Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award

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Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award
Awarded for "literary excellence, widespread appeal, and positive approach to life in young-adult literature"
Country United States
Presented by The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN)
First awarded 2009
Website Edit this on Wikidata

The Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, presented by The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English (ALAN), is an annual award in the United States for a book that exemplifies literary excellence, widespread appeal, and a positive approach to life in young adult literature. It is named for Amelia Elizabeth Walden who died in Westport, Connecticut in 2002 and was a pioneer in the field of Young Adult Literature. The national award is presented annually to the author of a title selected by ALAN's Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Committee.[1]


The Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award was established in 2008 to honor the wishes of Amelia Elizabeth Walden. It allows for the sum of $5,000 to be awarded annually to the winning title, and was first awarded on Monday, November 23, 2009.[2] The award highlights works written for a young adult audience that demonstrate a positive approach to life, widespread teen appeal, and literary merit.[1]

Amelia Elizabeth Walden was born in New York City on January 15, 1909. She graduated from Columbia University in 1934 and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. From 1935 to 1945, she taught English and Dramatics at Norwalk High School (Connecticut). She married John William Harmon in 1946. Her first novel, Gateway, was published in 1946. Walden told her editor that she intended the novel for young people who lived at the gateway, on that middle ground between adolescence and adulthood. Walden claimed, “I respond to young people because I remember my own adolescence so vividly – and fondly. It was a period of total involvement, of enjoying life to the hilt.” Walden wrote over 40 young adult novels. She died in 2002 in Westport, Connecticut. A collection of some of her literary manuscripts and correspondence with McGraw-Hill between 1954 and 1977 relating to book production is available for review in the Special Collections and University Archives of the University of Oregon Libraries.[1]


The selection committee composed of ten The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) members (3 teachers, 3 university professors, 3 librarians, and 1 chair) appointed by the previous year's chair and current ALAN President for a one-year term with the possibility of re-election for a second term.[1] They award one winning title and honor up to four additional titles on their shortlist.

  • Per Walden’s request

The selected title 'MUST:[1]

  1. be a work of fiction, ideally a novel (stand-alone or part of a series);
  2. be published within one year prior to the call for titles;
  3. be published in the United States but may have been published elsewhere prior; and
  4. possess a positive approach to life, widespread teen appeal, and literary merit (please see below for additional guidance).
  • A Positive Approach to Life [1]

Submitted titles should:

    • treat teen readers as capable and thoughtful young people
    • offer hope and optimism, even when describing difficult circumstances
    • have a credible and appropriate resolution
    • portray characters involved in shaping their lives in a positive way, even as they struggle with the harsh realities of life
  • Widespread Teen Appeal [1]

Submitted titles should:

    • be intended expressly for readers aged 12–18
    • have universal themes that transcend time and place
    • have themes that resonate with a wide variety of readers, regardless of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation
    • provide readers with a window to the world and/or reflect their own experiences
  • Literary Merit [1]

Submitted titles should:

    • contain well-developed characters
    • employ well-constructed forms suitable to function
    • include language and literary devices that enhance the narrative
    • suggest cogent and richly-realized themes
    • present an authentic voice


Walden Award winners and runners-up[3]
Year Author Book Citation
2016 and Brendan Kiely , Jason ReynoldsJason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely All American Boys Winner
2016 Niven , JenniferJennifer Niven All the Bright Places Honor
2016 Shusterman , NealNeal Shusterman Challenger Deep Honor
2016 Hope Pérez, AshleyAshley Hope Pérez Out of Darknes Honor
2016 Graudin, RyanRyan Graudin Wolf by Wolf Honor

2015 King, A.S.A.S. King Glory O'Brien's History of the Future Winner
2015 Williams , MichaelMichael Williams Diamond Boy Honor
2015 Quintero , IsabelIsabel Quintero Gabi, A Girl in Pieces Honor
2015 Halse Anderson , LaurieLaurie Halse Anderson The Impossible Knife of Memory Honor
2015 Wiles, DeborahDeborah Wiles Revolution (The Sixties Trilogy) Honor
2014[4][5] Rowell , RainbowRainbow Rowell Eleanor & Park Winner
2014 Flores-Scott , PatrickPatrick Flores-Scott Jumped In Honor
2014 Whitman , SylviaSylvia Whitman The Milk of Birds Honor
2014 Konigsberg , BillBill Konigsberg Openly Straight Honor
2014 Smith , AndrewAndrew Smith Winger Honor
2013[6] Green , JohnJohn Green The Fault in Our Stars Winner
2013 Sáenz , Benjamin AlireBenjamin Alire Sáenz Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Honor
2013 King , A. S.A. S. King Ask the Passengers Honor
2013 Schrefer , EliotEliot Schrefer Endangered Honor
2012[7] Myracle , LaurenLauren Myracle Shine Winner
2012 Sharenow , RobertRobert Sharenow Berlin Boxing Club Honor
2012 Young , MoiraMoira Young Blood Red Road Honor
2012 Sepetys , RutaRuta Sepetys Between Shades of Gray Honor
2012 McCall , Guadalupe GarciaGuadalupe Garcia McCall Under the Mesquite Honor
2011[8] Stork , Francisco X.Francisco X. Stork The Last Summer of the Death Warriors Winner
2011 Sonnenblick , JordanJordan Sonnenblick After Ever After Honor
2011 Peña , Matt de laMatt de la Peña I Will Save You Honor
2011 Quick , MatthewMatthew Quick Sorta Like a Rockstar Honor
2011 Chandler , KristenKristen Chandler Wolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me Honor
2010[9] Cashore , KristinKristin Cashore Fire Winner
2010 Stork , Francisco X.Francisco X. Stork Marcelo in the Real World Honor
2010 Yancey , RickRick Yancey The Monstrumologist Honor
2010 Chen Headley , JustinaJustina Chen Headley North of Beautiful Honor
2010 Alexander , Jill S.Jill S. Alexander The Sweetheart of Prosper County Honor
2009[2] Kluger , SteveSteve Kluger My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins & Fenway Park Winner
2009 Woodson , JacquelineJacqueline Woodson After Tupac and D Foster Honor
2009 Cashore , KristinKristin Cashore Graceling Honor
2009 Gaiman , NeilNeil Gaiman The Graveyard Book Honor
2009 Valentine , JennyJenny Valentine Me, the Missing, and the Dead
(originally Finding Violet Park, UK, 2007)

See also[edit]

  • Printz Award – American Library Association medal recognizing the year's best book for teens
  • Newbery Medal – American literature for children (children or young adults prior to 2000)
  • Carnegie Medal – British literature for children or young adults
  • Guardian Prize – fiction for children or young adults by British and Commonwealth writers


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award". ALAN. Archived 2011-08-20. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  2. ^ a b "Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Winner Announced". December 1, 2009. ALAN. Archived 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  3. ^ "Walden Award". ALAN ( Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  4. ^ 2014 (read press release).
  5. ^ "Special Announcement: 2014 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Winner". July 30, 2014. Unleashing Readers ( Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  6. ^ 2013 (read press release).
  7. ^ "Shine wins Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award". YALSA: The Hub. Young Adult Library Services Association ( July 24, 2012. Retrieved 2015-04-12. 
  8. ^ "2011 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Finalists". June 20, 2011. ALAN. Archived 2011-08-27. Retrieved 2015-04-12.
  9. ^ "2010 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Winner & Finalists Announced". July 19, 2010. ALAN. Archived 2010-08-18. Retrieved 2015-04-12.

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