The 2019 winners of the Caldecott, Newbery & Printz awards

The American Library Association (ALA) has announced its top books for children and young adults, including the influential Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards.

The winners include…


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Winner of the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

A coming-of-age tale full of humour and wisdom that follows a strong-willed sixth-grader and private school scholarship student Merci Suarez, as she navigates difficult changes with friends, family, and everyone in between. Award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school – and the steadfast connection that defines family.


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Winner of the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

A lyrical and timeless picture book about hope, change and the passing of time. On the highest rock of a tiny island at the edge of the world stands a lighthouse. From dusk to dawn, the lighthouse beams, sending its light out to sea, guiding the ships on their way. As the seasons pass and the waves rise and fall, outside, the wind blows; inside, the lighthouse keeper writes, and the rhythms of his life unfold. But change is on the horizon…


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Winners of the Coretta Scott King Book Award recognizing an African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults:

A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfield (author)

The Stuff of Stars illustrated by Ekua Holmes (illustrator)

Before the universe was formed, before time and space existed, there was … nothing. But then … BANG! Stars caught fire and burned so long that they exploded, flinging stardust everywhere. And the ash of those stars turned into planets. Into our Earth. And into us. A seamless blend of science and art, this picture book celebrates the birth of every child.


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Winners of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award to affirm new talent:

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson (author)

A gripping new novel perfect for fans of E. Lockhart and Gillian Flynn about the mystery of one teenage girl’s disappearance and the traumatic effects of the truth.

Thank You, Omu! by Charly Palmer (illustrator)

Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu’s delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. Oge Mora brings a heartwarming story of sharing and community to life in colorful cut-paper designs.


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Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Xiomara has always kept her words to herself. When it comes to standing her ground in her Harlem neighbourhood, she lets her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But X has secrets – her feelings for a boy in her bio class, and the notebook full of poems that she keeps under her bed. And a slam poetry club that will pull those secrets into the spotlight. Because in spite of a world that might not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to stay silent.


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Winners of the Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience:

Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky, Patrick Downes & Scott Magoon (for ages 0 to 10)

Rescue thought he’d grow up to be a Seeing Eye dog. When he gets the news that he’s better suited to being a service dog, he’s worried that he’s not up to the task. Then he meets Jessica, a girl whose life is turning out differently than the way she’d imagined it, too.

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor (for ages 11-13)

A deeply poignant and beautifully crafted story about self-reliance, redemption, and hope. Mason Buttle is the biggest kid in his grade, and he and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble, and goes on the search for the truth.

Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro (for ages 14-18)

Moss Jeffries is many things – considerate student, devoted son, loyal friend and affectionate boyfriend. But sometimes Moss still wishes he could be someone else – someone without panic attacks, someone whose father was still alive, someone who hadn’t become a rallying point for a community because of one horrible night.


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Winners of the Stonewall Book Award for children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience:

Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Mesmerising and full of heart, this is a picture book about self-confidence and love, and a radiant celebration of individuality.

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

Caroline Murphy is a Hurricane Child. Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and twelve-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She’s hated and bullied by everyone in her small school, a spirit only she can see won’t stop following her, and – worst of all – Caroline’s mother left home one day and never came back. But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline’s luck begins to turn around.


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Winner of the William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens:

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Adib Khorram’s brilliant debut is for anyone who’s ever felt not good enough – then met a friend who makes them feel so much better than okay. Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s a Fractional Persian, but his first-ever trip to Iran is about to change his life.


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Winner of the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults:

The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown

Don Brown depicts moments of both heartbreaking horror and hope in the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. Shining a light on the stories of the survivors, The Unwanted is a testament to the courage and resilience of the refugees and a call to action for all those who read.


Find the full list of 2019 winners and finalists against all prize categories here.

Merci Suarez Changes Gears

Merci Suarez Changes Gears

Meg Medina

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