ALA Announces 2019 Adult, Youth Award Winners

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The American Library Association (ALA) has announced the winners of this year’s Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction and the winners of this year’s ALA Youth Media Awards, including the Newbery and Caldecott Medals. The award winners were revealed at the association’s Midwinter Meeting, held January 25–29 in Seattle. The awards will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference, to be held June 20–25 in Washington, D.C.

This year’s winners are:

For Adults

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, recognizing the best fiction book for adult readers published in the U.S. the previous year: The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (Viking)

Great Believers cover

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, recognizing the best nonfiction book for adult readers published in the U.S. the previous year: Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon (Scribner)

More information regarding the winning titles is available on the Andrew Carnegie Medals website.

For Children

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature: Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina (Candlewick Press)

Newbery Honor Books: The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani (Dial Books for Young Readers) and The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, illustrated by Ian Schoenherr (Greenwillow Books)

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children: Hello Lighthouse, illustrated and written by Sophie Blackall (Little, Brown and Company)

Caldecott Honor Books: Alma and How She Got Her Name, illustrated and written by Juana Martinez-Neal (Candlewick Press); A Big Mooncake for Little Star, illustrated and written by Grace Lin (Little, Brown and Company); The Rough Patch, illustrated and written by Brian Lies (Greenwillow Books); and Thank You, Omu!, illustrated and written by Oge Mora (Little, Brown and Company)

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults: A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfield (Clarion Books)

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award: The Stuff of Stars, illustrated by Ekua Holmes (Candlewick Press)

Heavy cover

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award: Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson (Katherine Tegen Books)

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award: Thank You, Omu!, illustrated and written by Oge Mora (Little, Brown and Company)

Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Pauletta Brown Bracy

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperTeen)

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

For ages 0 to 10: Rescue & Jessica A Life-Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, illustrated by Scott Magoon (Candlewick Press)

For ages 11 to 13: The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor (Katherine Tegen Books)

For ages 13 to 18: Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro (A Tor Teen Book) 

Alex Awards, administrated by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) to the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences:

  • The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark (
  • The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir (Knopf)
  • Circe by Madeline Miller (Little, Brown and Company)
  • Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (Random House)
  • The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil (Crown Publishing Group)
  • Green by Sam Graham-Felsen (Random House)
  • Home After Dark, written and illustrated by David Small (Liveright)
  • How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill)
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)

Merci coverChildren’s Literature Legacy Award (previously known as the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award) honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the U.S., have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children: Walter Dean Myers

Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults: M.T. Anderson

2019 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award, recognizing an author, critic, librarian, historian, or teacher of children’s literature who then presents a lecture at a winning host site: Neil Gaiman

Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children’s book translated from a foreign language and subsequently published in the U.S.: The Fox on the Swing (Laime Yra Lape), written by Evelina Daciūtė and illustrated by Aušra Kiudulaitė, translated from Lithuanian by The Translation Bureau (Thames & Hudson, Inc.)

Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the U.S.: Sadie by Courtney Summers, narrated by Rebecca Soler, Fred Berman, Dan Bittner, Gabra Zackman, etc. (produced by Macmillan Audio, published by Wednesday Books)

Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award, honoring a Latino illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm, and celebrate the Latino cultural experience: Dreamers, illustrated and written by Yuyi Morales (Neil Porter Books)

Pura Belpré (Author) Award, honoring a Latino writer whose children’s books best portray, affirm, and celebrate the Latino cultural experience: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperTeen)

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children: The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Hello Universe cover

Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award (inaugural), honoring a digital media producer that has created distinguished digital media for an early learning audience: Play and Learn Science, produced by PBS Kids

Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award, given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender experience: Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love (Candlewick Press) and Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender (Scholastic Press)

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book: Fox the Tiger, written and illustrated by Corey R. Tabor (Balzer + Bray)

William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens: Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (Dial Books)

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults: The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, for a book that promotes Asian/Pacific American culture and heritage and is awarded based on literary and artistic merit: Picture Book Category: Drawn Together, written by Minh Lê and illustrated by Dan Santat (Disney Hyperion); Children’s Literature: Front Desk by Kelly Yang (Arthur A. Levine Books); and Young Adult Literature: Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (Dial Books)

Sydney Taylor Book Award, for outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience: Younger Readers Category: All-of-a-Kind-Family Hanukkah, written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Paul Zelinsky (Schwartz & Wade); Older Readers: Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier (Amulet Books); and Teen Readers: What the Night Sings, written and illustrated by Vesper Stamper (Alfred A. Knopf)

More information on the 2019 ALA Youth Media Award winners, as well as this year’s Youth Media Award honor books, is available on the ALA website.