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November 4, 2022

Refresh Your Classroom Reading List with 2022 Book Award Winners!

I love a good “best of” list. Each fall, I scour all the rankings and recommendations that start appearing this time of year. While I enjoy lists of top movies and songs, my favorite is adding new books to my “to-read” stack–especially, books to share with young people! Whether you’re looking for read-alouds for young students, exciting choices to engage middle-grade readers, or YA options for teens, there’s something to spark everyone’s interest. You may even find a few ideas to add to your classroom library or your own to-read pile! So, jump on board for a round-up of award-winning children’s literature published in the past year.

The Caldecott and Newbery Medals, awarded each year by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), are familiar to many, but there are many other book awards for children’s literature. We’ve highlighted a variety of awards below, focusing on books enabling students to see their own identities and experiences represented in your classroom library. Perhaps you’ll discover a new source of recommendations! We’ve also included links to for each title, so you can read summaries and perhaps treat yourself, or your students, to a new book!

Alex Awards

The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. (

See the 10 Alex Award Winners for 2022

Recommended For: Young Adults (Ages 12+)

American Indian Youth Literature Award

“The awards were established as a way to identify and honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians. Books selected to receive the award will present American Indians in the fullness of their humanity in the present and past contexts.” (American Indian Library Association)


Picture Book Winner: Herizon by Daniel Vandever (author) and Corey Begay (illustrator)

Recommended For: PreK-3

Middle School Winner: Healer of the Water Monster by Brian Young

Recommended For: Middle Grades


Young Adult Winner: Apple: (Skin to the Core) by Eric Gansworth

Recommended For: Young Adults (Ages 12+)

Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature

“The goal of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature is to honor and recognize individual work about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, based on literary and artistic meritWatercressA Boy Named Isamu: A Story of Isamu NoguchiRecommended For: PreK-3

, by Hena Khan

Children Literature Honor: Finding Junie Kim, by Ellen Oh

Recommended For: Middle Grades

Last Night at the Telegraph ClubYouth Literature Honor: We Are Not FreeRecommended For: Ages 13+

Coretta Scott King Book Award

John Newbery Award

“The most distinguished contributions to American literature for children.” (


The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

Recommended For:Middle Grades

See the Full Newbery Honor List

John Steptoe Award for New Talent

The award, “affirms new talent and offers visibility for excellence in writing and/or illustration at the beginning of a career as a published African American creator of children’s books.” (

me moth

Me (Moth) by Amber McBride

Recommended For:Young Adults (Ages 12+)

the me i choose to be

The Me I Choose to Be by Regis and Kahran Bethencourt

Recommended For: PreK-3

National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

The National Book Award for Young People’s Literature is one of five annual National Book Awards, which are given by the National Book Foundation (NBF) to recognize outstanding literary work by US citizens. They are awards given “by writers to writers.” (Wikipedia)

2021 Winner: Last Night at the Telegraph ClubRecommended For: Ages 14+

See the 2022 Finalists (Winner Announced 11/15/22)

Pura Belpré Award

The Belpré Award “honors a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose works best portray, affirm, and celebrate the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.” (

moon fuentez

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe, by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Recommended For: Young Adults (Ages 12+)

See the Full List of Young Adult Author Honor Books

Children’s Author Winner: The Last CuentistaSee the Full List of Children’s Author Honor Books


¡Vamos! Let’s Cross the Bridge written and illustrated by Raúl Gonzalez

Recommended For:PreK-3

See the Full List of Youth Illustrator Honor Books

Randolph Caldecott Medal

Awarded to the illustrator of the “most distinguished American picture book for children.”


Watercress, illustrated by Jason Chin, written by Andrea Wang

Recommended For: PreK-3

See The Full Caldecott Honor List

Schneider Family Book Award

Books that “embody an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.” (

my city speaks

My City Speaks, written by Darren Lebeuf, illustrated by Ashley Barron

Recommended For: PreK-3

A Bird Will Soar, by Alison Green Myers

Recommended For: Middle Grades

The Words in my HandsRecommended For: Young Adults (Ages 13+)

Sydney Taylor Book Award

Presented by the Association of Jewish Libraries to, “outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience (AJL)

passover guest

The Passover Guest,Recommended For: PreK-3

find what youre not looking for

How to Find What You’re Not Looking ForRecommended For: Middle Grades

The City Beautiful, by Aden Polydoros

Recommended For: Young Adults (Ages 12+)

Stonewall Book Awards-Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award

The Stonewall Book Awards are presented to English language books that have exceptional merit relating to the LGBTQIA+ experience. (

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

Recommended For:Young Adults (Ages 14+)

too bright to see

Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff

Recommended For: Middle Grades

Walter Dean Myers Awards for Outstanding Children’s Literature

red, white, and whole

Red, White, and WholeRecommended For: Ages 9-13

Firekeeper’s Daughter, by Angeline Boulley

Recommended For: Ages 13-18

There are so many wonderful awards for children’s literature, we couldn’t highlight them all here! For more inspiration, explore this list of Children’s Books Awards from Other Organizations, which, “highlight high-quality literature for young people about diverse peoples and triumphs of the human spirit,” the complete Book and Media Awards list from the Association for Library Services for Children, the Cybils Awards, and State Readers’ Choice Awards.


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