'Merci Suárez' Wins Newbery, 'Hello Lighthouse,' the Caldecott; 'The Poet X' Takes Printz at 2019 Youth Media Awards

The Poet X wins the Printz and more, at the 2019 Youth Media Awards, announced today at the American Library Association's Midwinter meeting in Seattle. 

Elizabeth Acevedo's The Poet X was a big winner today, while Meg Medina and Sophie Blackall earned Newbery and Caldecott Medals, respectively, at the 2019 Youth Media Awards ceremony in Seattle at American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting.

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Medina won the John Newbery Medal, given to "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children" by Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC).

The Newbery Honors books were: The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock and The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal, awarded annually by the ALSC to the most distinguished American picture book for children, went to Hello Lighthouse, illustrated and written by Blackall.

The Caldecott Honor books were: Thank You, Omu! illustrated and written by Oge Mora; The Rough Patch illustrated and written by Brian Lies; A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin; and Alma and How She Got Her Name illustrated and written by Juana Martinez-Neal. 

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo won the Michael L. Printz Award, given each year by YALSA to the book that "exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature."

"We’re so thrilled to have chosen The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo as the 2019 Michael Printz Award winner," said Rachel Fryd, chair of the Printz committee. "It’s that rare combination of kick-ass literary novel and resonant, readable story."

The Poet X also won the Pura Belpré Author Award and an Odyssey Honor.

The Printz Honors books were: I, Claudia by Mary McCoy; A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti; Damsel by Elana K. Arnold.

She added, "Our honors emerged from a very large pack of outstanding YA lit this year by virtue of their strong voices and potent themes."

The YMAs ceremony began with the winners of awards from affiliates American Indian Library Association (AILA), Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) , and the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL). It was the first year these affiliate awards were announced at the annual ceremony in ALA’s attempt to highlight the best in multicultural literature for youth and spotlight these affiliate organizations.Before beginning the award announcements ALA president Loida Garcia-Febo spoke of the role of librarians and children's books. She talked about librarians work to "strengthen communities and society by working to abolish ignorance, social injustice, and bigotry through education and lifelong learning" then moved on to the celebration of "quality, multi-cultural literature for youth."

See the complete list of winners below.


Mahnaz Dar contributed to this article.

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Kara Yorio

Kara Yorio (kyorio@mediasourceinc.com, @karayorio) is news editor at School Library Journal.

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