'The Last Cuentista' Wins 2022 Newbery Medal; 'Watercress' Earns Caldecott; 'Firekeeper’s Daughter' Takes the Printz

Donna Barba Higuera's Newbery win was just one of multiple awards for her novel, while Watercress, Firekeeper's Daughter, Unspeakable, and Last Night at the Telegraph Club also had a big day at the 2022 Youth Media Awards.

3 winning books

This story will be updated throughout the day.

At a time when educators across the country are fighting attempts to ban books by and about BIPOC and LGBTQ authors and communities, the children’s literature world stood up and reaffirmed the excellence and importance of these books for young readers.

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera won the Newbery Medal on the 100th anniversary of the award. Higuera also won the Pura Belpré Youth Author Award. The Last Cuentista was one of many multiple winners during Monday’s Youth Media Awards virtual ceremony at ALA's reimagined midwinter conference, newly named LibLearnX.

YMA logoWatercress, with illustration by Jason Chin, won the Caldecott Medal.

"Speechless. Honored. Overjoyed," Chin tweeted. "So incredibly grateful to the committees(!), to our Holiday House family, especially the incredible @AndreaYWang!"

Watercress by Andrea Wang also won a Newbery Honor and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature in the children’s book category.

"Congratulations to @AndreaYWang @authorjasonchin on sweeping the book awards of the American Library Association," librarian Maria Paz Alegre tweeted. "What better way to counter AAPI hate than AAPI Excellence! Thank you! @wearealsc @ala_apala @ALALibrary #Newbery #Caldecott #alayma"

In addition to Watercress, there were three other Newbery Honor titles: Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca; A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger; and Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff.

The four Caldecott Honors books are: Have You Ever Seen a Flower? illustrated and written by Shawn Harris; Mel Fell illustrated and written by Corey R. Tabor; Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre illustrated by Floyd Cooper, written by Carole Boston Weatherford; and Wonder Walkers illustrated and written by Micha Archer.

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley won the Printz Award, as well as the William C. Morris Award and was an honor title for the American Indian Youth Literature Award in the Young Adult category.

Four Printz Honor books also were named: Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas; Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo; Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People by Kekla Magoon; and Starfish by Lisa Fipps.

Among other big winners, Last Night at the Telegraph Club—already the winner of the 2022 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature—was not only a Printz Honor title, but also won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature for Youth Literature, as well as the Stonewall Book Award, which was shared with Lukoff’s Too Bright to See.

Carole Boston Weatherford won the Coretta Scott King Author Award for Unspeakable, and Floyd Cooper posthumously won the Illustrator Award for Unspeakable. Cooper died in July. Unspeakable also earned a Sibert and Caldecott Honor.

Weatherford tweeted, "I am so grateful to the #Caldecott #CorettaScottKing and #Sibert Award committees for honoring @floydcooper4 UNSPEAKABLE & me. When I first saw Floyd's art, I texted back: "Caldecott calling." I love being right."



Read the full ALA press release below.


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