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Want to Read a Book That Has Won a National Award for Summer Reading Challenge? Start Here!

June 7, 2023

If you regularly keep abreast of NPL's Blogs and Podcasts, you may recognize my name from the NPL Children's Blog.

Then again, I was long ago disabused of the notion that I am center of the universe, so you may very well not recognize my name. But I digress.

I read plenty of books outside of my library work, and I love to talk about them. As part of Summer Reading Challenge, today I will be discussing books that have major won national awards. During the month of June, reading a book that has won a national award is one of the activities that you can complete to win a prize. If you don't know where to start, start here!

Award Winning Books for Young Readers

Many of us are familiar with the big medals for children's literature, such as the Caldecott and the Newbery. They may be the best known children's book awards, but they are certainly not the only ones. If you are looking for award winning children's literature, be sure to check out the rest of the Youth Media Awards, which I wrote about earlier this year!

I couldn't write about every YMA winner in my earlier blog post (I had to exercise some self control), but here I want to highlight the young adult novel All My Rage, winner of The Michael L. Printz Award. It's an extraordinary, unforgettable book. In fact, it also won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. If you have not yet read All My Rage, put it on hold now. It is worth however long you may have to wait.

National Book Awards

Presented by the National Book Foundation, the National Book Awards celebrate the best literature published in the United States. I already told you about 2022 winner for Young People's Literature All My Rage, but there also winners in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Translated Literature to choose from. You can browse winners by year on the National Books Awards website. For a complete list of 2022 winners available in our catalog, check out this catalog widget.

National Book Awards 2022

The Pulitzer Prize

When you think about prestigious awards, the Pulitzer Prize may be among the first that come to mind. Named for journalist Joseph Pulitzer, the Pulitzer recognizes achievements in journalism, music, and literature. I am behind on reading the 2023 winners, but I can highly recommend Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City and Cuba: An American History from the 2022 winners. The latter is a highly readable history that demystifies the long history of U.S. American intervention in Cuba, while the former is perhaps the most gripping nonfiction text I have ever read. At 640 pages, Invisible Child is not brief by any means, but I read it in about three days. It was impossible to put down. 

You can visit the Pulitzer Prize website to search past winners by year, category, or to explore curated topic lists. Our own NPL Collection Department has put together a catalog list of the 2023 winners, which you can explore below. 

Pulitzer Prizes 2023

Award-Winning Science Fiction  

As I am the one writing this post about national book awards, I would be remiss if I did not write about my favorite genre of literature, science fiction. In the United States, the most well known awards for science fiction are the Hugo Awards and the Nebula Awards. The 2023 winners for the Hugo have not yet been announced, but the 2023 Nebula Award winners were just announced this May.

Among my favorite Hugo Award winners is the Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. Each book in the series won the Hugo for Best Novel—in 2016, 2017, and 2018, a feat not achieved before or since. 

The 2020 Nebula Award winner for Best Novella, Ring Shout, by P. Djèlí Clarkis one of the most exciting, daring, and imaginative books I have ever read. At 192 pages, its brief length belies its unbelievable power. 

To find more award-winning science fiction, you can browse past Hugo Award winners by year, and search for past winners of the Nebula by year or award type on the Nebula Awards website. 

More National Awards

There are plenty of other national awards from which to choose your next book. For more ALA Youth Media Award winners, check out the ALSC Awards Shelf  and the YALSA Awards Shelf. In our NoveList database (which you can access free with your library card!) you can browse by Award Winners using the link on top left hand side of the page. You can even filter by Award Type, as listed in the column on the right hand side of the page. There are a bevy of awards to choose from! 

However you decide to choose an award-winning book for the June Summer Reading Challenge activities, be sure to keep track of it, along with your reading days, to help Nashville Work Together!

Klem-Mari Cajigas


In a former life, Klem-Marí was a Religious Studies scholar. She much prefers being the Family Literacy Coordinator for Bringing Books to Life! She wants you to read and share books with the children in your life, and for those children to see you to read as well. Originally from Puerto Rico, Klem-Marí also enjoys her cat, baking, yoga, and the works of Octavia Butler.