2021 MLA YOUPER (Young Person) AWARD

The 2021 YouPer Award Work Group, chaired by Brittany Wesner, Clinton-Macomb Public Library, read a total of 111 titles and logged more than 2000 hours reading, evaluating and discussing the best chapter books for youth published in 2020.

2021 YouPer Award Work Group

  • Chair: Brittany Wesner, Clinton-Macomb Public Library
  • Vice-Chair: Lisa Boyd, Canton Public Library
  • Robert Chartrand, Capital Area District Libraries
  • Maeve Devlin, Cromaine District Library  
  • Heather Draft, Cromaine District Library
  • Jessica Keeler
  • Jamie Klos, Clarkston Independence District Library
  • Nakenya Lewis-Yarbrough, Belleville Area District Library
  • Cassie Veselovsky, Capital Area District Libraries
  • Diana Wenger, Muskegon Area District Library
  • Elizabeth Wierenga, Kent District Library

2021 YouPer Award Winner

The winner of the 2021 YouPer (Young Person) award is Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, published by Penguin Random House.

In Fighting Words, Ten-year-old Della has always had her older sister, Suki. When their mom went to prison, Della had Suki. When their mom’s boyfriend took them in, Della had Suki. When that same boyfriend did something so awful they had to run fast, Della had Suki. Suki is Della’s own wolf–her protector. But who has been protecting Suki? Della might get told off for swearing at school, but she has always known how to keep quiet where it counts. Then Suki tries to kill herself, and Della’s world turns so far upside down, it feels like it’s shaking her by the ankles. Maybe she’s been quiet about the wrong things. Maybe it’s time to be loud.

"After much discussion, Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley became our top choice, " said Work Group Chair Brittany Wesner, Clinton-Macomb Public Library. "As a committee, we felt that this book approached several tough topics with authenticity, courage, and hope. Brubaker handles the subject matter with deftness and honesty, creating a space for those who have survived sexual abuse to feel seen. We felt that this book is an important mirror for children who have experienced this trauma and an important window for those who have not, ultimately promoting empathy, compassion, and kindness. It also shows the resiliency and bravery of children and the importance of family, friends, and community. For these reasons and more, Fighting Words is our winner for the 2021 YouPer Award."

2021 YouPer Award Honor Books

The 2021 YouPer Award Honor Books include Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor, published by Viking Books; Santiago's Road Home by Alexandra Diaz, published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books; Snapdragon by Kat Leyh, published by First Second; and When Stars Are Scattered, by Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed published by Dial Books

2021 YouPer Award Top Ten Titles


Youper Award 2021 Top Ten Titles List with book cover images of Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley  Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor  The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead  The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert  Santiago's Road Home by Alexandra Diaz  Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen  Snapdragon by Kat Leyh  Twilight Hauntings (Enchanter's Child #1) by Angie Sage  What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado

YouPer Award Top Ten Title seal with cartoon elk wearing glasses sitting at a table reading.Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor

The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead

The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert

Santiago's Road Home by Alexandra Diaz

Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh

Twilight Hauntings (Enchanter's Child #1) by Angie Sage

What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson, Omar Mohamed

Download the YouPer Top Ten Titles flyer(pdf). More resources to help promote the award are available at milibraries.org/youper-award.

Past YouPer Award Winners and Honor Books

 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020

Past YouPer Award Winners and Honor Books (pdf)

Youper Award home

 


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