The American Library Association each year recognizes the top books, digital media, video and audio books for children and young adults. ALA awards — judged by librarians and other literature and media experts — help guide parents, educators, librarians and teachers in selecting educational materials. Here are five noteworthy 2021 winners. For more information and award-winners, visit ala.org/yma
- “Before the Ever After” ($17.99, Nancy Paulsen Books) by Jacqueline Woodson, is the Coretta Scott King Author Book Award winner recognizing an African-American author for outstanding books for children and young adults. 12-year-old ZJ faces his father’s mental decline following football fame. Recommended for ages 10-14.
- “Everything Sad Is Untrue (A True Story)” ($17.99, Arthur A. Levine) by Daniel Nayeri, won the 2021 Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults. Daniel’s classmates don’t believe his stories about life as a refugee. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
- “R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul,” ($18.99, Atheneum Books for Young Readers) illustrated by Frank Morrison and written by Carole Boston Weatherford, is the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book Award winner. Learn about Franklin’s rise from church choir to civil rights advocate. Recommended for age 4-8.
- “See the Cat: Three Stories about a Dog,” ($8.99, Candlewick Press) written by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka, won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book. Spoofing classic primers, Max the Dog will have early readers laughing out loud. Recommended for ages 4-8.
- “We Are Water Protectors,” ($17.99, Roaring Brook Press), illustrated by Michaela Goade and written by Carole Lindstrom, is the 2021, Caldecott Medal winner honoring the most distinguished American picture book for children. Both Goade and Lindstrom are Indigenous women — marking a first for the recipient of the Caldecott Medal. When a snake threatens to destroy the Earth’s most sacred resource, a young water protector rises up. Recommended for ages 3-6.
- “When You Trap a Tiger,” ($16.99, Random House Children’s Books) by Tae Keller, is the 2021 Newbery Medal winner, honoring the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Korean folklore comes to life as Lily goes on a quest to unlock the power of stories and save her grandmother. Recommended for ages 8-12.