Bright and early on January 22, while many of us were still sleeping, breakfasting, or commuting, librarians and other youth literature enthusiasts gathered excitedly in person at the Baltimore Convention Center, or virtually on the webcast, for the announcement of the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards.
Honoring the best and most distinguished books and other media published for children and teens in the United States, what began with the Newbery and Caldecott Medals has grown to encompass a whole host of awards: the Printz, the Coretta Scott Kings, the Belpré, the Siebert, the Geisel, the Schneider, the Alex, the Excellence in Nonfiction, the Morris, the Batchelder, the Odyssey, the Stonewall, the American Indian Youth Literature, Sydney Taylor Awards, and more.
On Monday, the Newbery Medal went to The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers, while five honor books were named, and the Caldecott went for the first time to a Black woman illustrator — Vashti Harrison for Big. There were also four Caldecott honors. For this year’s Printz award, the short story anthology The Collectors: Stories, edited by Pennsylvanian A.S. King. took home the gold while four honor titles were also chosen.
Each award has its criteria, and the committees that chose the recipients work independently from one another, so it’s not unusual to see the same title cropping up in multiple categories. This year, for example, the graphic memoir MexiKid by Pedro Martín earned a Newbery Honor, two Belpré Awards — for both writing and illustration — and an Odyssey Honor. Other titles that popped up in multiple categories were Big, Simon Sort of Says, Holding Her Own: The Exceptional Life of Jackie Ormes, Henry Like Always, and Rez Ball.
Additionally, various Achievement Awards were announced, recognizing the breadth of contributions that writers have made to children’s and teen literature throughout their careers. Recipients of these honors were Christopher Paul Curtis, Pam Muñoz Ryan, and Neal Shusterman. Philly resident and author Kyle Lukoff was chosen to deliver the ALSC Children’s Literature Lecture.
Watch the Youth Media Awards webcast and see a complete list of winners on the American Library Association's website.
Take a look at the 2024 Youth Media Awards booklist in the Free Library's catalog so you can easily request copies for yourself or add them to your to-read lists. Check them out for yourself and let us know what you think of the committee's choices!