A Word About Other Awards (And What it Means for the Odds of a Printz)

Ruminated on by Andrea, Windsor Library

Every year, I look forward to the Youth Media Awards that are announced in January. But it’s possible that like me, you also enjoy the added thrill of seeing the nominees for the Morris Debut Award and the YALSA Award for Excellence in Non-fiction announced at the beginning of December. I see it as a chance to get some reading done with focused vision on specific nominees. This year is no different.

From these 5 books, one will be chosen for the Morris Award as the book that is “published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature“:

The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E.K. Johnston

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton


From these 5 books, one will be chosen for as the best non-fiction title:

Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming

Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business—and Won! by Emily Arnold McCully

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen


But what does this mean for these titles’ odds in the big show? After comparing notes on these two awards to the Printz winners and honor books, the results look grim:

Number of years the Morris Award has been given: 6

Number of books nominated: 30

Number of books also recognized by the Printz committee: 1

Percentage of books nominated for both: 3.33%


Number of years the YALSA Nonfiction Award has been given: 5

Number of books nominated: 25

Number of books also recognized by the Printz committee: 1

Percentage of books nominated for both: 4%

Now, the numbers for the Morris Award are straightforward. Only one book has cross-recognition. However, our contributor Sara loved Gabi; could we see another elusive double honor this year?

The Nonfiction Award deserves a closer look. Again, only one book is on both the Nonfiction list and the Printz list. And in fact, no other non-fiction book has been nominated for the Printz since the first year of the Non-fiction Award. However, two books that were Nonfiction nominees were also recognized for the Newbery Award, improving the odds of a non-fiction being recognized by a major award to 12%.

So, what say you, dear reader? Is this unfair? Unjust? Are you championing a title this year that could defy the odds? I would love to hear which one(s) you’re getting behind and why. Please, add to my reading list!


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