Printz Award Books

Printz Award logo
The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. For more information about the award and lists of previous winners and honor books, visit the American Library Association.

Printz Award Books 2020

Winner

Dig
by A.S. King

Five teenagers’ disparate lives weave together, unveiling long-buried secrets within a complex shared history. King’s surrealistic narrative confronts themes of white privilege and its dark legacies.

Honor

The Beast Player
By Nahoko Uehashi, translated by Cathy Hirano

Orphaned Elin learns to use her ability to communicate with animals as she navigates through political unrest. The beauty and power of the natural world are at the heart of this captivating, nimbly translated Japanese fantasy.

Honor

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking up with Me
By Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Freddy is enamored with the magnetic Laura Dean, but their on-again, off-again relationship is far from healthy. Through soft-hued illustrations and cinematic scope, this graphic novel captures the intoxication of teenage love and the search for identity.

 

Honor

Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir
By Nikki Grimes

Grimes’ verse memoir traces her development through a tumultuous childhood as she finds her voice as a powerful storyteller. Themes of family, belonging, and identity combine to tell a story of faith and resilience. 

 

Honor

Where the World Ends
By Geraldine McCaughrean

In 1727, a group of men and boys from St. Kilda sail to a remote sea stack on a fowling trip, only to find themselves stranded. McCaughrean’s exceptional tale evokes the harsh beauty of its setting and the warm humor of its characters. 

 

 

Printz Award Books 2019

Winner

The Poet X
Elizabeth Acevedo

Acevedo transforms everyday language into transcendent imagery in this novel-in-verse about Xiomara, who struggles to come into her own power amid (what she views) as her restrictive upbringing. Over the course of these lyrical, expressive, and honest poems, she grows from speaking with her fists to embracing her identity as the Poet X.

Honor

Damsel
Elana K. Arnold

Ama has no memory of what comes before she wakes in Prince Emory’s arms, but she’s no ordinary damsel in distress. Using the language of classic fairy tales to shatter familiar tropes, Arnold asks readers to confront the ways systemic violence against women pervades cultural touchstones.

Honor

A Heart in a Body in the World
Deb Caletti

Struggling with PTSD in the wake of a terrifying tragedy, Annabelle decides to run across the country in a physically demanding journey that mirrors the circuitous path of her emotional recovery. Caletti insightfully explores trauma, loss, and guilt while illuminating the damaging expectations our culture places on teenage girls.

 

Printz Award Books 2018

We Are Okay Nina LaCour
Winner
We Are Okay
by Nina La Cour
 
California native Marin, devastated by grief and questioning her reality, plans to spend her winter break in an empty dorm in upstate New York. But now her best friend, Mabel, is on her way to visit, and Marin must confront the loneliness that is threatening to take over her heart.
 
The Hate U Give Angie Thomas
Honor

The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas

Traumatized after witnessing the violent death of a friend, Starr searches for her voice as she moves between her black neighborhood and predominately white private school. This emotional novel, inspired by volatile race relations in America today, explores the importance of family, friendship, identity, and the courage to seek justice.
Long Way Down Jason Reynolds
Honor

Long Way Down
by Jason Reynolds

William Holloman is on the most haunting elevator ride of his life. He’s been urged to break “the rules” he’s grown up with. (No crying. No snitching. Get revenge.) Reynolds’ first novel in verse is a provocative, compelling, and essential love letter to young people in detention centers.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Honor

Strange the Dreamer
by Laini Taylor

In a world of gods, monsters, and nightmares, orphan librarian Lazlo and goddess Sarai find each other in their dreams. Against the backdrop of a city reeling after a brutal war, this lushly built, extravagantly written tale explores vengeance, love, and mercy.

 

Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman
Honor

Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers
by Deborah Heiligman

Inspired by the more than 700 letters the Van Gogh brothers wrote to each other, Heiligman uncovers fresh insights into Vincent’s development as an artist and his relationship with the brother who supported him emotionally and financially throughout his life.