing book that could check several boxes is Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. A 2021 Stonewall honor title (affiliate award, row 4), this book features a trans protagonist (top row) who is Black (BIPOC main character, row 2). Thanks to the work of Callender and other writers, trans protagonists are finally getting more attention, so keep your eye out for new titles that fit this category, like Between Perfect & Real (pub. April 2021) by Ray Stoeve and The Witch King (pub. June 2021) by H. E. Edgmon, both also debuts (top row).
For debuts that have already been celebrated, try the 2021 Morris Award winner (here’s our interview with author Kyrie McCauley) and finalists. You can claim the “amazing debut” square with one of these, OR with any debut published this year.
The Edwards Award is given to an author’s specific body of work, and 2021 recipient Kekla Magoon saw honors for four of her titles: Fire in the Streets, How it Went Down, The Rock and the River, and X: A Novel. Read two of these to earn the bottom left block.
For the 2021 Alex Award winners (row 2), you can choose from fiction or nonfiction, humor or thrillers — there’s something here for every reader:
- Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
- The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
- The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice – Crossing Antarctica Alone by Colin O’Brady
- Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio by Derf Backderf
- The Kids Are Gonna Ask by Gretchen Anthony
- The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
- Plain Bad Heroines by emily m. danforth
- Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi
- Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh
- We Ride Upon Sticks: A Novel by Quan Barry
Another square that might not be clear to all participants is the one pointing you to 2021 Affiliate Award winners (row 4). This square is referring to any YMA winner coming from ALA roundtables or affiliates. In addition to the Stonewall award, mentioned above, you can earn this square by reading a title from these 2021 awards:
- The Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, for titles about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage
- The Coretta Scott King Book Awards, for titles by Black authors and illustrators reflecting the Black experience
- The Schneider Family Book Award, for expression of a disability experience
- The Sydney Taylor Book Award, for authentic portrayal of the Jewish experience
And of course, any of these titles might make you cry or laugh out loud or make you want to write a letter to the author or finish the whole thing in one day! Just remember: No double dipping! One reading experience per square, please!
You may play along with the Challenge without signing up, but if you’d like to be on the official list of Challenge participants, grab the sign-up form, and let us know if you have additional questions. Sign-ups will close on March 31, and our first check-in will take place in April. Next time, we’ll talk about ways to stay connected and anticipate those 2022 Selected Lists or Printz contenders. We’ll also highlight some more notable debuts.