Awards: Walter Dean Myers Winners; NBCC Finalists

The winners and honorees for the seventh annual Walter Dean Myers Awards and Honor Books for Outstanding Children's Literature, sponsored by We Need Diverse Books, are:

Walter teen category winner:
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley (Holt)

Walter teen category honors:
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo (Dutton Books for Young Readers)
Revolution in Our Time by Kekla Magoon (Candlewick)

Walter young readers category winner:
Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca (Quill Tree Books)

Walter young readers category honors:
Borders by Thomas King, illustrated by Natasha Donovan (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Root Magic by Eden Royce (Walden Pond Press)

The Walter Awards ceremony, to be held March 11, will include a symposium on children's literature, followed by the awards presentations. The event will be livestreamed and tentatively held in person at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C. The final decision will consider the Covid-19 situation and align with recommended CDC guidelines for indoor gatherings. 


The finalists in six categories for the 2021 National Book Critics Circle Awards and the John Leonard Prize for First Book have been announced and can be seen here. In addition, Percival Everett is receiving the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, Merve Emre has won the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, and the winner of the inaugural Toni Morrison Achievement Award, recognizing "institutions that have made lasting and meaningful contributions to book culture," is the Cave Canem Foundation.

Sandrof prize committee chair Jacob Appel said, "The Sandrof Life Achievement Award generally honors a literary figure who has either had a transformative impact upon book culture or who has contributed to book culture in ways that deserve more attention and recognition. Percival Everett is the rare figure who merits the prize for both reasons. Profound and prolific, Everett isn't just brilliant--but he is brilliant over and over and over again, novel after novel, story after story, each successively more original and thought-provoking. There are two kinds of readers in America: those who are reading Percival Everett and those who are missing out."

Balakian prize committee chair Colette Bancroft said, "In Emre's elegantly written essay about Leonora Carrington's The Hearing Trumpet, she offers rich context about the life and times of the Surrealist author and artist, always weaving the biography into her insightful consideration of Carrington's novel."

Jacob Appel, who also chaired the Morrison prize committee, said, "In naming Cave Canem as the first Morrison honoree, the NBCC has chosen an organization that embodies the deep commitment to literary and social justice, equity in publishing and excellence in writing that distinguished Morrison's career. Since its founding by Cornelius Eady and Toi Derricotte 25 years ago, Cave Canem has become both the premier body for cultivating and promoting Black poetic voices and has left a truly indelible mark on the broader literary landscape. No institution has played such a definitive role in shaping the poetry of the 21st century. Cave Canem consistently represents the best that the literary world has to offer."

Winners of the awards will be announced and celebrated during a virtual ceremony on Thursday, March 17.

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