The 2022 ALA Youth Media Awards: See Who Took Home the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, and More!

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Tirzah Price

Senior Contributing Editor

Most of Tirzah Price's life decisions have been motivated by a desire to read as many books as humanly possible. Tirzah holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has worked as an independent bookseller and librarian. She’s also the author of the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries, published by HarperTeen, and Bibliologist at TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations. Follow her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.

Today is the happiest day of the year for children’s and young adult publishing: The announcement of the ALA’s Youth Media Awards! The ceremony, which is usually held in person at ALA Midwinter, was live-streamed to audiences at home where authors, librarians, teachers and readers alike all congratulated winners in the live chat. Not only was the event guaranteed to explode your TBR, but this year was extra special as it was the 100th anniversary of the Newbery Award! Here are some important highlights from this year’s ceremony.

The Last Cuentista cover

First, the winners of the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz Awards! These awards honor the best in children’s literature, picture book illustration, and young adult literature respectively and are the most prestigious of the ALA YMA offerings. This year’s Newbery was The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera. The Caledcott went to Watercress, illustrated by Jason Chin and written by Andrea Wang. And the Printz Award winner is Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angline Boulley. All three of these books took home awards and honors in other categories as well. The Last Cuentista also won the Pura Belpré Children’s Author Award, and Watercress is a Newbery Honor and the picture book winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Firekeeper’s Daughter was also the William C. Morris Award winner, and an American Indian Youth Literature Award honor title.

Speaking of books that really swept the awards, Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo, which previously won the National Book Award, was named a Printz honor, the Stonewall Book Award Young Adult winner, and won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in the Youth Literature category. Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Weatherford Boston and the late Floyd Cooper was the recipient of a Caldecott Honor, won the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award and the Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award, and was named a Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award honor.

Other notable awards announced include the Coretta Scott King Awards for “outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values,” the Mildred L. Batchelder Award to honor the best translated work, the Pura Belpré Awards to celebrate Latine writers and illustrators who best portray Latine culture and heritage, the Odyssey Award for best audiobook production for kids and teens, the Alex Awards for adult books with teen appeal, the Stonewall Book Awards for literature that portrays the LGBTQIA+ experience, Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature for a book that celebrates Asian/Pacific American culture and heritage, the The Sydney Taylor Book Award for books about an authentic Jewish experience, and so much more. Also announced were the American Indian Youth Literature Awards, which are awarded on even years.

A few important lifetime achievement awards were given to four very deserving established authors in the field: Grace Lin took the Children’s Literature Legacy Award for her substantial contribution to children’s literature. A.S. King won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for a lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Nikki Grimes won the Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement for her more than 77 outstanding published works. And Jane Yolen took the Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award for her substantial contribution to the body of Jewish kidlit.

For a full list of today’s winners and honors, check out the ALA’s Youth Media Awards press kit.

For a look at past awards, check out the 2021 Youth Media Award winners. To brush up on other YA book prizes, here’s a primer on Non-ALA YA and Children’s Book Awards.