Posts Tagged award winning children’s fiction

ICYMI: 2023 Award Winners

The new year is all about looking forward but in case you missed it, 2023 was loaded with middle grade books that inspired, challenged and delighted young readers. Today, let’s take a look at a few that won prestigious awards for their contributions to children’s literature.

Newbery Medal: Freewater, by Amina Luqman-Dawson

The Newbery Medal, one of the most esteemed awards in children’s literature, was awarded to this debut novel that captivates with its tale of escape and resilience, offering young readers a profound glimpse into the journey of two siblings who flee from the harsh realities of enslavement. This story of survival, adventure, friendship, and courage inspires and educates, serving as a reminder of the strength of the human spirit.



Schneider Family Book Award: Wildoak, by C.C. Harrington

This award celebrates books that express the disability experience with artistry and authenticity. Wild Oak weaves a tale of courage and friendship, highlighting the importance of understanding and inclusion. Harrington’s narrative skillfully brings to light the challenges and triumphs of living with a disability, making it a must-read.




Pura Belpré Award:  Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega, illustrated by Rose Bousamra.

This award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library and honors Latino/Latina writers and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in outstanding works of literature for children and youth. Frizzy tells the story of Marlene, who struggles with embracing her curly hair amidst pressure to straighten it for her sister’s quinceañera. The narrative weaves themes of self-acceptance, cultural identity, and the importance of family, offering a powerful message about embracing one’s natural beauty and heritage.


Odyssey Award: Stuntboy, in the Meantime, by Jason Reynolds

The Odyssey Award for the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults recognized Stuntboy, in the Meantime, produced by Taryn Beato for Simon & Schuster Audio. Vibrant and engaging, this audiobook brings the Jason Reynold’s novel that blends humor, heart, and heroism to life.



The Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature: Maizy Chen’s Last Chance, by Lisa Yee

This award celebrates and recognizes books about Asian/Pacific Americans and their heritage, focusing on literary and artistic merit. Maizy Chen’s Last Chance, the 2023 recipient, is a heartfelt middle-grade novel that explores family, identity, and the history of a Chinese American family through the eyes of Maizy Chen, who spends an unforgettable summer at her grandparents’ restaurant in a small town. (also a Newbery Honor Award recipient AND a National Book Award Finalist!)



Mildred L. Batchelder Award: Just a Girl: A True Story of World War II, by Lia Levi, translated by Sylvia Notini

The Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children’s book translated into English was given to “Just a Girl: A True Story of World War II.” Originally published in Italian, this poignant novel offers a deeply moving and insightful glimpse into the life of a young Jewish girl living in Italy during World War II, highlighting the struggles, resilience, and hope amidst the backdrop of historical events.



A Book (List) for Every Occasion

Over the weekend, America officially kicked off the 2016 holiday buying season with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and a whole lot of sales. If you’ve got children ages 8-12 on your shopping list–or just need a lot of books to keep them busy over that long winter break from school–here are some resources to help you find the perfect book:

The first place you go when you need a book recommendation is your local librarian, right? Well if not, it should be. But barring that, you can always look to the Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC) for their annual Notable Children’s Books list.

Note that their recommendation categories vary a bit from ours, with what we call middle grade being divided between Middle Readers (age 8-10) and Older Readers (age 11-14). This year’s titles include one of my favorites, The Thing About Jellyfish.

Although the finalists won’t be announced until January 1, the Cybils Awards nomination list has a lot of great titles for middle-grade readers. Books are nominated and judged by middle grade and young adult book bloggers. Don’t forget to check out the nominations for nonfiction and graphic novels.

Voting just closed on the Goodreads Choice Awards for 2016. This has grown into one of my favorite contests of the year because votes are cast by the readers themselves.


That’s not to say that I don’t browse the major contests when I’m looking for books for the kids on my list.

The Newbery Medal Honor Books are always a great place to look for the very best of the year’s children’s books and two of my favorites this year, Echo and Rollergirl, are on this list.




And the recently-announced National Book Awards are full of gorgeous titles, including the timely March trilogy by Congressman John Lewis.

I particularly liked the visual list of middle-grade titles put out by We Need Diverse Books and covering everything from nonfiction to humor to fantasy.

Still not finding what you’re looking for? Check out one of our book lists from The Mixed Up Files.

Where do you go to find book recommendations for your middle-grade readers?