There are dozens of book awards across the nation and world that annually select the best books of the year for young adults and children. These awards can be voted on by librarians, committee members and teens. Below is a directory of popular book awards.

If you would like to search awards by subject, author, title or grade level try the Database of Award Winning Children's Literature.

AAAS/Subaru/Science Books and Films Prize for Excellence in Science Books
This award recognizes outstanding science writing and illustration for young adults, since 2005.
ABBY Award (Indies Choice Book Award)
The American Booksellers Book of the Year Award was created in 1991 and was renamed multiple times since its' inception. Booksellers are surveyed for the book "they most love to recommend" and the story often has a moral.
Jane Addam's Children's Book Award
Jane Addams was a social reformer who worked with underprivileged individuals, immigrants and oppressed woman and children. This award from 1953 recognizes titles with themes of peace, social justice and world community.
Alex Awards
The Young Adult Library Services Association's annual list (since 1998) of ten adult books that appeal for young adults ages 12 to 18.
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award
Winners and two honor books are annually named for the categories of: picture book, fiction and poetry, and nonfiction. It is judged by librarians in New England and sponsored by The Boston Globe and The Horn Book.
Bulletin Blue Ribbons
At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Blue Ribbon titles are annually chosen (since 1990) as the best of the past years youth literature.
Caldecott Medal
Awarded annually (since 1938) by the Association for Library Services to Children to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. This award is named for nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott and is considered one of the greatest achievements in children's literature.
Carnegie Medal
The Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals awards the writer of an outstanding book for children published in the United Kingdom this medal (created in 1936). The medals namesake, Andrew Carnegie made substantial contributions to public libraries and education in America and the U.K. The medal honors Andrew Carnegie whose philanthropies focused on public libraries and education in both American and the U.K.
Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award
This is an annual award (since 1988) given to the author of the top book voted for by students in grades four through eight in Illinois schools. Rebecca Caudill was a notable children's author who lived in Urbana for more than 50 years.
Charlotte Zolotow Award
Given annually (since 1998) to the author of the best picture book text published in the U.S by the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Costa Children's Book Award
The Costa Book Awards honour some of the most outstanding books of the year written by authors based in the UK and Ireland.Launched in 1971 as the Whitbread Literary Awards, they became the Whitbread Book Awards in 1985, with Costa taking over in 2006.
Edgar Alan Poe Award
The "Edgar" honors great suspense, detective, and spy works. There are two awards for young audience, the juvenile which was established in 1954 and the young adult award which was established in 1989. The judges are members of the Mystery Writers of America.
Ezra Jack Keats Award
Known collectively as the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award, the New Writer Award was established in 1985 and the New Illustrator Award in 2001 to recognize and encourage authors and illustrators starting out in the field of children’s books.
The Margaret A. Edwards Award
The Margaret A. Edwards Award, sponsored by School Library Journal, honors an author for significant contributions to young adult literature (since 1988).
The Phoenix Award
Named for the fabled bird that rises from the ashes to renewed life, The Phoenix Award honors a book that did not win a major award at publication date. It is determined by teachers, scholars, librarians, and parents who are members of the Children's Literature Association.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal
The Geisel Award (established in 2004) is for the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States. It is sponsored by the
Association for Library Services to Children and honors both author and illustrator.
Golden Kite Award
For the Golden Kite Award, Writers and illustrators vote for the best work of their peers. The winner is a society member who has created a book that best addresses the fascinations and concerns of children for fiction (1973), nonfiction (1977) and illustration (1982).
Gryphon Award
In 2004, this award was established at the Center of Children's Books at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for the author of a book geared towards K-4 aged transitional readers to bridge the gap in difficulty between picture and full-length books.
Hans Christen Anderson Award
Every other year the IBBY (International Board of Books for Young People) presents the Hans Christian Andersen Awards to a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children's literature.
The Abraham Lincoln Award
Nominees are determined from librarians, teachers and a committee based through the Illinois School Library Media Association. Then a winner is voted on by high schoolers. The program is designed to encourage high school students to read for pleasure and to become lifelong readers.
The William C. Morris YA Debut Award
Funded by the William C. Morris Endowment, this award honors the best book by a previously unpublished author writing for teens. A shortlist is announced in December each year and was established in 2009.
Monarch Award
Established in 2003, the Monarch Award is a K-3 readers' choice award given by the Illinois School Library Media Association.
William C. Morris YA Debut Award
The Morris Award recognizes a book written for young adults by a first-time, previously unpublished author and was established in 2009.
Newberry Award Medal
This award is presented annually (since 1922) to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. It is given by the American Library Association and is named for eighteenth-century Englishman John Newbery, the first publisher and seller of children's books.
Regina Medal
This is a lifetime achievement award recognizing "continued, distinguished contribution to children’s literature" from the Catholic Library Association.
Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction
This annual award was created in 1984 to encourage new authors to focus on historical fiction, specifically set in North, South and Central America.
Odyssey Award
This honors the producer of the best English audiobook produced for children or young adults. It is co-administered by the Association for Library Service to Children and the Young Adult Library Services Association and was established in 2008.
Western Heritage Award
The National Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Western Heritage Center created this award in 1962 to encourage writers who spin tales of the American West. The books are funny, wild, and offer a unique perspective for a juvenile audience.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal
Authors or illustrators whose entire body of work has made a lasting and substantial contribution to American children's literature are given this honor. This award was created in 1954 and is given every three years by the Association of Library Services to Children.

Multicultural & Diversity Awards

Renowned and national book awards have been awarded to individuals of various backgrounds. However, there are specific awards that recognize works that celebrate and embrace diversity. Whether the subject matter is feminism, race/ethnicity, or disabilities the following awards are presented to outstanding authors and/or illustrators whose works deal with these and other topics affecting underrepresented groups.

Amelia Bloomer List
Named after the 19th Century feminist activist, Amelia Bloomer, this annual list—initiated in 2002—is compiled by the ALA’s Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table. The task force is in charge of creating a list of the best youth (from birth to 18) feminist literature. The list highlights quality fiction and non-fiction books that “affirm positive roles for girls and women” (“Amelia Bloomer Policies and Procedures”).
American Indian Youth Literature Award
This award—presented every two years since its inception in 2006—is presented by the American Indian Library Association, an affiliate of ALA. It honors the best fiction or non-fiction writing and illustrations by and about American Indians. Works should accurately depict American Indians and avoid stereotypes. Three awards may be bestowed in the following categories: Best Picture Book, Best Middle School Book, and Best Young Adult Book, as well as honorable mentions in each (if applicable).
Américas Award
Founded in 1993 by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP). It acknowledges and commends authors, illustrators, and publishers that honestly portray Latin America, the Caribbean, and/or Latinos in the United States. Up to two awards are given annually for children (including picture books) and young adult books, as well as a commended list of titles.
Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature
An affiliate of ALA, the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) was founded in 1980. APALA’s mission is to enhance leadership opportunities of Asian/Pacific American librarians and individuals serving these communities. The purpose of the award is to honor works related to Asian/Pacific American experiences and/or culture. It is awarded annually in four categories, including Youth (children’s literature and young adult) and Picture Books.
Carter G. Woodson Book Awards
Dr. Carter G. Woodson was an important African American historian and educator who wrote history books for adults and youth. In 1973, the committee on racism and social justice of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) established this award in his honor. The NCSS recognizes authors and publishers that provide quality social studies books for children that focus on diversity and depict ethnicity in the United States. There are three categories—elementary, middle, and secondary—but only two books receive an award. Honor awards may also be bestowed.
Coretta Scott King Book Awards
In response to a lack of recognition of African American authors and illustrators during ALA’s Annual Conference in New Jersey, school librarian Glyndon Flynt Greer and librarian Mabel McKissack founded the Coretta Scott King Book Award in 1969. The first award was granted in 1970 and became an officially recognized ALA award in 1982. The awards are given annually to “outstanding African American authors and illustrators of children and young adult books that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values” (“About the Coretta Scott King Book Awards”). Honor mentions may also be recognized.
Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award
Awarded every even year since its inception in 2000, the Dolly Gray Award is a collaboration of the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the Special Needs Project (a distributor of books related to disability issues). Its purpose is to recognize works that portray accurate and positive representations of people with developmental disabilities. It is awarded to an author and/or illustrator of a children’s picture book, intermediate, and/or young adult book.
Pura Belpré Award
Named after the first Puerto Rican librarian at the New York Public Library, it was first awarded in 1996. It recognizes Latina and Latino authors and illustrators whose work for children and youth portray and celebrate the Latino cultural experience. Awarded annually since 2009 and co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and REFORMA the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (division of ALA and affiliate, respectively). If notable, honor books are mentioned.
Schneider Family Book Award
Founded in 2004 by Dr. Katherine Schneider—who is visually impaired—this award is administered annually by ALA. The award is given in three categories: young children (ages 0-8), middle grade (9-13), and teen (14-18). “The awards recognize writing for young people that artistically represents disability experiences. [These works] not only have literary merit and reader appeal, but they portray characters whose disabilities are part of a full life” (Klipper 6).
Stonewall Book Awards
First award given for general adult literature in 1971 and was known as The Gay Book Award. In 1986, ALA recognized the award and changed its name to the Gay & Lesbian Book Award. It was expanded to include general adult non-fiction and went through several name changes until finally becoming the Stonewall Book Awards. The annual youth literature award is known, since 2012, as the Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award. It is presented by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) of ALA to “English-language books of exceptional merit relating to the [LGBT] experience” (Johnston 4).
Sydney Taylor Book Award
Administered by the Association of Jewish Libraries since 1968, it was originally known as the Shirley Kravitz Children’s Book Award. It was renamed the Sydney Taylor Book Award in 1978. Its purpose is “to encourage the publication of outstanding books of Jewish content for children and teens…[that] authentically [portray] the Jewish experience…[to] engender pride in Jewish readers while building bridges to readers of other backgrounds” (quoted in Pinchuck 28-29). The award is given in three categories: Younger Readers, Older Readers, and Teen Readers. Honor books are also selected in each category.
Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award
Named after the first Mexican American selected as a Distinguished Alumnus—Dr. Tomás Rivera—by Texas State University-San Marcos the TSU College of Education established the award in 1995. It is annually bestowed to authors and illustrators who create works of fiction or non-fiction for children and young adults that accurately depict the Mexican American experience.

Why Book Awards

Book awards are a yearly incentive for authors. They also give librarians, purchasers, publishers and authors a marking point for the best in literature. Award books are often go-to ideas for displays and lesson plans. Typically libraries try to stock their shelves with the latest book award winners. Oftentimes awards have more influence than reviews, as having a book award seal on a cover can instantly give the title more credibility.

Activity Ideas

  • Have an awards party, where everyone dresses up in fancy clothes and then votes on their favorite books of the year. Then the hosts can announce the winners.
  • Have a contest for who can read the most books on a nomination list. Children who read a pre- selected number of books could attend a party or lock-in at the library.
  • Have children write book reviews about their favorite award nominees of the year.
  • Make a special library display with book award winners.
  • Create a special book award for your library. Have students study the criteria for book awards and then make their own criteria.
  • Create a Pinterest page dedicated to book award nominees and winners.


“About the Award.” AJL. Association of Jewish Libraries, n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2013. <>.

“About the Award.” Rivera Book Award. Texas State U, n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2013. <>.

“About the Coretta Scott King Awards.” ALA. American Library Association, 18 Jan. 2009. Web. 9 Nov. 2013. <>.

“About the Pura Belpré Award.” ALSC. American Library Association, 30 Nov. 1999. Web. 9 Nov. 2013. <>.

“Amelia Bloomer Policies and Procedures.” Amelia Bloomer Project. WordPress, n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2013. <>.

“American Indian Youth Literature Award.” American Indian Library Association. n.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <>.

---. 2009. PDF file. <>.

“Américas Book Award.” CLASP. n.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2013. <>.

"Awards and Best-of-the-Year Lists." Cooperative Children's Book Center. University of Wisconsin-Madison. <>.

“Awards for Multicultural Youth Literature.” Drexel Pages. Drexel University, 30 Dec. 2006. Web. 9 Nov. 2013. <>.

"Book Awards." Center for Children's Books. Ed. Suzy Piel. Graduate School of Library and Information Science- UIUC. <>.

“Carter G. Woodson Book Awards.” NCSS. National Council for the Social Studies, n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2013. <>.

“Children’s Book Award Celebrates Anniversary.” Texas Library Journal. 81.2 (2005): 81-82. Library & Information Science Source. Web. 9 Nov. 2013.

Ellis, Brenda. “Carter G. Woodson: book awards.” Social Education. 68.4 (2004): 266. Academic OneFile. Web. 9 Nov. 2013.

Johnston, Lisa. “The Stonewall Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature Joins the ALA Youth Media Awards.” Young Adult Library Services. 9.3 (2011): 4-5. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 9 Nov. 2013.

Klipper, Barbara. “Great Reads, Intriguing Characters: The Schneider Family Book Award Winners.” Young Adult Library Services. 9.3 (2011): 6-7. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 Nov. 2013.

“Literature Awards.” APALA. n.p., n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2013. <>.

“Literature Awards Guidelines.” 2009. PDF file. <>.

Newingham, Beth. "Class Book Awards." Scholastic Teachers. Scholastic, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. <>.

Pinchuck, Kathe. “Recognizing Jewish Children’s Literature for Forty Years: The Sydney Taylor Book Award.” Judaica Librarianship. 14 (2008): 27-34. Library Literature &
Information Science Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 9 Nov. 2013.

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. “The Coretta Scott King Book Award: 40 and Fabulous!” Booklist. 105.11 (2009): 54. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 Nov. 2013.

“Pura Belpre.” REFORMA. n.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <>.

“Schneider Family Book Award Manual.” Updated 2012. Microsoft Word file.

“About the Award.” AJL. Association of Jewish Libraries, n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2013.