The Black Caucus of ALA Launches Children & YA Literary Awards, Sponsored by SLJ

April 19, 2021
Media Contact:
Shauntee Burns-Simpson
[email protected]


The Black Caucus of ALA Launches Children & YA Literary Awards, Sponsored by SLJ 

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc. (BCALA) will present, in partnership with School Library Journal (SLJ), an inaugural set of awards honoring outstanding works of fiction and nonfiction for children and young adults by African American authors.

The Children & Young Adult Literary Awards are administered by the Literary Awards Committee of BCALA and sponsored by SLJ.

The awards will be given annually to children’s and young adult authors whose titles:

  • Celebrate and honor the diversity of the Black experience (cultural traditions/customs)
  • Reflect the triumphs of well and lesser-known African American leaders
  • Cover topics relevant to the Black experience (including social justice and self-esteem)
  • Offer educational and programmatic use in school and public libraries


“The Black Caucus of the American Library Association is proud to present our first ever Children & Young Adult Literary Awards,” says Shauntee Burns-Simpson, BCALA President. “These awards will showcase and promote the exemplary works of Black authors and creators who are positively impacting the stories being told to the youth across the country.” 

Debuting in 2021, BCALA will bestow four awards. They are: a First Novelist Award, Fiction Award, Nonfiction Award, and a Graphic Novel Award. 

The First Novelist Award will recognize outstanding work by a first-time African American writer.

In this inaugural year, the first Children & Young Adult Literary Awards will be presented on Friday, July 30, 2021.

“Congratulations to BCALA on the launch of the Children & Young Adult Literary Awards. SLJ is thrilled to support this exciting new award program, and we look forward to raising up these stellar titles for exploration, enjoyment, and discussion in classrooms and libraries nationwide,” says Kathy Ishizuka, SLJ Editor in Chief and Partnerships & Innovation Director of Library Journal and SLJ.  

For all questions and publisher information, please email Donna Gray at [email protected].


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