Amber Boulley / Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Angeline Boulley did not win a Newbery or Caldecott Medal this year from the American Library Association.
These are the two oldest and undoubtedly the most prestigious prizes in children’s literature. But they are among the 22 awards the ALA presented this week to children’s books, and a few names kept coming up during the ceremony, including Boulley.
A registered member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Boulley received the American Indian Youth Literature Awards for his novel YA Daughter of the Fire Keeper. It also won the William C. Morris Award for a First Book by a Beginning Author Writing for Teenagers and the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Literature Written for Young Adults. These are three important rewards.
Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Author Malinda Lo was only a finalist for the Printz Prize, but please don’t feel too sorry for her. His novel YA Last night at the Telegraph Club had previously won a National Book Award; the ALA awarded him the Children’s Literature Award for the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award as well as the Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Novels Literature for Children and Young Adults award given to books for young adults related to the LGBT experience.
“I belong to both of these communities, so I’m extremely honored,” Lo told NPR, beaming during a call via Zoom.
But the book for young people that received the most recognition from the American Library Association this year is called Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre. Author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Floyd Cooper each won a Coretta Scott King award this year. Unspeakable was also a Caldecott Book of Honor and a finalist for the Robert F. Sibert Information Book Medal.
“For me, the biggest reward comes in the form of a question,” Weatherford told NPR. She says that when children are interested in her book, they always ask her the same things. “Did this really happen. Or, why did this happen? Why did white people treat black people so unfairly? Why were they so hateful?”
A children’s book about the Tulsa Race Massacre could be banned in a number of states these days, Weatherford warns, because some lawmakers may consider it “critical race theory.” She says she would have loved to celebrate with her collaborator Floyd Cooper, but the acclaimed illustrator didn’t live to see his most recent string of honors. Cooper died in July of cancer at the age of 65.