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International Literacy Association Announces 2021 Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Awards Winners

By ILA Staff
 | May 12, 2021
Kids reading

The International Literacy Association (ILA) announced the 2021 winners of its Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Awards this week, highlighting both fiction and nonfiction works that exemplify the very best from rising stars in the literary field.

The winning authors and titles were unveiled during the ILA Children’s Literature Intensive: Creating a Culturally Responsive Classroom Through Books on May 11.

ILA’s annual book awards program recognizes newly published authors who exhibit exceptional promise in the children’s and young adults’ book fields; eligible titles must be the author’s first or second. In its history, the awards have featured the early works of now prominent literary figures including Juana Martinez-Neal, Patricia Polacco, and Lois Lowry.

This year’s honorees offer a range of topics—from overcoming adversity and trauma to celebrating the skin we’re in, from the beginning of the universe to a seahorse’s anatomy, and more.

“Authors such as this year’s winners provide a gateway to our students to learn both about the world in which we live—past and present—and worlds imagined,” said ILA Executive Director Marcie Craig Post. “With all of the uncertainties of the past year, these book creators are providing the constant we need: the ability to find refuge in and to grow through books.”

Awards are presented for fiction and nonfiction in each of three categories: primary, intermediate, and young adult.

The 2021 award winners are:

Primary Fiction

Winner: Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration. Samara Cole Doyon. Tilbury House.

Honor: I Talk Like a River. Jordan Scott. Neal Porter Books.

Primary Nonfiction

Winner: This Is a Seahorse. Cassandra Federman. Albert Whitman & Company.

Honor: The Big Bang Book. Asa Stahl. Creston Books.

Intermediate Fiction

Winner: Brother’s Keeper. Julie Lee. Holiday House.

Honor: When You Know What I Know. Sonja K. Solter. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Intermediate Nonfiction

Winner: The Suffragist Playbook: Your Guide to Changing the World. Lucinda Robb and Rebecca Boggs Roberts. Candlewick Press.

Honor: Lizzie Demands a Seat! Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights. Beth Anderson. Boyds Mills & Kane.

Young Adult Fiction

Winner: The Magic Fish. Trung Le Nguyen. Random House Children’s Books.

Honor: The Lucky Ones. Liz Lawson. Random House Children’s Books.

Young Adult Nonfiction

Winner: The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person. Frederick Joseph. Candlewick Press.

Additional information on the ILA Children’s and Young Adults’ Book Awards can be found here. Information on the ILA Children’s Literature Intensive, which will be available to view on demand, can be found here.

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