The 2018 In the Margins Book Awards Announced

The In the Margins Book Awards has revealed the top picks from books published in 2016 and 2017 that appeal to the reading needs and wants of marginalized teens.
Now in its sixth year, the In the Margins Book Awards has revealed the top picks in the Fiction, Nonfiction, and Social Justice/Advocacy Award categories, from books published in 2016 and 2017 that appeal to the reading needs and wants of marginalized young adults. The committee selected The Day Tajon Got Shot by Beacon House Writers and One Cut by Eve Porinchak as the Fiction and Nonfiction winners, respectively. For more the list of Top 10 titles and more about the committee, see the press release below.
Contact Dale Clark or Susan C. McNair 2018 In the Margin Book Award Co-Chairs Burnaby, BC—The In the Margins Book Awards Committee is excited to present the 2018 Top Fiction, Nonfiction, and Advocacy Awards for youth who are marginalized, on the streets, incarcerated, drug-addicted, or struggle with combinations of these issues. The committee is comprised of librarians who currently work or have recently worked with youth in these challenging circumstances. Not only do we read and discuss the multitude of books that we consider, but have the unique experience of having young adults assisting us in selecting the books by reading and sharing their opinions with us. With all of the enthusiasm that these young people make, we have created a reading list that is unlike many others. The fall of 2016 and 2017 brought an abundance of quality books appealing to the reading needs and wants of marginalized young adults along with books addressing the myriad of social issues faced by these youth.  While this complicated our task of selecting the best books to recommend, it did lead to many passionate discussions, and all of us were thrilled by the number of meaningful books that filled our reading boxes. We used our mission statement as our guide when deciding which books we would honor as our Top Ten.  Mission Statement: To seek out and highlight fiction and nonfiction titles (Pre-K through adult) of high-interest appeal to youth, ages 9–21, that reflect marginalized and/or street culture with a preference for marginalized books (books that are self-published or from small independent publishers). Our Top Ten List recognizes books that appeal to and reflect the marginalized youths’ daily lives and many are either self-published or small press books often overlooked by book awards.  Our list of fifty-two additional books contains books with the same focus, but also includes titles from major publishers.  The ITM Committee is seeking individuals who work with marginalized youth to be part of next year’s committee.  Click here for a membership application. In the Margins Official 2018 Top Ten List
  1. Beacon House Writers. The Day Tajon Got Shot. 230p. Shout Mouse Press. March 2017. PB $14.80. 9780996927451.
  2. Drake, Robert M. Broken Flowers: And Other Stairways to Heaven. Vintage Wild Publishing. October 2016. PB $15. 9781449486303.  
  3. Edwards, Peter. The Biker’s Brother. Annick Press. October 2017. HC $18.95 PB $9.95. 9781554519361.  
  4. Goobie, Beth. The Pain Eater. Second Story Press. September 2016. PB $12.95. 9781772600209.  
  5. Kowalski, William. Jumped In. Orca. April 2017. PB $9.95. 9781459816275.  
  6. Medina, Tony with Jennings, John (illustrator) and Robinson, Stacey (illustrator). I am Alfonso Jones. Tu Books. October 2017. PB. $18.95. 9781620142639.
  7. Nelson, Colleen. Blood Brothers. 240p. Dundurn. February 2017. PB. $12.99. 9781459737464.
  8. Paslay, Christopher. White Flight. Independently published. September 2017. PB $6.99. 9781549803246.
  9. Porinchak, Eve. One Cut. 256 p. Simon Pulse. May 2017. 241p. HC $19.99. PB. $10.99. 9781481481311.  
  10. Stinson, Taura, Stacey Debono (editor), & Adhama Glenn (Illustrator). 182p. 100 Things Every Black Girl Should Know: For Girls 10–100. Eat Write Hear, LCC. September 2017. PB. $25.00. 9780692914830.
Top Picks Our top pick from the Fiction category is The Day Tajon Got Shot which addresses the current issue of police shootings and resonates very strongly with both our adult and young adult readers. This year, multiple books cover this crucial topic, but this title is unique in that it is authored by ten girls from Beacon House, a non-profit organization with outreach to at-risk children in Washington, DC, with each writing the role of a different character.  The book is a riveting multi-layer account of a police shooting and its effect on a community and its residents, both black and white. One Cut receives our top Nonfiction award and has been a runaway success with our teen readers. This true crime book relates the story of a 1995 stabbing in California that left one teen dead and four more incarcerated.  Along with accounts of the incident and trial, the book discusses failings in the juvenile justice system. This is the fourth year ITM has presented the Social Justice/Advocacy Award, recognizing a book for adults that calls attention to the concerns and needs of marginalized communities and individuals. This year’s winner, Juvie Talk, is comprised of excerpts of interviews with incarcerated juveniles from across the country that remind us that these are our children. Our students in detention facilities are reading and discussing this book with each other, and adults will find it insightful. Young adults are marginalized in many different ways: incarceration, homelessness, immigration status, addiction, and abuse. We strive to find books that will appeal to these youth and relate to their lives and situations.  Like all of us, marginalized youth benefit from reading as an escape from their often harsh realities and also as an aid to help them clarify their problems. Our work with marginalized youth is both trying and rewarding and at its most gratifying when we make a connection with a student through a book. It is our goal that this list will assist you in selecting books that will touch the hearts, minds, and lives of the marginalized youth you serve. Click here for the complete set of lists: 2017 Committee Members:                                                                                                             Dale Clark (Co-Chair), Teacher-Librarian Fraser Park Secondary. Burnaby Youth Custody Services, BC, Canada. Susan C. McNair (Co-Chair), Librarian Birchwood School, Librarian Birchwood School, South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. Columbia, SC. Wini Ashooh, Librarian Teen Specialist Central Rappahannock Regional Library. Rappahannock, VA. Jeanie Austin, Librarian San Francisco Public Library. San Francisco, VA. Sabrina Carnesi, Doctoral Student and Adjunct Professor, Old Dominion University. Norfolk, VA.

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