ALA announces 2016 youth media award winners; includes BONE GAP, David Levithan

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simon vs the homo sapiens agenda becky albertalliThe American Library Association announced its 2016 youth media award winners, honoring the best of YA books across multiple categories.

One of, if not the biggest, prize of the youth media awards is the Michael L. Printz Award, which honors excellence in literature written for young adults. The highly-acclaimed Bone Gap by Laura Ruby took home the top prize. Two honor books were also named: Ashley Hope Pérez’s Out of Darkness and Marcus Sedgwick’s The Ghosts of Heaven.

Right behind the Printz in prestige is the William C. Morris Award, which honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens. The beloved Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli took home the top prize. The four other finalists were Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas, Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes and The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore.

The Margaret A. Edward Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults went to David Levithan. His books include The Realm of Possibility, Boy Meets Boy, and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. When Levithan isn’t writing, he’s an editor at Scholastic, and edited the Stonewall Book Award-winning George by Alex Gino.

The Coretta Scott King Book Award, which recognizes an African American author or illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults, named three YA books as honor titles: Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely’s All American Boys, Jason Reynolds’ The Boy in the Black Suit and Ilyasah Shabazz’s X: A Novel. The overall award went to Rita Williams-Garcia’s middle-grade novel Gone Crazy in Alabama.

The Schneider Family Book Award, for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience, chose The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten as the winner of their teen category.

The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg won the Stonewall Book Award, given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.

The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults went to Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin. Four other finalists were named: Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle, First Flight Around the World: The Adventures of the American Fliers Who Won the Race by Tim Grove, Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M.T. Anderson and This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon by Nancy Plain.

The Alex Awards awarded ten adult books that appeal to teen audiences, including Ta-Nehisi Coates’ memoir Between the World and Me and Joe Abercrombie’s fantasy Half the World.

Other winners of note included Matt de la Peña, a YA author whose picture book Last Stop on Market Street made him the first Latino to win the John Newberry Medal for most outstanding contribution to children’s literature. It’s also the first time a picture book has won that honor.

A full video of the ceremony can be seen at the ALA website.

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Nicole Brinkley

Nicole is the editor of YA Interrobang. She has short hair and loves dragons. The rest changes without notice. Follow her on Twitter at @nebrinkley or Tumblr at nebrinkley. Like her work? Leave her a tip.

1 Comment

  1. Julia E.

    Now I’m even more depressed that I couldn’t make it to ALA! Simon Vs. and Because You’ll Never Meet Me were two of my favourite books in 2015 … I’m so glad they were recognised!!!!