Graphic Novels, Challenged Books Score Big in ALA Awards

yaqui_frontcoverfullThe American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards for 2014 were presented at the organization’s Midwinter Conference yesterday, and we were pleased to see challenged books and graphic novels figuring prominently among them! The complete roundup of winners and runners-up (Honor Books) is here, but here are a few we’re particularly excited about here at CBLDF:

  • Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina won the Pura Belpré Author Award, presented to “a Latino writer whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience.” In September, Medina was disinvited from speaking at a middle school in Cumberland, Virginia after the principal became nervous that she might utter the book’s title in front of students. Last September, CBLDF joined a coalition protesting the cancellation of Medina’s visit.

  • ovenEleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell was named a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. The Printz Award is ALA’s overall award for Young Adult literature. Rowell’s scheduled appearances in Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin County School District and Anoka County Library System were also cancelled in September after a few parents complained about profanity in the book. In September, CBLDF joined a coalition defending the book and spoke with Rowell about the controversy.)

  • Graphic novel March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell is a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. It will be featured here in a February Using Graphic Novels in Education column.

  • Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo won the John Newbery Medal, the main author award for children’s literature. The hybrid novel uses text interspersed with pages of panel art by K.G. Campbell to tell the story of young comics fan Flora and her superhero squirrel Ulysses.

  • Relish: My Life In the Kitchen, Lucy Knisley’s graphic memoir about food, won an Alex Award. The ten Alex winners are judged to be the “best adult books that appeal to teen audiences.”

Congratulations to all the winners and honorees!

We need your help to keep fighting for the right to read in 2014! Help support CBLDF’s important First Amendment work by visiting the Rewards Zonemaking a donation, or becoming a member of CBLDF!

Contributing Editor Maren Williams is a reference librarian who enjoys free speech and rescue dogs.