It’s that time of year again: awards season! ALA will be announcing their annual Youth Media Awards on Monday, January 11 (set you alarms because it starts early this year, at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time. If you’re unable to attend the midwinter meetings in Boston, you can stream the live webcast here.).

ALA’s Youth Media Awards include some of the most notable and recognizable awards in children’s literature. We’re all familiar with the Newbery and Caldecott. Winners tend to be great choices for the classroom. They make engaging read-alouds and popular titles for group reading. Most of us also know about the Coretta Scott King and Pura Belpre Awards, which recognize diversity in storytelling. These award winners are great ways to introduce students to differing cultural perspectives.

Because the Newbery and Caldecott usually take center stage, you might not realize that the ALA will give away 19 different awards on Monday, which recognize a variety of accomplishments in children’s literature. Let’s take a closer look at some awards that you might not be so familiar with.

The Mildred L. Batchelder Award

The Mildred L. Batchelder Award, established in 1966, was named for an American librarian whose goal was “to eliminate barriers to understanding between people of different cultures, races, nations, and languages” ( It is awarded annually to a title originally published in a language other than English, in a county other than the United States, which has subsequently been translated into English for a U.S. audience. Batchelder Award winning titles are great choices for the classroom because they can introduce young readers to other cultures. Many past award winners would be worthwhile titles to include in an international studies or history curriculum. They can also be used in a reading writing workshop unit as a catalyst to discuss how history and culture can lead to distinctive writing and illustrating styles.

The 2015 Batchelder Award winner was Mikis and the Donkey (Grades 3-5, Lexile 640) by Bibi Dumon Tak, a charmingly illustrated chapter book originally published in The Netherlands. Mikis’ grandfather surprises him with a donkey, which Mikis grows to love. This engaging story is ultimately about family connections and learning to care for other creatures.

Other past award and honor winners include My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoeve (Grades 7-12, Lexile 900), Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier (Grades 1-5, Lexile GN300), A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Leave, To Return (Grades 7-12, GN 680) and Soldier Bear (Grades 4-7, Lexile 780).

 Mikis And The Donkey  Hidden a child's story of the holocaust  A Game for Swallows


The Schneider Family Book Award

The Schneider Family Book Award is awarded to an author or illustrator whose work embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for young audiences. This award was endowed in 2003 by Dr. Katherine Schneider, a book lover and the first blind student to graduate from the public school system in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Dr. Schneider went on to earn her doctorate from Purdue University and is now a clinical psychologist (retired) and university professor. Schneider remembers how few books were available to her as a child and she now hopes to honor books that represent a disability as “part of a full life and not something to be pitied” ( Three awards are given each year to the best titles for teens, middle schoolers and children.

The 2015 winners included Girls Like Us by Gail Giles (Grades 9-12, Lexile HL570), the story of two high school graduates with special needs who become roommates as they enter the “real world”; in Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin (Grades 4-7, Lexile 720) a young girl with autism tells her own story; and A Boy and a Jaguar, by Catia Chien (Grades P-3, Lexile AD670), a memoir by wildlife conservationist Alan Rabinowitz who overcame a childhood stutter to speak eloquently on behalf of the animals he loves.

Possible candidates for the 2016 Schneider Family Award include Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (Grades 5-8, Level W, Lexile 550) about a young girl with dyslexia; Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson (Grades P-3, Level N, Lexile AD770), the true story of a boy from Ghana born with a deformed leg who goes on to become a record-setting cyclist; and The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell (Grades 8-12, Lexile HL640) about a teen diagnosed with ALS.

Girls Like Us Fish in a Tree Book The Last Leaves Fallling


The William C. Morris Award

Most lovers of YA are already familiar with the Printz Award which annually honors excellence in young adult literature, but there’s another award that celebrates great writing for young adults: the William C. Morris Award is awarded to debut titles from first-time authors. If you have avid readers in your class or school, use the list of past and present Morris winners to introduce them to new writers. The 2015 award went to Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (Grades 9-12) the story of a young Latina who works through the troubles in her life by writing in her journal.

The finalists for the 2016 Morris Award are Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas (Grades 9-12), Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert (Grades 7-12, Lexile 940), Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (Grades 8-12, Lexile HL640), The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes (Grades 9-12) and The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore (Grades 10-12).

Gabi a girl in pieces Because You'll never meet me Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda


The Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, named for the author of the beloved American classic Little House on the Prairie (Grades 3-6, Level Q, Lexile 760), presented annually to an author or illustrator whose titles are published in the United States and have made a substantial and long-lasting contribution to children’s literature. The 2015 Medal winner was Donald Crews, who has written and illustrated dozens of titles since the 1970s. He won a Caldecott Honor for Freight Train (Grades P-1, Level G, Lexile NP) in 1979 and another for Truck (Grades K_3, Lexile NP) in 1981.

Little House on the Prairie Freight Train Truck


The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal

The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is awarded to the most distinguished English language nonfiction title published in the United States. The award was named after the long-time president of the Bound To Stay Bound Bookstore, which strives to provide quality juvenile books and related material to North American Libraries. The 2015 winner was The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Melissa Sweet (Grades K-3, Lexile 590), a picture book biography of Peter Mark Roget and his work creating the first thesaurus.

2015 was a great year for informational titles, so there’s a lot of competition for this year’s medal. Possible candidates include Trombone Shorty by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews (Grades K-5, Lexile 840), a picture book biography of Andrews’ childhood in New Orleans and his quest to play great music; Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder (Grades K-3, Lexile 380), a beautifully illustrated picture book biography of famous ballet dancer Anna Pavlova; Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick (Grades K-3, Level P, Lexile AD590), which tells the tale of the famous bear and his meeting with the real-life Christopher Robin; Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story Of The Deadliest Cook In America by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Grades 5-12, Lexile 980), a great history of the medical mystery surrounding typhoid and how it was spread; and Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark (Grades K-3), which tells the story of Lovelace, the daughter of the famous poet Lord Byron and writer of the world’s first computer program.

The Right Word by Jen Bryant Trombone Shorty Swan The Life And Dance Of Anna Pavlova

This is an overview of just a few of the awards ALA will be handing out Monday. You may tune in to find out the winners of the Newbery and the Caldecott, but stick around to find out what other outstanding children’s literature is recognized.

Booksource Recommendations

Coretta Scott King Winners

Coretta Scott King Award Books

Printz Award and Honor Books

Printz Award and Honor Books

Robert F. Sibert

Robert F. Sibert Books