National Book Award for Young People's Literature

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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 "by writers to writers".[1] The panelists are five "writers who are known to be doing great work in their genre or field".[2]

The category Young People's Literature was established in 1996. From 1969 to 1983, prior to the Foundation, there were some "Children's" categories.[3]

The award recognizes one book written by a US citizen and published in the US from December 1 to November 30. The National Book Foundation accepts nominations from publishers until June 15, requires mailing nominated books to the panelists by August 1, and announces five finalists in October. The winner is announced on the day of the final ceremony in November. The award is $10,000 and a bronze sculpture; other finalists get $1000, a medal, and a citation written by the panel.[4][a]

There were 230 books nominated for the 2010 award.[5]


Children's Books, 1969 to 1979[edit]

Books for "children" were first recognized by the National Book Awards in 1969 (publication year 1968). Through 1979 there was a single award category called either "Children's Literature" or "Children's Books".[3]

1979:[6] Katherine Paterson, The Great Gilly Hopkins

1978:[6] Judith and Herbert Kohl, The View From the Oak: The Private Worlds of Other Creatures (ethology)

  • Betty Sue Cummings, Hew Against the Grain
  • Ilse Koehn, Michling, Second Degree
  • David McCord, One at a Time (poetry)
  • William Steig, Caleb + Kate

1977:[6] Katherine Paterson, The Master Puppeteer

1976:[6] Walter D. Edmonds, Bert Breen's Barn

  • Eleanor Cameron, To the Green Mountains
  • Norma Faber, As I Was Crossing Boston Common
  • Isabelle Holland, Of Love and Death and Other Journeys
  • David McCord, The Star in the Pail (poetry)
  • Nicolasa Mohr, El Bronx Remembered
  • Brenda Wilkinson, Ludell

1975:[6] Virginia Hamilton, M. C. Higgins the Great

1974:[6] Eleanor Cameron, The Court of the Stone Children

1973:[6] Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore

1972:[6] Donald Barthelme, The Slightly Irregular Fire Engine or The Hithering Thithering Djinn

  • The National Book Foundation lists no other finalists.

1971:[6] Lloyd Alexander, The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian

1970:[6] Isaac Bashevis Singer, A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing up in Warsaw (autobiographical)

1969:[7] Meindert DeJong, Journey from Peppermint Street

Children's Books, 1980 to 1983[edit]

In 1980 under the new name "The American Book Awards" (TABA), the number of literary award categories jumped to 28 including two for Children's Books, hardcover and paperback. (Some graphics awards were inaugurated, too.) In the next three years there were three, five, and five "Children's" award categories —thus fifteen in four years— before the program was revamped with only three annual awards and none for children's books.[8]


James Cross Giblin, Chimney Sweeps

Fiction, hardcover
Jean Fritz, Homesick: My Own Story (autobiographical)

Fiction, paperback (split award)[b]
Paula Fox, A Place Apart (1980)
Joyce Carol Thomas, Marked by Fire (original)[c]

Picture Books, hard (split award)[b]
Barbara Cooney, Miss Rumphius
William Steig, Doctor De Soto

Picture Books, paper
Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrator Betty Fraser, A House is a House for Me (1978) (verse nonfiction)

Susan Bonners, A Penguin Year

  • Jean Fritz, Traitor: The Case of Benedict Arnold (about Benedict Arnold)
  • James Howe, The Hospital Book (Mal Warshaw, photos)
  • Patricia Lauber, Seeds: Pop, Stick and Glide (James Wexler, photos)
  • Melvin B. Zisfein, Flight: A Panorama of Aviation (Robert Parker, illus.)

Fiction, hardcover
Lloyd Alexander, Westmark

Fiction, paperback
Ouida Sebestyen, Words by Heart (1979)

Picture Books, hard
Maurice Sendak, Outside Over There

Picture Books, paper
Peter Spier, Noah's Ark (1977)

Alison Cragin Herzig and Jane Lawrence Mali, Oh, Boy! Babies

  • Jean Fritz, Where Do You Think You're Going, Christopher Columbus?
  • William Jaspersohn, The Ballpark
  • Milton Meltzer, All Time, All Peoples: A World History of Slavery
  • Peter Spier, People

Fiction, hardcover
Betsy Byars, The Night Swimmers

Fiction, paperback
Beverly Cleary, Ramona and Her Mother (1979)

Joan Blos, A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830–82 (fiction)

Madeleine L'Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978)

Young People's Literature, 1996 to date[edit]

The winner is listed first followed by the four other finalists.[a]

2020: Kacen Callender, King and the Dragonflies[9]

  • Traci Chee, We Are Not Free
  • Candice Iloh, Every Body Looking
  • Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, When Stars Are Scattered
  • Gavriel Savit, The Way Back

2019: Martin W. Sandler, 1919 The Year That Changed America[10]

2018: Elizabeth Acevedo, The Poet X[11][12]

2017: Robin Benway, Far from the Tree[13]

2016: John Lewis, Nate Powell, and Andrew Aydin, March: Book Three[14]

2015: Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep[15]

2014:[16] Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming[17]

2013:[18][19] Cynthia Kadohata, The Thing About Luck[20]

2012:[21] William Alexander, Goblin Secrets[22][23]

  • Carrie Arcos, Out of Reach
  • Patricia McCormick, Never Fall Down
  • Eliot Schrefer, Endangered
  • Steve Sheinkin, Bomb: The Race to Build―and Steal―the World's Most Dangerous Weapon

2011:[24] Thanhha Lai, Inside Out & Back Again

2010:[24] Kathryn Erskine, Mockingbird

2009:[25] Phillip Hoose, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (about Claudette Colvin)

2008:[25] Judy Blundell, What I Saw and How I Lied

2007:[25] Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (fiction)

2006:[25] M. T. Anderson, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party

2005:[25] Jeanne Birdsall, The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

2004:[25] Pete Hautman, Godless

2003:[25] Polly Horvath, The Canning Season

2002:[25] Nancy Farmer, The House of the Scorpion

2001:[25] Virginia Euwer Wolff, True Believer

2000:[25] Gloria Whelan, Homeless Bird

1999:[26] Kimberly Willis Holt, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town

1998:[26] Louis Sachar, Holes

1997:[26] Han Nolan, Dancing on the Edge

1996:[26] Victor Martinez, Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida ("my life", fiction)

1984 to 1995: no awards[3]

Authors with two awards[edit]

See Winners of multiple U.S. National Book Awards

Two authors have won two Children's or Young People's awards twice.

  • Lloyd Alexander won for The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian (1971) and Westmark (1982), among six titles that were finalists.
  • Katherine Paterson won for The Master Puppeteer (1977) and The Great Gilly Hopkins (1979), among three titles that were finalists.

Isaac Bashevis Singer won the Children's Literature award in 1970 for A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing up in Warsaw and shared the Fiction award in 1974 for A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Beginning 2005, the official annual webpages (see References) provide more information: the panelists in each award category, the publisher of each finalist, some audio-visual interviews with authors, etc. For 1996 to date, annual webpages generally provide transcripts of acceptance speeches by winning authors.
  2. ^ a b The 1983 panels split three awards, including two in the five Children's categories. Split awards have been prohibited continuously from 1984 (the same reform that eliminated the Children's categories).
  3. ^ a b c d e Books marked "original" may have been paperback reprints during the same calendar year as their hardcover first editions, whence "original" is a misnomer. "Original" books were not eligible for any previous National Book Award, however, as all were first published during the calendar year preceding the award year.


  1. ^ "History of the National Book Awards". National Book Foundation (NBF). Retrieved 2012-01-05.
  2. ^ "How the National Book Awards Work". NBF. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
  3. ^ a b c "National Book Award Winners: 1950 – 2009". NBF. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
  4. ^ "National Book Award Selection Process". NBFs. Retrieved 2011-11-17.
  5. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". NBF. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "National Book Awards – 1970". NBF. Retrieved 2012-02-07. (Select 1970 to 1979 from the top left menu.)
  7. ^ "National Book Awards – 1969". NBF. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
  8. ^ a b c d e "National Book Awards – 1980". NBF. Retrieved 2012-02-08. (Select 1980 to 1989 from the top left menu.)
  9. ^ "National Book Awards 2020 shortlists announced". Books+Publishing. 2020-10-07. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  10. ^ Diane, Roback (2019-11-21). "2019 National Book Awards for Young People's Literature in Photos". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  11. ^ "2018 National Book Awards - Young People's Literature". National Book Awards. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  12. ^ Constance Grady (October 10, 2018). "The 2018 National Book Award finalists are in. Here's the full list". Vox. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  13. ^ Far from the Tree - National Book Foundation
  14. ^ March: Book Three - National Book Foundation
  15. ^ 2015 National Book Awards
  16. ^ "Get To Know The Finalists For The 2014 National Book Award". Retrieved 2020-11-08.
  17. ^ Alter, Alexandra (November 19, 2014). "National Book Award Goes to Phil Klay for His Short Story Collection". The New York Times. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  18. ^ "2013 National Book Award Finalists Announced". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  19. ^ "2013 National Book Awards". NBF. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  20. ^ Clare Swanson (November 20, 2013). "2013 National Book Awards Go to McBride, Packer, Szybist, Kadohata". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  21. ^ Debra Lau Whelan (October 10, 2012). "SLJ Speaks to National Book Award Finalists". School Library Journal. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  22. ^ "2012 National Book Awards Go to Erdrich, Boo, Ferry, Alexander". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  23. ^ Leslie Kaufman (November 14, 2012). "Novel About Racial Injustice Wins National Book Award". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
  24. ^ a b "National Book Awards – 2010". NBF. Retrieved 2012-02-15. (Select 2010 or a later year from the top left menu.)
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "National Book Awards – 2000". NBF. Retrieved 2012-02-15. (Select 2000 to 2009 from the top left menu.)
  26. ^ a b c d "National Book Awards – 1990". NBF. Retrieved 2012-02-15. (Select 1990 to 1999 from the top left menu.)