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Young Adult Books and YALSA

YA Book Lists, Awards, Teen Read Week, and More


If your children are getting old enough for young adult books (YA books) or are already reading books for teens, you need to know about the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It is the fastest growing division of the American Library Association (ALA). According to the ALA, “YALSA advocates, promotes and strengthens service to young adults, ages 12 through 18, as part of the continuum of total library services.” In addition to providing services to member libraries and librarians, YALSA also shares resources with the general public through its Web site.

YALSA Awards and Booklists

The Alex Awards: According to YALSA, “The Alex Awards were created to recognize that many teens enjoy and often prefer books written for adults, and to assist librarians in recommending adult books that appeal to teens.” Each year ten adult books are selected for Alex Awards.

Amazing Audiobooks for Young AdultsBoth fiction and nonfiction audiobooks are included on the annotated lists that go back to 1999.

Best Fiction for Young Adults: This annual booklist is made up of "fiction titles published for young adults in the past 16 months that are recommended reading for ages 12 to 18."

The Margaret A. Edwards Award: YALSA administers this award, which "honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature."

The Michael L. Printz Award: This annual award recognizes “a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.”

Outstanding Books for the College Bound (OBCB): Here you will find annotated booklists for students in grades 9-12; YALSA also recommends these booklists for lifelong learners. The booklists are updated by YALSA every five years. The current five OBCB booklists, which were updated in 2009, are History and Cultures, Arts and Humanities, Literature and Language Arts, Science and Technology, and Social Sciences.

Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: Each year, YALSA accepts nominations for paperbacks in four different categories. For example, Adventure Seekers, Forbidden Romance, Get Your Geek On and Sticks and Stones are the 2012 categories. While they are not annotated, all of the booklists since 1997 are available online.

Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers: If you are looking for recreational reading for a 12-18 year old who, for some reason, just doesn’t like to read, try these books. The long list includes both fiction and nonfiction.

Great Graphic Novels for Teens: YALSA provides both annotated reading lists and top ten lists of graphic novels that teens will enjoy.

Teens’ Top Ten Books: Each year, selected teen book groups nominate a large group of books that meet specific criteria. Then, all teenagers are encouraged to vote for their top ten.

YALSA and Teen Read Week

Teen Read Week is celebrated annually the third week in October at libraries across the United States.

In Summary

As you can see, the Young Adult Library Services Association provides a wealth of resources for young adult readers between the ages of 12 and 18. I highly recommend the YALSA website for librarians, parents, teenagers, and teachers.

(Source of information and all quotations: YALSA Web site)

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