2019 National Book Awards

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In 1950, the National Book Awards (NBA) were established in order to “celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in American culture”, according to the National Book Awards official website. And that is exactly what they’ve been doing for the past 70 years. This non-profit organization has been run by the National Book Foundation since 1989 and has been a staple in the literary community for many years. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the National Book Awards and the genres chosen to represent this historic year are Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young Person’s Literature. 

For Young Adult Literature, one of the most renowned achievements attainable is the gold medallion from the NBA. The longlist, which came out on September 16th, included some of the highest acclaimed pieces of 2019:

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander (illustrations by Kadir Nelson)

SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata (illustrations by Julia Kuo)

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

1919: The Year That Changed America by Martin W. Sandler

Out of Salem by Hal Schrieve

Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable & Ellen T. Crenshaw

Unfortunately for the panel of judges, who consist of renowned literary professionals, they had to shorten this list to just 5 finalists, who are awarded $1,000, a medal, and citation from the panel, upon selection. This year’s judges for the Young Person’s Literature category are Elena K. Arnold, award-winning author and former National Book Award finalist, Kristen Gilligan, owner of Tatted Cover Book Store, Varian Johnson, author of 9 novels and a Coretta Scott King Honoree, An Na, former NBA finalist and winner of the Michael L. Printz award, and Deborah Taylor, Recipient of the Coretta Scott King/Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award. On October 8th, they submitted their finalists:

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

1919: The Year That Changed America by Martin W. Sandler

Check back in to Pine Reads Review on November 20th to see who is selected as the winner of the 2019 National Book Awards for Young People’s Literature. And be sure to check out our reviews of these finalists coming soon!

Guest Writer, Michael Goldstein

Pine Reads Review has posted about three of the National Book Awards finalists. Check out our reviews for Pet, Look Both Ways, and Patron Saints of Nothing!

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