Amina Luqman-Dawson has won the 2023 John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature, for her novel Freewater (Little, Brown/Patterson), edited by Alexandra Hightower. Doug Salati has won the 2023 Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book for children, for Hot Dog (Knopf), edited by Rotem Moscovich. And All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir (Razorbill), edited by Ruta Rimas, has won the 2023 Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults. The Youth Media Awards were announced Monday morning, January 30, during the American Library Association’s LibLearnXconference in New Orleans.
Freewater follows two enslaved children’s escape from a plantation and the many ways they find freedom. In Hot Dog, an overheated dog gets tired of summer in the city, and gets taken to the beach by his owner for some fresh air. And All My Rage traces a working-class Pakistani American family across two generations, exploring themes of grief, racism, financial need, trauma, and substance abuse. (See our interviews with the three winners here.)
Three Newbery Honor Books were announced: Iveliz Explains It All by Andrea Beatriz Arango (Random House); The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat (Candlewick); and Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee (Random House).
There were four Caldecott Honor Books: Ain’t Burned All the Bright, illustrated by Jason Griffin, written by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy); Berry Song, illustrated and written by Michaela Goade (Little, Brown); Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement, illustrated by Janelle Washington, written by Angela Joy (Roaring Brook); and Knight Owl, illustrated and written by Christopher Denise (Little, Brown/Ottaviano).
Luqman-Dawson is a debut novelist. Salati won the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor award in 2020; and Tahir won the 2022 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for All My Rage in November. This was Soontornvat’s third Newbery Honor in three years, and Goade won the 2021 Caldecott Medal.
The Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults went to Jason Reynolds, whose books include Long Way Down, Ghost, All American Boys, and When I Was the Greatest.
The Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement went to Dr. Claudette McLinn. McLinn is the founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature, and is a retired district supervising librarian for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The Children’s Literature Legacy Award, which honors an author or illustrator whose books have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children, was given to James E. Ransome. His many works for children include Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, which won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award in 1994, and The Creation, given the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award in 1995.
Author Rita Williams-Garcia will deliver the 2024 ALSC Children’s Literature Lecture, given each year by an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature.
The Mildred L. Batchelder Award for best work of translation went to Just a Girl: A True Story of World War II, originally published in Italian as Una bambina e basta. Raccontata agli altri bambini e basta, written by Lia Levi, illustrated by Jess Mason, and translated by Sylvia Notini (HarperCollins). There were three Batchelder Honor Books: Different: A Story of the Spanish Civil War, written by Mónica Montañés, illustrated by Eva Sánchez Gómez, and translated by Lawrence Schimel (Eerdmans); Dragonfly Eyes, written by Cao Wenxuan and translated by Helen Wang (Candlewick); and João by a Thread, written and illustrated by Roger Mello and translated by Daniel Hahn (Elsewhere Editions).
The John Steptoe New Talent Awards went to illustrator Janelle Washington for Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till- Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement, written by Angela Joy (Roaring Brook); and author Jas Hammonds for We Deserve Monuments (Roaring Brook).
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards spotlight an African American author and illustrator for outstanding works for children and young adults. The Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award was given to Frank Morrison for Standing in the Need of Prayer: A Modern Retelling of the Classic Spiritual, written by Carole Boston Weatherford (Crown). The Coretta Scott King Award Author Award went to Amina Luqman-Dawson for Freewater (Little, Brown/Patterson).
The King Author Honor Books are: Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi (Dutton); The Talk, written by Alicia D. Williams, illustrated by Briana Mukodiri Uchendu (Atheneum); and Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice, written by Tommie Smith and Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile (Norton Young Readers).
The King Illustrator Honors are: Me and the Boss: A Story About Mending and Love, illustrated by April Harrison, written by Michelle Edwards (Random House/Anne Schwartz); Swim Team, illustrated and written by Johnnie Christmas (HarperAlley); and Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice, illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile, written by Tommie Smith and Derrick Barnes (Norton Young Readers).
The Robert F. Sibert Award for the most distinguished informational book for children went to Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams’s Photographs Reveal About the Japanese American Incarceration, written by Elizabeth Partridge and illustrated by Lauren Tamaki (Chronicle). Four Sibert Honor Books were named: Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement, written by Angela Joy, illustrated by Janelle Washington (Roaring Brook); A Seed Grows by Antoinette Portis (Holiday House/Neal Porter); Sweet Justice: Georgia Gilmore and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, written by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (Random House Studio); and The Tower of Life: How Yaffa Eliach Rebuilt Her Town in Stories and Photographs, written by Chana Stiefel, illustrated by Susan Gal (Scholastic Press).
The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults went to Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice, written by Tommie Smith and Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile (Norton Young Readers). Four finalists were chosen: Abuela, Don’t Forget Me by Rex Ogle (Norton Young Readers); American Murderer: The Parasite That Haunted the South by Gail Jarrow (Calkins Creek); A Face for Picasso: Coming of Age with Crouzon Syndrome by Ariel Henley (FSG); and Unequal: A Story of America by Michael Eric Dyson and Marc Favreau (Little, Brown).
The Pura Belpré Awards, honoring a Latinx writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm, and celebrate the Latino cultural experience, went to Where Wonder Grows, illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia, written by Xelena González (Lee & Low/Cinco Puntos), for the Youth Illustration Award.
Six Belpré Youth Illustration Honor Books were selected: The Coquíes Still Sing, illustrated by Krystal Quiles, written by Karina Nicole González (Roaring Brook); A Land of Books: Dreams of Young Mexihcah Word Painters, illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh (Abrams); Magic: Once Upon a Faraway Land, illustrated and written by Mirelle Ortega (Cameron Kids); Phenomenal AOC: The Roots and Rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, illustrated by Loris Lora, written by Anika Aldamuy Denise (HarperCollins); Srta. Quinces, illustrated and written by Kat Fajardo, translated by Scholastic Inc. (Graphix); and Still Dreaming/Seguimos soñando, illustrated by Magdalena Mora, written by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez, translated by Luis Humberto Crosthwaite (Lee & Low/Children’s Book Press).
Frizzy, written by Claribel A. Ortega, illustrated by Rose Bousamra (First Second), is the 2023 Pura Belpré Children’s Author Award winner. Three Belpré Children’s Author Honor Books were named: The Coquíes Still Sing, written by Karina Nicole González, illustrated by Krystal Quiles (Roaring Brook); The Notebook Keeper: A Story of Kindness from the Border, written by Stephen Briseño, illustrated by Magdalena Mora (Random House Studio); and Tumble by Celia C. Pérez (Kokila).
Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado (Sourcebooks Fire) is the 2023 Pura Belpré Young Adult Author Award winner. Three Belpré Young Adult Author Honor Book were named: Breathe and Count Back from Ten by Natalia Sylvester (Clarion); High Spirits by Camille Gomera-Tavarez (Arthur A. Levine); and The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes (Balzer + Bray).
The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen by Isaac Blum (Philomel) won the William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens. Four finalists were previously chosen in the category: The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson (Heartdrum); Wake the Bones by Elizabeth Kilcoyne (Wednesday); The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes (Balzer + Bray); and Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White (Peachtree Teen).
The Stonewall Book Award–Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award, given to children’s and YA books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender experience, went to Love, Violet, written by Charlotte Sullivan Wild, illustrated by Charlene Chua (FSG) for the children’s award, and When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb (Arthur A. Levine) for the young adult award.
Four Stonewall Honor Books for children’s literature were selected: In the Key of Us by Mariama J. Lockington (FSG); Kapaemahu, written by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, and Joe Wilson, illustrated by Daniel Sousa (Kokila); The Real Riley Mayes, written and illustrated by Rachel Elliott (Balzer + Bray/HarperAlley); and Strong, written by Rob Kearney and Eric Rosswood, illustrated by Nidhi Chanani (Little, Brown).
Four Stonewall Honor Books for Young Adult Literature were selected: I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (Wednesday); Kings of B’more by R. Eric Thomas (Kokila); Man o’ War by Cory McCarthy (Dutton); and The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson (Heartdrum).
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book went to I Did It!, written and illustrated by Michael Emberley (Holiday House). Four Geisel Honor Books were chosen: Fish and Wave, written and illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier (HarperAlley); Gigi and Ojiji, written and illustrated by Melissa Iwai (Harper); Owl and Penguin, written and illustrated by Vikram Madan (Holiday House); and A Seed Grows, written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis (Holiday House/Neal Porter).
The Schneider Family Book Awards winners were: for young children, Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion by Shannon Stocker, illustrated by Devon Holzwarth (Dial); for middle grade, Wildoak by C.C Harrington (Scholastic Press); and for teens, The Words We Keep by Erin Stewart (Delacorte).
The winners of the Sydney Taylor Awards were The Tower of Life: How Yaffa Eliach Rebuilt Her Town in Stories and Photographs, written by Chana Stiefel and illustrated by Susan Gal (Scholastic Press), for picture book; Aviva vs. the Dybbuk by Mari Lower (Arthur A. Levine), for middle grade; and When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb (Arthur A. Levine), for young adult.
The picture book honors for the Sydney Taylor Book Award went to Big Dreams, Small Fish, written and illustrated by Paula Cohen (Arthur A. Levine); The Very Best Sukkah: A Story from Uganda, by Shoshana Nambi, illustrated by Moran Yogev (Kalaniot); and Sitting Shiva by Erin Silver, illustrated by Michelle Theodore (Orca). The middle grade honors went to Honey and Me, by Meira Drazin (Scholastic Press); Black Bird, Blue Road by Sofiya Pasternack (Versify); and Ellen Outside the Lines by A.J. Sass (Little, Brown). The Young Adult honor books were My Fine Fellow: A Delicious Entanglement, by Jennieke Cohen (HarperTeen); Some Kind of Hate by Sarah Darer Littman (Scholastic Press); and Eight Nights of Flirting by Hannah Reynolds (Razorbill).
The Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature went to From the Tops of the Trees by Kao Kalia Yang (Lerner/Carolrhoda) in the picture book category; Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee (Random House) in the children’s literature category; and Himawari House by Harmony Becker (First Second) in the Youth/Young Adult Literature category. Each category had one honor book: Nana, Nenek & Nina, written and illustrated by Liza Ferneyhough (Dial) in the picture book category; Troublemaker, written by John Cho with Sarah Suk (Little, Brown) in the Children’s Literature category; and The Silence That Binds Us, written by Joanna Ho (HarperTeen), in the Youth/Young Adult Literature category.
The Odyssey Awards for best audiobook production went to Stuntboy in the Meantime, produced by Taryn Beato for Simon & Schuster Audio, written by Jason Reynolds, and narrated by Guy Lockard, Nile Bullock, and Angel Pean with a full cast; and The Honeys, produced by Melissa Ellard for Scholastic Audio, written by Ryan La Sala and narrated by Pete Cross.