The 2021 Youth Media Awards Announced at ALA Midwinter

The American Library Association (ALA) announced the winners of the 2021 Youth Media Awards, including the Newbery Medal, Caldecott Medal, Printz Award, and Coretta Scott King Awards, via a virtual broadcast this morning. Here is a full listing of the winners and honorees. 

The most mentioned authors on the list are Christina Soontornvat, who is an honoree or finalist in three categories including two different books awarded Newbery honors, and author and illustrator Cozbi A. Cabrera, who is an honoree in three different categories with two books. Tae Keller was awarded Newbery Medal for When You Trap a Tiger, which also won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature.

Caldecott Medal

The Randolph Caldecott Medal honors an artist of “the most distinguished American picture book for children.”

We Are Water Protectors by Michaela Goade and Carole Lindstrom

The Caldecott Medal went to this picture book inspired by the Indigenous-led movements across North America to protect the Earth’s water from being poisoned.


Newbery Medal

The John Newbery Medal is given every year to “the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” This award kicks off the Newbery’s 100th anniversary celebration.

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

The 2021 Newbery Medal goes to this story about a girl who faces a magical tiger out of her grandmother’s Korean folktales, unlocks family secrets, and discovers the power of stories and the magic of family.


Michael L. Printz Award

First given in 2000, the Michael L. Printz Award is awarded to a book that “exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.”

Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri

The 2021 Printz Award was given to this book about a boy named Khosrou (everyone calls him Daniel), trying to tell his story to his middle school classroom in Oklahoma. But no one believes the story that stretches back centuries, so Daniel weaves a story to stake his claim to the truth.


Coretta Scott King Awards

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given every year in three categories to African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that “demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.”  

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award

Award: Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

Honor Books: 

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award

Award: R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul illustrated by Frank Morrison, written by Carole Boston Weatherford 

Honor Books:

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award

Award: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Stonewall Book Award 

The Stonewall Book Award — Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award is given each year to “English-language works of exceptional merit for children or teens relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.”

Award: We Are Little Feminists: Families by Archaa Shrivastav and designed by Lindsey Blakely

Honor Books:

Alex Awards

The Alex Awards are awarded to ten crossover adult books that appeal to kids ages 12–18.

The Odyssey Award

This award honors the “best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States.”

Winner: Kent State by Deborah Wiles, narrated by Christopher Gebauer, Lauren Ezzo, Christina DeLaine, Johnny Heller, Roger Wayne, Korey Jackson, and David de Vries


William C. Morris Award

Since 2009, this award honors a debut book published by a debut author writing for teens.

Winner: If These Wings Could Fly by Kyrie McCauley


YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

Winner: The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming


Pura Belpré Awards

Named after the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library, this award is given each year to a Latinx writer and illustrator. This is the first year for the YA category.

Illustration Award: ¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat illustrated and written by Raúl Gonzalez

Honor for Illustration:

Children’s Author Award: Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros

Honor for Texts for Children:

Young Adult Award: Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

Honor for YA: 

Mildred L. Batchelder Award

This award is given to children’s books in translation.

Award: Telephone Tales by Gianni Rodari and Valerio Vidali, translated from Italian by Antony Shugaar

Honor: Catherine’s War by Julia Billet and Claire Fauvel, translated from French by Ivanka Hahnenberger

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal

Medal: Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann


Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

Named for Dr. Seuss, this award is given each year to authors and illustrators “of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States.”

Award: See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka


Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature 

Award for Best Picture Book: Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist by Julie Leung and Chris Sasaki

Honor for Picture Book:

Award for Children’s Literature: When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

Honor for Children’s Literature:

Award for Youth Literature: This Light Between Us by Andrew Fukuda

Honor for Youth Literature:

Sydney Taylor Book

Since 1968, this award is presented to “outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.”

Award for Picture Book: Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail by Lesléa Newman and Susan Gal

Silver Medalists for Picture Book:

Award for Middle Grade: Turtle Boy by M. Evan Wolkenstein

Silver Medalists for Middle Grade: 

Award for Young Adult: Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder

Silver Medalist for Young Adult:

Schneider Family Book Award

This award honors books that embody “an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences”

Young Children’s (0–10): I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith


Middle Grade (ages 11–13): Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte

Honor Books:

Teen (ages 13-18): This is My Brain in Love written by I.W. Gregorio 

Coretta Scott King — Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement Award

The annual award is presented in odd years to a “practitioner for substantial contributions through active engagement with youth using award-winning African American literature for children and/or young adults.”

This year’s winner is Dorothy L. Guthrie, an award-winning retired librarian, district administrator, author and school board member. A respected children’s literature advocate, Guthrie promotes and affirms the rich perspectives of African Americans. Her work, “Integrating African American Literature in the Library and Classroom,” inspires educators with African American literature. Guthrie founded the first African American museum in her home, Gaston County, North Carolina.

Margaret A. Edwards Award

Since 1988, the Margaret A. Edwards Award honors an author and a specific body of their work, for “helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world.”

This year’s winner: Kekla Magoon, author of X, How it Went Down, The Rock and the River, and Fire in the Streets

Children’s Literature Legacy Award

This award is given to an author or illustrator in the U.S. for “a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children through books that demonstrate integrity and respect for all children’s lives and experiences.”

This year’s winner is Mildred D. Taylor, whose award-winning works include Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, the 1977 Newbery Medal winner and a Coretta Scott King (CSK) Author honor; The Land, the 2002 CSK Author Award winner; and The Road to Memphis, the 1991 CSK Author Award winner.

Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award

Given for the first time in 2019, this award is given to a digital media producer for production of digital media for an early learning audience.

Award: The Imagine Neighborhood produced by Committee for Children

Honor: Sesame Street Family Play: Caring for Each Other produced by Sesame Workshop

You can see more information about each award, winners’ speeches, and previous winners at ALA’s site.