The Transylvania Times -

By Erika Brock
Everyday Education 

Award Winning Books For Children And Teens


February 6, 2017

There is a special day in January that I look forward to every year. It’s a day that librarians, publishers, educators and readers get excited about. It’s talked about throughout the year as new books are read and contemplated.

In 2017, that day was Monday Jan. 23 – the day the Youth Media Awards were announced by the American Library Association. The awards are given to the best of the best in books, videos and audiobooks for children and teens, including the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott and Printz Awards. Winners are selected by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts.

Not only is this an exciting day to see if predicted choices have won, but it is also a great opportunity to get new ideas if you’re not sure what to read next. Below are a few notables for 2017. For a full list of all the winners and honorees, go to:

The John Newbery Medal is awarded for the most distinguished American children’s book published the previous year. This year’s winner is “The Girl Who Drank the Moon” written by Kelly Barnhill. In this fantasy novel, townspeople are afraid of the wrath of the witch, and each year the youngest infant in the town is left in the forest as a sacrifice. The witch of the forest, who is actually not evil at all, cares for these infants, feeds them starlight, and gives them new homes. The witch keeps one child, who is more magical than the others, as her own. But a mystery develops as the real evil witch is revealed.

Three Newbery Honor Books were also announced: “Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan,” written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan; “The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog,” written by Adam Gidwitz and illustrated by Hatem Aly; and “Wolf Hollow,” written by Lauren Wolk.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published in the United States during the preceding year. This year’s winner is “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,” illustrated and written by Javaka Steptoe. This title is also the winner of the Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award. In this picture book biography of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Javaka Steptoe weaves the story and art of Basquiat with his own artistic style.

Four Caldecott Honor Books were also announced: “Leave Me Alone!” illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol; “Freedom in Congo Square,” illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and written by Carole Boston Weatherford; “Du Iz Tak?” illustrated and written by Caron Ellis; and “They All Saw a Cat,” illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel.

The Michael L. Printz Award is given each year to the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit. This year’s winner is “March: Book Three,” created by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. This title is also the winner of the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award, the Young Adult Library Services Association Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults, and the 2016 National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature. This graphic novel is the final installment of the “March” trilogy, which takes readers through the civil rights movement through the eyes of civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis.

Four Printz Honor Books were also announced: “Asking for It,” written by Louise O’Neil; “The Passion of Dolssa,” written by Julie Berry; “Scythe,” written by Neal Shusterman; and “The Sun Is Also a Star,” written by Nicola Yoon.

If all of these fantastic award winners don’t spur you to head out the door to the library right now to check out your next read, the Youth Services Department of the Transylvania County Library has curated book lists to assist in finding the right read for children and teens. Come in and talk to a staff member or check them out on our website at You will also find NoveList Plus, which will help everyone find their next great read. We cannot wait to find out what remarkable books are in store for us this year!

(Brock is youth services librarian at Transylvania County Library.)


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