Blogger AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

Youth Book Awards with an International Flair

Spring is in the air and with it, perhaps one is looking for other award winners to purchase and promote in your libraries. Information in this blog post focuses on international books to help advance efforts to engage students; perhaps especially those who are recent immigrants to the United States

With more and more of our young people coming to our school and public libraries speaking languages other than English in the home, a global perspective in looking at award winning titles may be useful in serving your community.

Global Literature in Libraries Initiative Translated YA Book Prize (GLLI)
Translated YA Book Prize. Awarded in the spring, this relatively new award (the first given in 2019), recognizes teen literature originally published outside of the United States. Incidentally, GLLI has an excellent resource for buying books in Chinese if that is a need for your community.

It is worth noting that this year, in addition to the Batcheldor Award honorees, other award winning titles were translated books:

  • Printz Honor Book, Fire From the Sky by Mia Backe Åstot, translated by Eva Apelqvist
  • Cross My Heart and Never Lie by Nora Dåsnes, translated by Matt Bagguley was named the Stonewall Book Award – Children’s Award Book.
  • Mi Papá es un Agrícola/My Father, the Farmworker by J. Roman Pérez Varela, is a bilingual book that earned the Pura Belpré Youth Illustration Honor Book
  • Benita y las Criaturas Nocturnas by Mariana Llanos is a Spanish language book also published separately in English that earned the Pura Belpré Children’s Author Honor Book.

USBBY Outstanding International Books List (United States Board on Books for Young People) the US national section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY)
Although not an ALA organization, there is ALA representation on the USBBY board (if you’re interested, keep your eyes open for the call for candidates!). The awards list is published in January or February of each year, as of the writing of this post, the 2024 list had not yet been posted on the USBBY award site. IBBY publishes a biannual list of books for youth depicting characters with varying abilities. The books are in multiple languages and formats, including Braille, dyslexia-friendly fonts, and tactile illustrations, plus other formats. The most current list is released in the spring in odd numbered years. Additionally, USBBY and IBBY in collaboration with the Toronto Public Library create a catalog recognizing outstanding titles featuring children/youth with diverse abilities.

Cuatrogatos Foundation Award
The Cuatrogatos Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in Miami, Florida by writers to encourage Spanish language books for children and youth. All titles are in Spanish. Awards are announced in January.

…And Finally
Although not necessarily international in intention, there are only two awards (at least that I am aware of) that are given by children and youth themselves.

Young Reader’s Choice Award (Pacific Northwest Library Association)

Favorites Award (formerly Children’s and Youth Choices) (International Literacy Association and the Children’s Book Council)

Oh, one more thought, for more non-ALA awards, see this helpful list on the ALSC web site: https://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/childrens-book-awards-other-organizations


Allison G. Kaplan is a member of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation and Distinguished Faculty Associate Emerita from the Information School at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

One comment

  1. Robin L. Gibson

    Hi, thanks for highlighting USBBY and the annual Outstanding International Books list, announced at LibLearnX. You can find this list on the USBBY website: https://www.usbby.org/news/2024-outstanding-international-books-list-announced and also in the February issue of School Library Journal: https://www.slj.com/story/USBBY-announces-the-2024-outstanding-international-books-list

    Thanks again for mentioning USBBY!
    Robin Gibson
    ALA/ALSC representative to USBBY Board, 2023-24
    USBBY Ambassador, Ohio
    (and hi Allison, from a 1996 UW-Madison SLIS grad!)

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