The verdicts are in: the American Library Association have announced the best kid lit of 2016 at their annual awards ceremony. The books honored this year are an amazing and diverse group — and
exactly what we want today's youth generation to be reading. The youth media award winners were announced on Monday at the ALA's Midwinter Meeting in Georgia.
ALA youth media prizes include some of the most well-respected awards in the publishing industry, including the Caldecott, Morris, Newbery and Printz awards. So it's a serious honor to be recognized — and every book on this list is more than deserving of the credit.
You won't be surprised to see
on the list; this book has already raced to the top of bestseller lists and scooped a number of awards along the way, and on Monday morning it added an impressive March: Book Three four more awards to that list. You'll also find familiar faces like Nicola Yoon, whose The Sun Is Also A Star has won the hearts of teenage book-lovers across the country. But it's also wonderful to learn about some children's and young adult books that you might not have heard of before — but that are making outstanding contributions to the field. Here are 14 of the very best.
'The Girl Who Drank The Moon' by Kelly Barnhill
Newbery Medal winner of 2017 is this middle-grade coming-of-age fairy tale about a baby girl, Luna, who is sacrificed to a witch — but the witch turns out to be good and gentle, and raises her with magic powers of her own. Click here to buy.
'Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat' by Javaka Steptoe
This strikingly beautiful biography of the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat won both the
Randolph Caldecott and the Coretta Scott King award for best illustratorthis year. Click here to buy.
'March: Book Three' by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
March: Book Three, a graphic novel about the power young people hold to change the world, won a massive four awards this year: the Michael L. Printz, the Coretta Scott King, the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award, and the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction. Click here to buy.
'The Sun Is Also A Star' by Nicola Yoon
Nicola Yoon's debut novel,
Everything Everything, is currently being turned into a highly anticipated movie starring Amandla Stenberg — and her second book is getting even more buzz. The Sun Is Also A Star was honored this year with the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award . Click here to buy.
'Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille' by Jen Bryant and Boris Kulikov
This inspiring picture-book biography received the
Schneider Family Book Award for young children, an award established to reward books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience. Click here to buy.
'As Brave As You' by Jason Reynolds
As Brave As You is about two brothers, Ernie and Genie, spending the summer with their blind grandfather — and trying to prove that they can be as brave as him. But as the summer goes on, the two boys are about to learn that bravery isn't what they thought. This book was honored with the Schneider Family Book Award for middle-grade readers. Click here to buy.
'When We Collided' by Emery Lord
When We Collided won the Schneider Family Book Award for teenage readers, with its moving depiction of bipolar disorder. Click here to buy.
'Cry, Heart, But Never Break' by Glenn Ringtved
is awarded to a book originally published in a language other than English, in a country other than the United States. Mildred L. Batchelder Award Cry, Heart, But Never Break was originally published in Danish in 2001, but was translated for its U.S. release in 2016. Click here to buy.
'Lowriders to the Center of the Earth,' illustrated by Raúl Gonzalez
Raúl Gonzalez scooped the
for his stunning illustrations in Cathy Camper's Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Lowriders to the Centre of the Earth, a graphic novel that combines science, Aztec lore, and a Spanish glossary. Click here to buy.
'Juana & Lucas' by Juana Medina
went to Pura Belpré Author Award Juana and Lucas, which was written and illustrated by Juana Medina, and tells the story of a Colombian girl's journey learning to speak English. Click here to buy.
'The Hammer of Thor' by Rick Riordan
The Hammer of Thor is this year's winner of the Stonewall Children's Book Award, for its inclusion of a gender-fluid, trans love interest for the main character. Click here to buy.
'If I Was Your Girl' by Meredith Russo
Trans author Meredith Russo won the
Stonewall Young Adult Book Award for If I Was Your Girl, a YA love story about a trans girl and a high school romance. Click here to buy.
'The Serpent King' by Jeff Zentner
goes to a first-time author writing for teens, and this year the award went to Jeff Zentner for his debut William C. Morris Award The Serpent King, which tackles religion, bullies, family, and friendship. Click here to buy.
'We Are Growing!' by Laurie Keller
The winner of the
, which is annually given to the most distinguished beginning reader book, was Theodor Seuss Geisel Award We Are Growing, which teaches young readers about superlatives via a conversation between eight leaves of grass. Click here to buy.
MiBut as well as the 14 prize-winners, there were so many wonderful runners-up that deserve mention here, too.
Newbery Medal Randolph Caldecott Coretta Scott King (Author) Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Michael L. Printz Mildred L. Batchelder Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Pura Belpré (Author) Robert Sibert Stonewall Theodor Seuss Geisel William C. Morris YALSA