2021 NCTE Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry

The National Council of Teachers of English have announced the recipients of the 2021 Award for Excellence in Children’s Poetry. The books selected are for ages 3-13 and represent the best of the year for children’s poetry and verse novels, in two separate lists. The poetry books defined broadly, including picture books written in verse. Here are the recipients:


Amphibian Acrobats by Leslie Bulion, illustrated by Robert Meganck

Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom. Carole Boston Weatherford. Illus. by Michele

By and By: Charles Albert Tindley, the Father of Gospel Music. Carole Boston Weatherford.
Illus. by Bryan Collier

Cast Away: Poems for Our Time. Naomi Shihab Nye.

Construction People. Lee Bennett Hopkins. Illus. by Ellen Shi.

Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z. Irene Latham and
Charles Waters. Illus. by Mehrdokht Amini

Follow the Recipe: Poems about Imagination, Celebration, and Cake. Marilyn Singer. Illus. by
Marjorie Priceman

Green on Green. Dianne White. Illus. by Felicita Sala

I Wish. Toon Tellegen. Illus. by Ingrid Godon. Trans. by David Colmer

I’m Feeling Blue, Too! Marjorie Maddox. Illus. by Philip Huber

In the Woods. David Elliott. Illus. by Rob Dunlavey

Mexique: A Refugee Story from the Spanish Civil War. Marίa José Ferrada. Illus. by Ana Penyas

A New Green Day. Antoinette Portis

No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History. Ed. by Lindsay H. Metcalf,
Keila V. Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley. Illus. by Jeanette Bradley

On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring. Buffy Silverman

On the Horizon. Lois Lowry. Illus. by Kenard Pak

A Place Inside of Me. Zetta Elliott. Illus. by Noa Denmon

Snow Birds. Kirsten Hall. Illus. by Jenni Desmond.

Summer Feet. Sheree Fitch. Illus. by Carolyn Fisher

This Poem Is a Nest. Irene Latham. Illus. by Johanna Wright

When You Breathe. Diana Farid. Illus. by Billy Renkl

Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice. Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Olivia
Gatwood. Illus. by Theodore Taylor III

The World Below the Brine. Walt Whitman. Illus. by James Christopher Carroll

Write! Write! Write! Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Illus. by Ryan O’Rourke


All He Knew. Helen Frost

Becoming Muhammad Ali. James Patterson and Kwame Alexander. Illus by Dawud Anyabwile

Before the Ever After. Jacqueline Woodson

BenBee and the Teacher Griefer: The Kids under the Stairs. K. A. Holt

Closer to Nowhere. Ellen Hopkins

Flooded: Requiem for Johnstown. Ann E. Burg

Grasping Mysteries: Girls Who Loved Math. Jeannine Atkins

Land of the Cranes. Aida Salazar

Love Love. Sung J. Woo

The Places We Sleep. Caroline Brooks DuBois

When You Know What I Know. Sonja K. Solter

Wishes, Dares, and How to Stand Up to a Bully. Darlene Beck-Jacobson