The 2021 Morris Committee selected the finalists after hours of virtual deliberation,” said Melissa Malanuk, chair of the 2021 William C. Morris Award Committee.
- “The quality and diversity of this year’s debut authors made narrowing our selections to five titles quite a challenge. Our finalists range from the magical realism of a young black woman’s wizarding journey of hope; a teen living in a house that magically conceals the acts of violence that take place; a historical but timely novel about a black teen awakening to social injustice during the 1992 L.A. riots; a teen whose surprise romance forces her to confront scars of her past; and a fantasy novel that celebrates Bolivian culture while highlighting the impact of colonization. Reader’s will be riveted by the diverse voices and a wide array of experiences captured in the selected titles.”
The Young Adult Library Services Association 2021 FINALIST are
“Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard,” written by Echo Brown published by Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. 9781250309853.Heavily autobiographical and infused with magical realism, Black Girl Unlimited fearlessly explores the intersections of poverty, sexual violence, depression, racism, and sexism–all through the arc of a transcendent coming-of-age story for fans of Renee Watson’s Piecing Me Together and Ibi Zoboi’s American Street.
Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic . . . everywhere. New portals begin to open when Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor.
The Black Kids written by Christina Hammonds Reed, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. A brilliantly poetic take on one of the most defining moments in Black American history.” –Tiffany D. Jackson, author of Grown and Monday’s Not ComingPerfect for fans of The Hate U Give, this unforgettable coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots
- “If These Wings Could Fly,” written by Kyrie McCauley, published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins.Perfect for fans of Laura Ruby, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Mindy McGinnis, Kyrie McCauley’s stunning YA debut is a powerful story about the haunting specter of domestic violence and the rebellious forces of sisterhood and first love.Tens of thousands of crows invading Auburn, Pennsylvania, is a problem for everyone in town except seventeen-year-old Leighton Barnes. For Leighton, it’s no stranger than her house, which inexplicably repairs itself every time her father loses his temper and breaks things.
- “It Sounded Better in My Head,” written by Nina Kenwood, published by Flatiron Books, Macmillan Publishers.From debut author Nina Kenwood comes a tender and funny novel about first love and its confusions, and all of the awkwardness of teen romance. It Sounded Better in My Head is a compulsively readable love letter to teenage romance in all of its awkward glory, perfect for fans of Booksmart, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and Emergency Contact.
- “Woven in Moonlight,” written by Isabel Ibañez, published by Page Street Publishing.One of Time magazine’s 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true arist crata to their rightful place
The Morris Award is named after William C. Morris, an influential innovator in the publishing world and an advocate for marketing books for children and young adults. William “Bill” Morris left an impressive mark on the field of children’s and young adult literature. He was beloved in the publishing field and the library profession for his generosity and marvelous enthusiasm for promoting literature for children and teens.
Members of the 2021 William C. Morris Award Committee are: chair Melissa Malanuk, Queens Borough Public Library, Jamaica, New York; Meaghan Darling, Sparta Public Library, Sparta, New Jersey; Laura Erwin, Bossard Memorial Library, Gallipolis, Ohio; Megan Garrett, Mid-Continent Public Library, Lee’s Summit, Missouri; Jamie M. Gregory, Christ Church Episcopal School, Moore, South Carolina; Lindsey Helfrich, Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento, California; Alicia Kalan, The Northwest School, Seattle, Washington; Carol Maples, Central High School, Pollok, Texas; and Ann Pechacek, Worthington Libraries, Worthington, Ohio.
The mission of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources, go to www.ala.org/yals
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