Best Books for Youth

Earlier this year, the Newbery and Caldecott award ceremony rounded out Book Award season by honoring the best books in children and teen literature. Here's what made the cut! Be sure to check them out! You can place a hold on the titles you want by clicking on the title, which will take you to our catalog.

National Book Award for Young People:
Awarded annually in November, this ceremony by the American Booksellers Association and the National Book Foundation awards books in four categories as well as giving lifetime achievements awards to two authors. Their mission is  "to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America."

Winner in Young People's Literature: Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman (recommended grades 7 and up)

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin (recommended grades 5 and up)
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (recommended grades 9 and up)
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin (recommended grades 7 and up)
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (recommended grades 7 and up) 

The following awards are all given by the American Library Association annually in January at the Youth Media Awards.

John Newbery Medal, for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature.

Winner: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson (recommended grades K-3)

The War that Saved My Lifeby Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (recommended grades 4-8)
Roller Girl written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson (recommended grades 4-8)
Echo written by Pam Muñoz Ryan (recommended grades 5 and up)

Randolph Caldecott Medal, for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

Winner: Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, illustrated by Sophie Blackall and written by Lindsay Mattick (recommended grades K-3)

Trombone Shorty illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Troy Andrews (recommended grades PreK-3)
Waiting, illustrated and written by Kevin Henkes (recommended grades PreK-3)
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, illustrated by Ekua Holmes and written by Carole Boston Weatherford (recommended grades 5+)
Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson and written by Matt de le Peña (recommended grades K-3)


Coretta Scott King Book Awards, recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:

Gone Crazy in Alabama, written by Rita Williams-Garcia, is the King Author Book winner (recommended grades 4-8) and Trombone Shorty, illustrated by Bryan Collier, is the King Illustrator Book winner.

Honors (Author):
All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
The Boy in the Black Suit, by Jason Reynolds
X: A Novel, by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon
(all three recommended grades 7 and up) 

Honors (Illustrator):
The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson (recommended grades 1-4)
Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson and written by Matt de la Peña (recommended grades K-3)


Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award:

Hoodoo, written by Ronald L. Smith, is the Steptoe author award winner. (recommended grades 4-6)
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement is the illustrator award winner.  (recommended grades 5+)


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

Bone Gap, written by Laura Ruby

Out of Darkness, by Ashley Hope Pérez
The Ghosts of Heaven, by Marcus Sedgwick.

(all recommended grades 7 and up) 


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

Ages 0-10:
Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, written by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls

Ages 11-13:
Fish in a Tree, written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt and published by Penguin Group, Nancy Paulsen Books
The War that Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, written by Teresa Toten


Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences:

All Involved, by Ryan Gattis 
Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates (this was also the National Book Award Winner for adult literature)
Bones & All, by Camille DeAngelis
Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, by David Wong
Girl at War, by Sara Nović
Half the World, by Joe Abercrombie
Humans of New York: Stories, by Brandon Stanton
Sacred Heart, by Liz Suburbia
Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League, by Dan-el Padilla Peralta
The Unraveling of Mercy Louis, by Keija Parssinen

 (all recommended grades 9+)

Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children’s book translated from a foreign language:

Winner: The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy” originally published in French in 2014 as Le merveilleux Dodu-Velu-Petit, written and illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna and translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick. (Recommended grades K-3)

Adam and Thomas, written by Aharon Appelfeld, iIllustrated by Philippe Dumas and translated from the Hebrew by Jeffrey M. Green (recommended grades 4-6)
Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village, written by Fang Suzhen, illustrated by Sonja Danowski and translated from the Chinese by Huang Xiumin
Written and Drawn by Henrietta, written, illustrated and translated from the Spanish by Liniers. (Recommended grades 1-3)


Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States:

The War that Saved My Life
, produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group, written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and narrated by Jayne Entwistle.

Echo, produced by Scholastic Audio/Paul R. Gagne, written by Pam Muñoz Ryan and narrated by Mark Bramhall, David de Vries, MacLeod Andrews and Rebecca Soler.

Pura Belpré Award honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience:

Winner (Illustrator):
Drum Dream Girl, illustrated by Rafael López and written by Margarita Engle (Recommended grades K-3)

Winner (Author):
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir, written by Margarita Engle (recommended grades 5-8)

Illustrator Honors:
My Tata’s Remedies = Los remedios de mi tata, illustrated by Antonio Castro L. and written by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford (Recommended grades 2-4)
Mango, Abuela, and Me, illustrated by Angela Dominguez and written by Meg Medina (Recommended grades PreK-2)
Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras, illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh (Recommended grades 3-6)

Author Honors: 
The Smoking Mirror, written by David Bowles (Recommended grades 5-8)
Mango, Abuela, and Me, written by Meg Medina, illustrated by Angela Dominguez

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children:

Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras, written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, written and illustrated by Don Brown (Recommended grades 6+)
The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club, by Phillip Hoose (Recommended grades 7+)
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March, written by Lynda Blackmon Lowery as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley, illustrated by PJ Loughran (Recommended grades 7+)
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes and published by Candlewick Press.


Stonewall Book Award given annually to children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience:

Winner (children):
George, written by Alex Gino (Recommended grades 3-6)

Winner (teen):
The Porcupine of Truth, written by Bill Konigsberg (Recommended grades 7+)

Wonders of the Invisible World, written by Christopher Barzak (recommended grades 7+)
Sex is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and YOU, written by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth, illustrated by Fiona Smyth (recommended grades 2-6)


Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book:

Don’t Throw It to Mo!, written by David A. Adler and illustrated by Sam Ricks is the Seuss Award winner. 

A Pig, a Fox, and a Box, written and illustrated by Jonathan Fenske
Supertruck, written and illustrated by Stephen Savage
Waiting, written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes and published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

 (all recommended grades PreK-2)

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

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, written by Becky Albertalli is the 2016 Morris Award winner. 

Because You’ll Never Meet Me, written by Leah Thomas
Conviction, written by Kelly Loy Gilbert
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, written by Stephanie Oakes
The Weight of Feathers, written by Anna-Marie McLemore

(all recommended grades 7+)


YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults: 

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War, written by Steve Sheinkin (recommended grades 7+)

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