The American Library Association (ALA) recently announced its 2023 Newbery and Caldecott Medal winners and runners-up, as well as its annual Morris and Printz Award recipients. The prestigious awards, along with many other recognitions, were announced on January 29, during the ALA Library Learning Experience (LibLearnX) conference in New Orleans.
Part of the Youth Media Awards, these honored selections recognize original books, videos, and other outstanding creative works in an effort to guide librarians, parents, educators, and others toward the best materials for children and young adults. Works are reviewed annually by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts and may be chosen to fit these possible YMA categories.
Now, on to the biggies!
2023 Newbery Medal
To receive a Newbery Medal, an author must be a citizen or resident of the United States and their book, which can be fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, must have been published in English by a US publisher during the preceding year. Only one medal book is recognized but a list of “honor” books may also be chosen. This is the centennial year for Newbery books!
This year’s John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children was awarded to Freewater, by first-time author Amina Luqman-Dawson. The work is a historical middle-grade novel about two enslaved children and their journey to Freewater, a community of formerly enslaved people and free persons that is hidden away in a swamp.
Newbery Honor Books for 2023 include
- Ivaliz Explains It All, by Andrea Beatriz Arango
- The Last Mapmaker, by Christina Soontornvat
- Maizy Chen’s Last Chance, by Lisa Yee
2023 Caldecott Medal
The Randolph Caldecott Medal was named in honor of a noted nineteenth-century English illustrator and has been awarded annually since 1937 to the artist/illustrator of America’s most distinguished picture book for children. Only one medal book is recognized but a list of “honor” books may also be chosen.
This year’s medal book is Hot Dog, written and drawn by well-known illustrator Doug Salati, a colorful story that follows one steamed pup and his person as they escape the city’s sizzling sidewalks, wailing sirens, and flailing feet for a cool, refreshing day at the beach. Salati’s text and illustrations remind readers to find calm and cool, especially in the dreaded “dog days” of summer.
Four Caldecott Honor Books were also selected:
- Ain’t Burned All the Bright, illustrated by Jason Griffin
- Berry Song, illustrated and written by Michaela Goade
- Choosing Brave: How Mamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Sparked the Civil Rights Movement, illustrated by Janelle Washington
- Knight Owl, illustrated and written by Christopher Denise
2023 Morris Award
The William C. Morris YA Debut Award was first awarded in 2009 to recognize a first-time author writing for teens and to celebrate impressive new voices in young adult literature. To be considered, a title must be named, by an independent committee, to a shortlist of “finalists” during the first week of December. A winner is then announced at the YMA ceremony; the remaining four remain known as finalists.
This year’s award-winning book is The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen, by Isaac Blum. The story features Yehuda “Hoodie” Rosen, a teen whose Orthodox Jewish community has just moved to a quiet, mostly gentile town, where the people, especially the mayor, are not particularly welcoming.
The four finalists that remained were
- The Summer of Bitter and Sweet, by Jen Ferguson
- The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School, by Sonora Reyes
- Hell Followed with Us, by Andrew Joseph White
- Wake the Bones, by Elizabeth Kilcoyne
2023 Printz Award
The Michael L. Printz Award was first given in the year 2000 to acknowledge a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. The prize is named for a beloved and tireless school librarian from Topeka, Kansas. Up to five “finalists” (fiction, nonfiction, or anthologies) are submitted for consideration, but only one winner is announced; the remaining four contenders remain known as finalists.
This year’s Printz Award went to award-winning best seller Sabaa Tahir for her newest release, All My Rage, a story of high-school seniors who are struggling in a world of Islamophobia, addiction, and abuse, as well as the expectations and sacrifices of past generations—a world that does not seem to want them.
The four finalists that remained were
- Icebreaker, by A. L. Graziadei
- When the Angels Left the Old Country, by Sacha Lamb
- Scout’s Honor, by Lily Anderson
- Queer Ducks (and Other Animals): The Natural World of Animal Sexuality, by Eliot Schrefer
Newbery, Caldecott, Morris, Printz: That’s 2023!
Besides Newbery and Caldecott Medals and Morris and Printz Awards, remember that several other recognition categories exist—for LatinX and Black authors and illustrators, for audiobooks, beginning readers, translations, and for additional attention to special audiences. For complete lists, research at the ALA website.
In addition, the-freelance-editor has compiled a large collection of other titles for your reading pleasure, and to serve as inspiration and examples for writings of your own. Visit our main bookstore page to find links to book selections for adults and younger readers. In addition to supplying samples of writing—both classics and more recent releases, like those listed in this post—the ongoing goal of this online bookstore for writers and readers is to offer book selections that provide sources for grammar, style, writing mechanics, and inspiration for writers.
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originally posted February 1, 2023;
no text revisions to date
image information: Featured image appears via the website for Lynnfield (MA) Public Library, where it was used as artwork for a post announcing winners in 2021
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