Thumbs Up! Award

The purpose of the award is to recognize and promote an outstanding contribution to teen literature that has both literary quality and teen appeal for those 13 to 18 years of age. The Thumbs Up! Award was established in 1986 by the Teen Services Division of the Michigan Library Association. Since 2001, the selection process has also included a teen vote.

The Thumbs Up! Award

We are pleased to announce the top ten titles the top ten titles (PDF) for the 2017 Thumbs Up! Award. A group of youth and teen librarians worked throughout the year to read from a list of more than 150 titles to identify the top selections using the following criteria: story, setting, theme, voice, accuracy, style, characters and design.

The winner of the Thumbs Up! Award and honor books will be announced at the MLA 2017 Annual Conference in Lansing this October.

2016 Thumbs Up! Award Winner – All American BoysAll_American_Boys

The Michigan Library Association (MLA) is pleased to announce that All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, published in 2015 by Simon & Schuster, is the winner of the 2016 MLA Thumbs Up! Award.

Sixteen-year-old Rashad is brutalized by Paul Galluzo, a police officer who mistakes the boy for a shoplifter. Varsity basketball player Quinn Collins was a witness and was raised by Paul after his father died. Once Paul is accused of prejudice and racial brutality, Quinn refuses to believe it. But then Rashad is repeatedly absent, causing the basketball team start to take sides, as half the players are Rashad’s best friends. This tension permeates through the school and the town as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.

Jason Reynolds graduated from the University of Maryland and spent most of his time writing and reciting poetry on campus. He graduated with a B.A. in English and then moved to Brooklyn, New York. Reynold’s goal is to get more young boys to read, by writing “not boring books.”

Brendan Kiely is originally from the Boston area and received ahis MFA in creative writing from The City College of New York. He currently lives in Greenwich Village with his wife. His debut novel, The Gospel of Winter, was selected as one of American Library Association’s Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults 2015.

All American Boys has attracted prominent attention, including being a 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor book and recipient of the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature.


2016 Top Ten Titles:

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendon Kiely

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman Illustrated by Brendan Shusterman

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

The Emperor of Any Place by Tim Wynne-Jones

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans by Don Brown

Thumbs Up Guidelines and Timeline.doc

Thumbs Up Nomination Form.doc

Past Thumbs Up! Award Winners and Honor Books