Each year the American Library Association honors books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the ALA Youth Media Awards, including the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards, guides parents, educators, librarians, and others in selecting the best materials for youth.
Among the winners and honorees of this year’s Youth Media Awards are a number of outstanding picture books featuring diverse children and communities. Touching on gratitude and generosity, immigration and identity, friendship and family, here are some of my favorites.
JULIAN IS A MERMAID - JESSICA LOVE
Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love shows the story of a boy inspired to dress as a mermaid and the grandmother who lovingly and proudly escorts him to the grand mermaid parade.
Winner: Stonewall Book Award
ALMA AND HOW SHE GOT HER NAME - juan martinez-neal
Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal is about a small girl with six names. As her father explains where each name came from, Alma identifies with her ancestors’ love for travel, art, and activism, and is proud to bear their names – and her very own.
Winner: Caldecott Honor
Thank you, omu - oge mora
In Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora, Omu shares her fragrant, delicious stew with neighbors and community workers. When the stew is gone and there is none for Omu, everyone returns her kindness in a new way.
Winner: Coretta Scott King New Talent Illustrator Award, Caldecott Honor
Dreamers - yuyi morales
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales is the uplifting and gorgeously illustrated story of a Latina immigrant and her child who find information, inspiration, and community at the public library.
Winner: Pura Belpre Illustrator Award
drawn together - minh le & dan Santat
The child and grandfather portrayed in Drawn Together by Minh Le and Dan Santat don’t speak the same language, but forge a connection through a mutual love of art. The child’s drawings and the grandfather’s paintings create a joint story and a strong bond.
Winner: Asian/Pacific American Award - Picture Book
A BIG MOONCAKE FOR LITTER STAR - GRACE LIN
A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin is an original pourquoi tale offering a touching explanation for the phases of the moon. Every month, Little Star bakes a giant mooncake with her mother, then sneaks out of bed to nibble a portion of it every night until it is gone.
Winner: Caldecott Honor