Now this is the kind of awards season news parents can really use: On Monday, the American Library Association announced some of the top prizes in literature for kids and young adults, including the Caldecott, Newbery, Printz and Coretta Scott King awards. Considering how overwhelming it can be to help kids choose quality reading material these days, this is an excellent way to make your next reading list.
The librarians and literature experts who select the winners have gone above and beyond to award a broad range of authors and subject matter that looks like the world we live in today (ahem, white male canon). From James Yang’s delightful picture book Stop! Bot! to Kwame Alexander’s poetic illustrated nonfiction book about Black life in America, The Undefeated, to A.S. King’s latest surreal YA tale, Dig, these books can bring new worlds and others’ experiences to life for all kinds of growing young minds.
Peruse this list, and get ready to be inspired and entertained right alongside your kids.
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‘The Undefeated,’ by Kwame Alexander
Alexander originally performed this poem for the ESPN show of the same name, describing the struggles to overcome slavery and racism in America, highlighting the work of Black heroes. Illustrator Kadir Nelson’s pictures give the words even more impact, helping this book earn the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children, as well as the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book Award.
‘New Kid,’ by Jerry Craft
The graphic novel about a seventh grader who becomes one of the only kids of color in his new fancy private school just won the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature. It also won the Coretta Scott King Author Book Award.
‘Genesis Begins Again,’ by Alicia D. Williams
Thirteen-year-old Genesis hates her dark skin and 99 other things about herself, but when she and her mother go to live with her grandmother, she has a chance to start seeing herself differently. This novel just landed Williams the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award.
‘Dig,’ by A.S. King
King’s YA novels are always immersive, weird and eye-opening, and this story of five teenagers uncovering the terrible truth about their seemingly respectable suburban white family is no exception. It’s this year’s Michael L. Printz Award winner for best book written for teens.
‘Stop! Bot!’ by James Yang
As a very helpful doorman tries to help a boy retrieve his flying bot, young readers get to look inside some very unusual goings on in each apartment of the building. Voyeurism starts young in this Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner for most distinguished beginning reader book.
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