NCTE 2021 Notable Poetry Books and Verse Novels

School Library Journal has announced the selected books for the annual list from the NCTE Excellence in Children’s Poetry Award Committee that are their picks for the best poetry books and verse novels of 2020. The list contains 25 books of poetry and 13 verse novels. The list focuses on ages 3-13 and feature books that are notable for their use of language and poetic devices. Here are the notable titles:

All He Knew by Helen Frost

Amphibian Acrobats by Leslie Bulion, illustrated by Robert Meganck

Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson & Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

BenBee and the Teacher Griefer by A.K. Holt

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

Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Michele Wood

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

The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling

Cast Away by Naomi Shihab Nye

Closer to Nowhere by Ellen Hopkins

Construction People edited by Lee Bennet Hopkins, illustrated by Ellen Shi

Dictionary for a Better World by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini

Flooded: Requiem for Johnstown by Ann E. Burg

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

Grasping Mysteries: Girls Who Loved Math by Jeannine Atkins

Green on Green by Dianne White

I Wish by Toon Tellegen, illustrated by Ingrid Godon

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

In the Woods by David Elliott, illustrated by Rob Dunlavey

Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar

Love, Love by Victoria Chang

Mexique: A Refugee Story from the Spanish Civil War by Maria Jose Ferrada, illustrated by Ana Penyas, translated by Elisa Amado

A New Green Day by Antoinette Portis

No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History by Lindsay H. Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson & Jeanette Bradley, editors, illustrated by Jeanette Bradley

On a Snow Melting Day by Buffy Silverman

On the Horizon by Lois Lowry, illustrated by Kenard Pak

A Place Inside of Me by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Noa Denmon

The Places We Sleep by Caroline Brooks DuBois

Snow Birds by Kirsten Hall, illustrated by Jenni Desmond

Summer Feet by Sheree Fitch, illustrated by Carolyn Fisher

This Poem Is a Nest by Irene Latham, illustrated by Johanna Wright

When You Breathe by Diana Farid, illustrated by Billy Renkl

When You Know What I Know by Sonja Solter

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

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

The World Below the Brine by Walt Whitman, illustrated by James Christopher Carroll

Write! Write! Write! by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke

2021 Teens’ Top Ten Nominees

YALSA has announced the nominees for the 2021 Teens’ Top Ten. The Top Ten is a list chosen by teens where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year. Nominations come from members of teen book groups in 15 school and public libraries across the nation. Here are this year’s nominees:

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Jackson

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Atomic Women by Roseanne Montillo

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Betrothed by Kiera Cass

The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph

The Bone Thief by Breeana Shields

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Dangerous Secrets by Mari Mancusi

The Dark Matter of Mona Starr by Laura Gulledge

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards

Flamer by Mike Curato

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokudo-Hall

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

We Used to Be Friends by Amy Spalding

2021 Hugo Award Finalists

The finalists for the 2021 Hugo Awards have been announced. Amid many categories celebrating the best in science fiction for adults, there is also an award for the best YA book. Here are the finalists in that category:


Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher

2021 ABIA Shortlists

The shortlists for the 2021 Australian Book Industry Awards have been announced. They are given in several categories with four youth-related categories. Below are the shortlisted youth titles:


Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Future Girl

Future Girl by Asphyxia

Jane Doe and the Key of All Souls by Jeremy Lachlan

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

Please Don't Hug Me

Please Don’t Hug Me by Kay Kerr


Finding Our Heart: A Story About the Uluru Statement for Young Australians

Finding Our Heart by Thomas Mayor, illustrated by Blak Douglas

The Grandest Bookshop in the World

The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Melor

Hollowpox by Jessica Townsend

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals by Sami Bayly

Took the Children Away

Took the Children Away by Archie Roach, illustrated by Ruby Hunter


Bluey: The Creek

Bluey: The Creek

Our Home, Our Heartbeat

Our Home, Our Heartbeat by Adam Briggs, Kate Moon & Rachael Sarra

Sing Me the Summer

Sing Me the Summer by Jane Godwin & Alison Lester

When We Say Black Lives Matter

When We Say Black Lives Matter by Maxine Beneba Clarke


Windows by Jonathan Bentley & Patrick Guest



Bindi by Kiri Saunders, illustrated by Dub Leffler


Family by Aunty Fay Muir & Sue Lawson, illustrated by Jasmine Seymour


Found by Bruce Pascoe & Charmaine Ledden-Lewis

Metal Fish, Falling Snow

Metal Fish, Falling Snow by Cath Moore

My Shadow is Pink

My Shadow Is Pink by Scott Stuart

2020 Aurealis Awards Shortlist

The shortlists for the 2020 Aurealis Awards have been announced. The awards are given to works of speculative fiction by authors, editors and illustrators who are Australian citizens or permanent residents. Here are the shortlisted titles for the children’s and YA categories:


Across the Risen Sea

Across the Risen Sea by Bren MacDibble

The Chicken’s Curse by Frances Watts

Her Perilous Mansion

Her Perilous Mansion by Sean Williams

How To Make A Pet Monster: Hodgepodge (#1)

Hodgepodge: How to Make a Pet Monster by Lili Wilkinson, illustrated by Dustin Spence

The Lost Soul Atlas

The Lost Soul Atlas by Zana Fraillon

Tricky Nick

Tricky Nick by Nicholas J. Johnson


Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

The Erasure Initiative

The Erasure Initiative by Lili Wilkinson

Future Girl

Future Girl by Asphyxia

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Truel1f3 by Jay Kristoff

Barnes & Noble Children’s & YA Book Awards Shortlists

The shortlists for the first annual Barnes & Noble Children’s & YA Book Awards have been announced. The awards will be given in three age categories with the winners announced on May 3. Here are the six shortlisted titles in each category:


All Because You Matter by Tami Charles, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Every Night Is Pizza Night by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt; illustrated by Gianna Ruggiero  

Fern & Otto by Stephanie Graegin

Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor

The Whatifs by Emily Kilgore; illustrated by Zoe Persico 

What the Road Said by Cleo Wade; illustrated by Lucie de Moyencourt


Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Everything Sad Is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri

The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead

Twins by Varian Johnson; illustrated by Shannon Wright

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

Wink by Rob Harrell


The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yuself Salaam

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

2021 Lambda Literary Award Finalists

The finalists for the 2021 Lammy Awards have been announced. These awards celebrate the best in LGBTQ literature and have two categories that are focused on books for youth. Here are the finalists in those categories:

LGBTQ Children’s / Middle Grade

The Deep & Dark Blue by Niki Smith

From Archie to Zack by Vincent X. Kirsch

A High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender

Our Subway Baby by Peter Mercurio

LGBTQ Young Adult

Camp by L. C. Rosen

Flamer by Mike Curato

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

Sasha Masha by Agnes Borinsky

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

2021 Ezra Jack Keats Award

Celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, the 2021 winners and honor books of the Ezra Jack Keats Award have been announced. The award is celebrates “exceptional early career authors and illustrators for portraying the multicultural nature of our world in the spirit of Ezra Jack Keats.” Here are this year’s winners:


Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker, illustrated by April Harrison


Brick by Brick by Heidi Woodward Sheffield


Can Bears Ski? by Raymond Antrobus, illustrated by Polly Dunbar

The Old Truck by Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey


I’m Sticking with You, illustrated by Steve Small, written by Smriti Prasadam-Halls

Cyclops of Central Park, illustrated by Victoria Tentler Krylov, written by Madelyn Rosenberg

2021 Blue Peter Book Awards

The winners of the 2021 Blue Peter Book Awards have been announced. The awards have been around for over 20 years and celebrate the best authors and illustrators in children’s books in the UK. Here are the winners and the longlisted titles:


A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll (released in October 2021 in the United States)


A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu and You by Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley


Adventures on Trains: The Highland Falcon Thief by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

School's Cancelled (Anisha the Accidental Detective #2)

Anisha Accidental Detective: School’s Cancelled! by Serena Patel, illustrated by Emma McCann

Be Plastic Clever

Be Plastic Clever by Amy and Ella Meek

Copycat Science by Mike Barfield

The Girl Who Stole an Elephant by Nizrana Farook

Fearless! How to be your true, confident self

Fearless! How to Be Your True, Confident Self by Liam Hackett, illustrated by Mike Perry

The Humans

The Humans by Jonny Marx, illustrated by Charlie Davis

I Like Animals… What Jobs Are There? by Steve Martin, illustrated by Roberto Blefari

Inventors by Robert Winston, illustrated by Jessamy Hawke

Life Of Riley: Beginner's Luck

Life of Riley: Beginner’s Luck by Simon James Green, illustrated by Alexsei Bitskoff

Llama Out Loud!

Llama Out Loud by Annabelle Sami, illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan

Pizazz by Sophy Henn (released in June 2021 in United States)

Professor Astro Cat’s Deep Sea Voyage by Dr. Dominic Walliman, illustrated by Ben Newman

Question Everything!: An investigator's toolkit (Real Life Book 3)

Question Everything! An Investigator’s Toolkit by Susan Martineau, illustrated by Vicky Barker

Snow Foal

Snow Foal by Susanna Bailey

Tamarind & the Star of Ishta

Tamarind and the Star of Ishta by Jasbinder Bilan

Where the Wilderness Lives

Where the Wilderness Lives by Jess Butterworth

Who Do You Think You Are? by Alice Harman, illustrated by Blok Magnaye