For the full press release and full list of all winners and honor books for all ALA media awards, please visit their website.
On January 25, 2021, in Chicago, The American Library Association (ALA) announced the top books, digital media, video and audio books for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards – at its Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits taking place virtually from Chicago, Illinois. A partial list of the major 2021 award winners follows.
The John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature went to When You Trap a Tiger written by Tae Keller.
Five Newbery Honor Books also were named:
- All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team, written by Christina Soontornvat.
- BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom, written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Michele Wood.
- Fighting Words, written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.
- We Dream of Space, written by Erin Entrada Kelly, illustrated by Erin Entrada Kelly and Celia Krampien
- A Wish in the Dark, written by Christina Soontornvat.
Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children for 2021 is:
We Are Water Protectors illustrated by Michaela Goade is the 2021 Caldecott Medal winner. The book was written by Carole Lindstrom.
Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named:
- A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart illustrated by Noa Denmon, written by Zetta Elliott.
- The Cat Man of Aleppo illustrated by Yuko Shimizu, written by Irene Latham & Karim Shamsi-Basha.
- Me & Mama illustrated and written by Cozbi A. Cabrera
- Outside In illustrated by Cindy Derby, written by Deborah Underwood
Coretta Scott King Book Awards recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:
Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award:
Before the Ever After written by Jacqueline Woodson, is the King Author Book winner.
Three King Author Honor Books were selected:
- All the Days Past, All the Days to Come,written by Mildred D. Taylor
- King and the Dragonflies written by Kacen Callender
- Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box written by Evette Dionne
Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul illustrated by Frank Morrison, is the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book winner. The book is written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.
Three King Illustrator Honor Books were selected:
- Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration,illustrated by Kaylani Juanita written by Samara Cole Doyon
- Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera, written by Suzanne Slade
- Me & Mama, illustrated and written by Cozbi A. Cabrera
Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award:
Legendborn written by Tracy Deonn, is the Steptoe author award winner.
Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:
Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story)” by Daniel Nayeri
Four Printz Honor Books also were named:
- Apple (Skin to the Core) by Eric Gansworth and published by Arthur A. Levine, an imprint of Levine Querido;
- Dragon Hoops created by Gene Luen Yang, color by Lark Pien and published by First Second Books, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group;
- Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh and published by Dutton Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House;
- We Are Not Free by Traci Chee and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences:
- Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
- The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
- The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice - Crossing Antarctica Alone by Colin O’Brady
- Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio by Derf Backderf
- The Kids Are Gonna Ask by Gretchen Anthony
- The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
- Plain Bad Heroines by emily m. danforth
- Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi
- Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh
- We Ride Upon Sticks: A Novel by Quan Barry
Pura Belpré Awards honoring a Latinx writer and illustrator whose children's books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience:
¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat illustrated and written by Raúl Gonzalez, is the Belpré Illustrator Award winner.
Efrén Divided written by Ernesto Cisneros, is the Pura Belpré Children’s Author Award winner.
One Belpré Illustrator Honor Book was named:
Sharuko: El Arqueólogo Peruano/Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri, written by Monica Brown.
Two Belpré Children’s Author Honor Books were named:
- The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez written by Adrianna Cuevas.
- Lupe Wong Won’t Dance written by Donna Barba Higuera.
Furia written by Yamile Saied Méndez, is the Pura Belpré Young Adult Author Award winner.
Two Belpré Young Adult Author Honor Books were named:
- Never Look Back written by Lilliam Rivera
- We Are Not from Here written by Jenny Torres Sanchez
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children: “Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera,” written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann.
Three Sibert Honor Books were named:
- How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure written and illustrated by John Rocco
- Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks written by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera,
- All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team written by ChristinaSoontornvat,
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book is
See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog, written by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka.
Four Geisel Honor Books were named:
- The Bear in My Family, written and illustrated by Maya Tatsukawa
- Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom! written by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Nina Mata
- "What About Worms!? written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins
- Where’s Baby? written and illustrated by Anne Hunter