The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) offers six literary awards to honor the best books for teens each year.
- The Alex Award is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust. Edwards pioneered young adult library services and worked for many years at the Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore. Her work is described in her book Fair Garden and the Swarm of Beasts. The Alex Awards are named after Edwards, who was called “Alex” by her friends.
The ten 2012 winners are: Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoskin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard (Little, Brown & Company, Hachette Book Group, Inc.); The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens by Brooke Hauser (Free Press, Simon & Schuster, Inc.); The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday, Random House, Inc.); Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Crown Publishers, Crown Publishing Group, Random House, Inc.); Robopocalypse: A Novel by Daniel H. Wilson (Doubleday, Random House, Inc.); Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward (Bloomsbury USA); The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston (Ecco, HarperCollins Publishers); The Talk-Funny Girl by Roland Merullo (Crown Publishers, Crown Publishing Group, Random House, Inc.)
- The Margaret A. Edwards Award, established in 1988, honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. The annual award is administered by YALSA and sponsored by School Library Journal magazine. It recognizes an author’s work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world.
In one of the most influential epic high fantasies in literature, Cooper evokes Celtic and Arthurian mythology and masterly world-building in a high-stakes battle between good and evil, embodied in the coming of age journey of Will Stanton.
The Dark Is Rising Sequence chronicles the adventures of Will Stanton, the last of the immortal Old Ones, as he acquires the Things of Power for the Light in its climactic battle with the Dark. Originally published between 1966 and 1977byMargaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Cooper’s masterwork has served as an inspiration to generations of fantasy writers and readers. The series includes Over Sea, Under Stone; The Dark is Rising; Greenwitch; The Grey King; and Silver on the Tree.
- The William C. Morris YA Debut Award, since 2009 honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens. The award’s namesake is William C. Morris, an influential innovator in the publishing world and an advocate for marketing books for children and young adults. The William C. Morris YA Debut Award celebrates the achievement of a previously unpublished author, or authors, who have made a strong literary debut in writing for young adult readers. The work cited will illuminate the teen experience and enrich the lives of its readers through its excellence, demonstrated by: 1) compelling, high quality writing and/or illustration, 2) the integrity of the work as a whole, 3) its proven or potential appeal to a wide range of teen readers.
The 2012 winner is Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing).
Lily, Arkansas, seems like a sleepy town where it would be unlikely for anything of note to the outside world to happen. But Cullen’s seventeenth summer is marked by the overdose death of a relative, his brother’s disappearance, and the discovery of a woodpecker thought to be extinct. These seemingly disconnected events collide in this novel which demonstrates that nothing is random. Whaley’s story will absorb readers as they follow Cullen on his journey through an unforgettable summer.
- Since 2008 the Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production has been jointly given and administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and YALSA, and is sponsored by Booklist.
The 2012 winner is Rotters, produced by Listening Library, an imprint of Random House Audio Publishing Group, Random House, Inc., written by Daniel Kraus and narrated by Kirby Heyborne.
Kirby Heyborne’s versatile character voicing animates the strange tale of Joey, a 16-year-old whose mother has died. His struggle begins as he is dropped into the isolated world of his father, a grave robber. The exquisite timing pulls us through the chilling story of the destruction and rebuilding of Joey’s personality.
- The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. It is named for a Topeka, Kansas, school librarian who was a long-time active member of YALSA. The award is sponsored by Booklist.
The 2012 winner is: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing).
- The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18).
The 2012 winner is: The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, & Treachery written by Steve Sheinkin, published by Flash Point/Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.
Treating history as mystery, Sheinkin takes readers through means, motive, and opportunity as he outlines Arnold’s path towards treason. This well researched (with liberal use of primary sources) cradle to grave biography emphasizes the political, social, and military issues within the Colonial army and how Arnold ambitiously maneuvered his own career through grit and determination.