Backstage Library Works

The ALA Youth Media Awards

The ALA Youth Media Awards (YMAs) have been a mainstay of the ALA Midwinter Meeting for decades. Committees have gathered to discuss and vote, and awards have traditionally been announced on the conference’s Monday morning.

As the association planned the change from Midwinter to this year’s inaugural LibLearnX production, the awards ranked high among the elements that would be carried over from the old event to the new.

Most of the YMAs are sponsored by two divisions of ALA, the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), along with the Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT), which hosts the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee (CSK).

The Coretta Scott King Committee is currently pursuing a change to round table status. If you’re an ALA member, please join their petition or submit a letter of support.

Other ALA units and affiliates have also established awards, independently or in collaboration with ALSC and YALSA, and some of the awards are sponsored by individual or institutional donors.

Awards range from the well-known Newbery Medal, celebrating its centennial in 2022, to the Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award, which will debut at this year’s event.


 Award Name This Award Recognizes Year First Awarded Sponsoring Organization(s) 
 Alex Awards Creators of ten books written for an adult audience that hold special interest for young adult readers.  1998 YALSA, Margaret A. Edwards Trust 
 American Indian Youth Literature Awards Native American creators of books that present Indigenous North American peoples in the fullness of their humanity. Categories for best picture book, best middle grade book, and best young adult book. Awarded in even-numbered years for works published over a two-year period. 2006 American Indian Library Association (AILA) 
 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature Creators of books that celebrate Asian/Pacific American culture and heritage. Youth categories include picture book, children’s literature, and young adult literature.  2006 Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) 
 Mildred L. Batchelder Award The publisher of an outstanding children’s book originally produced abroad in a language other than English, then translated and published in the United States. 1968 ALSC 
 Pura Belpré Award Latino/-a creators whose works portray, affirm, and celebrate the Latino cultural experience. Categories include children’s author, young adult author, and youth illustrator.  1996 ALSC, REFORMA 
 Randolph Caldecott Medal The illustrator of the most distinguished picture book for children.  1938 ALSC 
 Children’s Literature Legacy Award An author or illustrator whose works have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. 1954 ALSC 
 Margaret A. Edwards Award An author whose body of work has made a significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. 1988 YALSA, School Library Journal  
 Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award (EELDM) Distinguished digital media created for an early learning audience. 2022 ALSC 
 Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal The author and illustrator of the most distinguished beginning reader book. 2006 ALSC 
 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Outstanding African American creators of children’s and young adult books that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. Awards highlight author and illustrator categories.  1970 EMIERT – CSK 
 Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award for New Talent Excellence in writing and illustration categories for books by African American creators with three or fewer published works.  1995 EMIERT – CSK  
 Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement Alternating each year between a creator and a practitioner, the Virginia Hamilton Award recognizes an African American author or illustrator who has made a lasting literary contribution through a body of work or a practitioner for substantital contributions through engagement with youth via reading and related activities using award-winning African American literature for children and young adults. 2010 EMIERT – CSK  
 William C. Morris YA Debut Award A first-time author whose book represents an impressive new voice in young adult literature. 2009 YALSA 
 John Newbery Medal The author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.  1922 ALSC 
 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults The best nonfiction book published for young adults, aged 12 to 18.  2010 YALSA 
 Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production The best audiobook produced for children or young adults. 2008 ALSC, YALSA, Booklist 
 Michael L. Printz Award A book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. 2000 YALSA, Booklist 
 Schneider Family Book Awards Authors or illustrators of books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience. Three awards recognize books for younger children, middle grades, and teens.  2004 ALA 
 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal Author and illustrator of the most distinguished informational book for children.  2001 ALSC 
 Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award A book for children or young adults distinguished for exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience. 2010 Rainbow Round Table (RRT) 
 Sydney Taylor Book Award Books with high literary standards that authentically portray the Jewish experience. Presented for picture book, middle grade, and young adult categories.  1968 Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) 

Because these are the awards of the American Library Association and its affiliates, the geography of where a book is published and where its creators reside play a role in setting eligibility. If you’d like to explore other awards, the McNairy Library at Millersville University in Pennsylvania maintains a list of juvenile literature awards from ALA and other organizations, including some that are based in other countries or that focus on books published outside the United States.

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