2020 Awards

The 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Award winning titles were highlighted during the American Library Association (ALA) Youth Media Awards, the premier announcement of the best of the best in children’s and young adult literature. The awards are new to the ALA Youth Media Awards lineup and are administered by the American Indian Library Association (AILA), an affiliate of the ALA.

Awarded biennially, the American Indian Youth Literature Award identifies and honors the very best writing and illustrations by Native Americans and Indigenous peoples of North America. Books selected to receive the award present Indigenous North American peoples in the fullness of their humanity. Winners and Honor Books were selected in the categories Best Picture Book, Best Middle Grade Book, and Best Young Adult Book.

Picture Book
Bowwow Powwow: Bagosenjige-niimi’idim

Bowwow Powwow: Bagosenjige-niimi’idim Written by Brenda J. Child (Red Lake Ojibwe) Translated into Ojibwe by Gordon Jourdain (Lac La Croix First Nation) Illustrated by Jonathan Thunder (Red Lake Ojibwe) Published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2018 http://www.mnhs.org/mnhspress/books/bowwow-powwow

Middle School
Indian No More

Indian No More Written by Charlene Willing McManis (Umpqua/Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde) with Traci Sorell (Cherokee) cover art by Marlena Myles (Spirit Lake Dakota, Mohegan, Muscogee Creek) Published by Tu Books / Lee & Low, 2019

Young Adult
Hearts Unbroken

written by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee) Published by Candlewick Press, 2018

Honor Books
Picture Book
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

Written by Kevin Noble Maillard (Seminole Nation, Mekusukey Band) Illustrated by Juana Martínez-Neal (Peruvian-American) Published by Roaring Brook Press / Macmillan, 2019

Picture Book

Written and illustrated by Julie Flett (Cree-Métis) Published by Greystone Kids, 2019

Picture Book
At the Mountain’s Base

Written by Traci Sorell (Cherokee) Illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre (Tongva/Scots-Gaelic) Published by Kokila / Penguin Random House, 2019.

Picture Book
Raven Makes the Aleutians

Adapted from a traditional Tlingit story Illustrated by Janine Gibbons (Haida, Raven of the Double-Finned Killer Whale clan, Brown Bear House) Published by Sealaska Heritage, 2018

Picture Book
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

Written by Traci Sorell (Cherokee) Illustrated by Frané Lessac Published by Charlesbridge, 2018

Middle School
I Can Make This Promise

Written by Christine Day (Upper Skagit) Cover art by Michaela Goade (Tlingit, Kiks.ádi clan, Steel House) Published by Harper Collins, 2019.

Middle School
The Grizzley Mother

The Grizzly Mother, written by Hetxw’ms Gyetxw (“Bret D. Huson,” Gitxsan), illustrated by Natasha Donovan (Métis Nation of British Columbia), and published by Highwater Press.

Young Adult
Surviving the City

Written by Tasha Spillet (Nehiyaw-Trinidadian) Illustrated by Natasha Donovan (Métis Nation of British Columbia) Published by Highwater Press, 2018

Young Adult
Apple In The Middle

Written by Dawn Quigley (Ojibwe, Turtle Mountain Band) Published by North Dakota State University Press, 2018

Young Adult
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People

Written by Debbie Reese (Nambé Owingeh) and Jean Mendoza Adapted from the adult book by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz Published by Beacon Press, 2019.

Young Adult
Reawakening Our Ancestors’ Lines: Revitalizing Inuit Traditional Tattooing

Gathered and compiled by Angela Hovak Johnston (Inuk), Photography by Cora De Vos (Inuk) Published by Inhabit Media, 2017