Here are the 2023 Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz Award Winners

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The American Library Association has announced the 2023 winners of the Youth Media Awards, including the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz. These are some of the prestigious awards in children’s literature; the Newbery Medal has been awarded for over 100 years.

Here are this year’s winners. Descriptions of each book are from the publisher.

John Newbery Medal

For the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature.

the cover of Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson

Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson

Debut author Amina Luqman-Dawson pens a lyrical, accessible historical middle-grade novel about two enslaved children’s escape from a plantation and the many ways they find freedom.

Under the cover of night, twelve-year-old Homer flees Southerland Plantation with his little sister Ada, unwillingly leaving their beloved mother behind. Much as he adores her and fears for her life, Homer knows there’s no turning back, not with the overseer on their trail. Through tangled vines, secret doorways, and over a sky bridge, the two find a secret community called Freewater, deep in the swamp.

In this society created by formerly enslaved people and some freeborn children, Homer finds new friends, almost forgetting where he came from. But when he learns of a threat that could destroy Freewater, he crafts a plan to find his mother and help his new home.

Deeply inspiring and loosely based on the history of maroon communities in the South, this is a striking tale of survival, adventure, friendship, and courage. 

Randolph Caldecott Medal

For the most distinguished American picture book for children.

the cover of Hot Dog by Doug Salati

Hot Dog by Doug Salati

From a critically acclaimed creator comes this summery picture book featuring an overheated—and overwhelmed—pup who finds his calm with some sea, sand, and fresh air.

It’s summer in the city, and this hot dog has had enough! Enough of sizzling sidewalks, enough of wailing sirens, enough of people’s feet right in his face. When he plops down in the middle of a crosswalk, his owner endeavors to get him the breath of fresh air he needs. She hails a taxi, hops a train, and ferries out to the beach.

Here, a pup can run!

With fluid art and lyrical text that have the soothing effect of waves on sand, Doug Salati shows us how to find calm and carry it back with us so we can appreciate the small joys in a day.

Michael L. Printz Award

For excellence in literature written for young adults.

Cover of All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir comes a brilliant, unforgettable, and heart-wrenching contemporary novel about family and forgiveness, love and loss, in a sweeping story that crosses generations and continents.

Lahore, Pakistan. Then.

Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Clouds’ Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start.

 Juniper, California. Now.

Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until The Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding.   

Now, Sal scrambles to run the family motel as his mother Misbah’s health fails and his grieving father loses himself to alcoholism. Noor, meanwhile, walks a harrowing tightrope: working at her wrathful uncle’s liquor store while hiding the fact that she’s applying to college so she can escape him—and Juniper—forever.

When Sal’s attempts to save the motel spiral out of control, he and Noor must ask themselves what friendship is worth—and what it takes to defeat the monsters in their pasts and the ones in their midst.  

From one of today’s most cherished and bestselling young adult authors comes a breathtaking novel of young love, old regrets, and forgiveness—one that’s both tragic and poignant in its tender ferocity.

Alex Awards

Babel by R.F. Kuang book cover

For the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences.

A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin

Babel by R.F. Kuang

Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez, Danica Brine, Hank Jones, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

Solito: A Memoir by Javier Zamora

The High Desert: Black. Punk. Nowhere. by James Spooner

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

True Biz by Sara Nović

Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser

Schneider Family Book Awards

the cover of Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion

For books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.

Young Children: Listen by Shannon Stocker, illustrated by Devon Holzwarth

Middle Grade: Wildoak by C.C. Harrington

Teens: The Words We Keep by Erin Stewart

Stonewall Book Award

Cover of Love, Violet by Wild

Given annually to English-language works of exceptional merit for children or teens relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.

Children: Love, Violet by Charlotte Sullivan Wild, illustrated by Charlene Chua

Young Adult: When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb 

Sydney Taylor Book Awards

When the Angels Left the Old Country cover

Presented annually to outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.

Picture Book: The Tower of Life by Chana Stiefel, illustrated by Susan Gal

Middle Grade: Aviva vs. the Dybbuk by Mari Lowe

Young Adult: When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb

Coretta Scott King Book Awards

We Deserve Monuments cover

For recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults.

Author Award: Amina Luqman-Dawson, Freewater

Illustrator Award: Frank Morrison, Standing in the Need of Prayer written by Carole Boston Weatherford

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award

Illustrator: Janelle Washington, Choosing Brave written by Angela Joy 

Author: Jas Hammonds, We Deserve Monuments

Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement: Claudette McLinn

Pura Belpré Awards

frizzy book cover

Honoring Latinx writers and illustrators whose children’s and young adult books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience.

Children’s Illustration: Where Wonder Grows, illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia, written by Xelena González

Children’s Author: Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega, illustrated by Rose Bousamra

Young Adult Author: Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado

Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature

the cover of From the Tops of the Trees

Promotes Asian/Pacific American culture and heritage and is awarded based on literary and artistic merit.

Picture Book: From the Tops of the Trees by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Rachel Wada

Children’s Literature: Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee

Youth/YA Literature: Himawari House by Harmony Becker

Mildred L. Batchelder Award

For an outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States.

Just a Girl: A True Story of World War II by Lia Levi, illustrated by Jess Mason

Check out the full list of the 2023 Youth Media Award Winners.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.