Beyond the YMAs

You know the Caldecotts and Alex’s, and Stonewalls and Belpres’. Carnegies’ and Morris’ and King, Printz, and Newberys. But do you recall- any list that didn’t make the celebration brouhaha…(sung loosely to the first 30 seconds of  of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)?

We love the YMAs because we love celebrating the best books, and typically the Youth Media Awards at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting does that. Yet for all the awards that are celebrated at the YMAs there are more lists and awards that go unheralded, ones that are equally deserving of being placed in our collections- perhaps even more so because a lot of these books and lists are created by groups whose voices are marginalized within the youth and publishing community. Take some time to check out these lists and award winners, and add them to your collections:


  • AIYLA: The American Indian Youth Literature Awards are presented every two years, and honor the best in writing and illustration by and about American Indians. In 2016, The House of Purple Cedar  by Tim Tingle was selected the best YA book. The next awards will be announced in 2018. This award is through the American Indian Library Association of ALA.
  • Amelia Bloomer Project: The Amelia Bloomer Project puts together a recommended bibliography as well as a top 10 list of feminist titles for youth from birth through age 18. This list is put together annually, and is released shortly after the Midwinter Meeting. This list is through the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsiblity Round Table of ALA.
  • APAAL: The Asian Pacific American Librarians Association gives the Asian Pacific American Awards for Literature for works based on literature and artistic merit. This year’s young adult winner is Outrun the Moon by Stacy Lee.
  • Rainbow List: The Rainbow List is a recommended bibliography as well as a top 10 list of GLBTQI titles for youth from birth through age 18. This list is put together annually, and is released shortly after the Midwinter Meeting. It is co-sponsored by SRRT and GLBTRT through ALA.
  • Schnider Family Award: The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.

Those are the ones through ALA. Looking for more?

  • CABA: Children’s Africana Book Awards (CABA) are presented annually to the authors and illustrators of the best children’s and young adult books on Africa which are published or republished in the U.S.
  • Américas Award: CLASP (Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs) gives the Américas Award in recognition of U.S. works of fiction, poetry, folklore, or selected non-fiction that authentically and engagingly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the United States.
  • Woodson Book Award: The National Council for the Social Studies established the Carter G. Woodson Book Awards for the most distinguished books appropriate for young readers that depict ethnicity in the United States.
  • Lambda Literary: The “Lammys” identify and celebrate the best lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books of the year and affirm that LGBTQ stories are part of the literature of the world. The youth section can often (but not always) include Stonewall winners and honorees as well as Rainbow List selections.
  • Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award : Texas State University College of Education created the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award in 1995 to honor authors and illustrators who create literature that depicts the Mexican American experience.
  • South Asia Book Award: The South Asian National Outreach Consortium gives the SABA yearly to encourage and commend authors and publishers who produce high-quality children’s and young adult books that portray South Asia or South Asians living abroad, and to provide librarians and teachers with recommendations for educational use.
  • Sydney Taylor Book Award: Presented annually by the Association of Jewish Libraries to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.
  • Jane Addams Awards: annually recognizes children’s books of literary and aesthetic excellence that effectively engage children in thinking about peace, social justice, global community, and equity for all people.

Do you have any of these in your collection? What do you use to help ensure diversity within your stacks? Share your tips and tricks with us!


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