With all the whooping and screaming and unbridled enthusiasm during the Youth Media Awards announcements, the hundreds of librarians in the room at ALA Midwinter might have been mistaken for a group of shrieking tweens. But no! Few if any actual tweens graced the room that morning and none of the awards target that slippery upper elementary, middle school-ish group in particular. Good news for tween readers and the librarians and teachers who serve them: Many of the wonderful titles celebrated earlier this month suit tweens perfectly.
Immediately after the announcements, members of the School Age Programs and Service Committee met to go over all the newly-minted winners and honorees, identifying titles for independent reading and/or classroom use. If you work with tweens, these books might just be the next great reads for your kids. These include novels, pictures books, comics, and audiobooks, both fiction and nonfiction. Because some were awarded in multiple categories and for multiple creators, I’ve simply listed them in alphabetical order by author (so you can find them quickly in the catalog). Enjoy reading and sharing them with your tweens!
Trombone Shorty, Troy Andrews
Adam and Thomas, Aharon Appelfeld
The Smoking Mirror, David Bowles
The War That Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, Don Brown
Drum Dream Girl, Margarita Engle
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings, Margarita Engle
George, Alex Gino
First Flight Around the World: The Adventures of the American Fliers Who Won the Race, Tim Grove
Fish in a Tree, Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Roller Girl, Victoria Jamieson
The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon, Nancy Plain
The Boy in the Black Suit, Jason Reynolds
Echo, Pam Muñoz Ryan
Sex Is a Funny Word, Cory Silverberg
Hoodoo, Ronald L. Smith
Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, Laurie Ann Thompson
Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras, Duncan Tonatiuh
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, Carole Boston Weatherford
Gone Crazy in Alabama, Rita Williams-Garcia
Robbin Ellis Friedman is a Children’s Librarian at the Chappaqua Library in Chappaqua, NY, and a member of the ALSC School Age Programs and Services Committee. Feel free to write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.