Posted in Award Winners, Fiction, Kids 0-5, Kids 5-12, Nonfiction, Teen & Young Adult, Uncategorized

Children’s Award Books 2023

The American Library Association announced the winners of the 2023 Youth Media Awards on Monday. Materials for children and teens were selected by committees of literature and media specialists under different categories for their excellence. Take a look at some of these exceptional award winners below and click on the links to reserve your copies through our catalog. Scroll to the bottom of the post for a link to the full list of this year’s award recipients.

John Newbery Medal

Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson

The John Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. This year’s winner is Freewater, written by Amina Luqman-Dawson.

“Under the cover of night, twelve-year-old Homer flees Southerland Plantation with his little sister Ada, unwillingly leaving their beloved mother behind. Much as he adores her and fears for her life, Homer knows there’s no turning back, not with the overseer on their trail. Through tangled vines, secret doorways, and over a sky bridge, the two find a secret community called Freewater, deep in the swamp. In this society created by formerly enslaved people and some freeborn children, Homer finds new friends, almost forgetting where he came from. But when he learns of a threat that could destroy Freewater, he crafts a plan to find his mother and help his new home. Deeply inspiring and loosely based on the history of maroon communities in the South, this is a striking tale of survival, adventure, friendship, and courage.”

Three Newbery Honor Books were also named this year:

Randolph Caldecott Medal

Hot Dog by Doug Salati

The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded annually by the ALSC to the artist of the most distinguished illustrated American children’s book. This year’s winner is Hot Dog, illustrated and written by Doug Salati.

“This hot dog has had enough of summer in the city! Enough of sizzling sidewalks, enough of wailing sirens, enough of people’s feet right in his face. When he plops down in the middle of a crosswalk, his owner endeavors to get him the breath of fresh air he needs. She hails a taxi, hops a train, and ferries out to the beach.”

There were also four Caldecott Honor Books named this year:

Michael L. Printz Award

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

The Michael L. Printz Award is awarded to a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature by the Young Adult Library Services Association. This year’s winner is All My Rage, written by Sabaa Tahir.

“Lahore, Pakistan. Then. Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Clouds’ Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start. Juniper, California. Now. Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until The Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding. Now, Sal scrambles to run the family motel as his mother Misbah’s health fails and his grieving father loses himself to alcoholism. Noor, meanwhile, walks a harrowing tightrope: working at her wrathful uncle’s liquor store while hiding the fact that she’s applying to college so she can escape him–and Juniper–forever. When Sal’s attempts to save the motel spiral out of control, he and Noor must ask themselves what friendship is worth–and what it takes to defeat the monsters in their pasts and the ones in their midst. From one of today’s most cherished and bestselling young adult authors comes a breathtaking novel of young love, old regrets, and forgiveness–one that’s both tragic and poignant in its tender ferocity.”

Four Printz Honor Books were also named this year:

Pura Belpré Awards

Frizzy written by Claribel A. Ortega and illustrated by Rose Bousamra
Where Wonder Grows illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia and written by Xelena González

Pura Belpré Awards are awarded annually by the ALSC and REFORMA. They are awarded to a Latinx writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latinx cultural experience.

The Pura Belpré Author Award winner this year is Frizzy, written by Claribel A. Ortega and illustrated by Rose Bousamra.

“Marlene loves three things: books, Her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. But according to her mother, Paola, the only thing she needs to focus on is school and “growing up.” That means straightening her hair every weekend so she could have “presentable good hair.” But Marlene hates being in the salon and doesn’t understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. With a few hiccups, a dash of embarrassment, and the much-needed help of Camila and Tía Ruby–she slowly starts a journey to learn to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair.”

The Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winner for this year is Where Wonder Grows, illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia and written by Xelena González.

“A grandmother explores her special garden with her granddaughters. Wonder grows everywhere but Grandmother especially loves to show it in her story garden. She invites her granddaughters to join her there in a sweet meditation on the treasures she’s brought to that magical place–the rocks, the shells, the crystals, the meteorites : how they came to be, how they were formed, how they each have a story to tell.”

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal

The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is awarded annually by the ALSC to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year. The winner is 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.

“Legendary photographers Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams all photographed the Japanese American incarceration, but with different approaches and different results. This nonfiction picture book for middle grade readers examines the Japanese-American incarceration and the complexity of documenting it through the work of these three photographers.”

Coretta Scott King Awards

Standing in the Need of Prayer: A Modern Retelling of the Classic Spiritual, illustrated by Frank Morrison and written by Carole Boston Weatherford
Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson

The Coretta Scott King Awards are awarded to African-American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. They are administered by the ALA’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table.

The King Illustrator Book winner is Standing in the Need of Prayer: A Modern Retelling of the Classic Spiritual, illustrated by Frank Morrison and written by Carole Boston Weatherford. 

“The popular spiritual, Standing in the need of prayer, has been reworked to chronicle the milestones, struggles, tragedies, and triumphs of African American people and their history. The text and illustrations of this inspirational book are informative reminders of yesterday, hopeful images for today, and aspirational dreams of tomorrow.”

The King Author Book winner for this year is Freewater, written by Amina Luqman-Dawson. (Book summary can be found under the John Newbery Medal at the top of this list)

*View the full list of all the 2023 award winners and honor selections here