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MLA 2019 Literary Award Winners

October 16, 2019

The Michigan Library Association is pleased to announce the 2019 literary award winners of the Mitten, YouPer and Thumbs Up! awards. The award selection work groups are comprised of Michigan library staff who consider hundreds of books annually to determine the winners. The awards selection group members worked throughout the year spending thousands of hours reading, reviewing and ranking hundreds of books to establish the top titles published in 2018.

2019 Mitten AwardThe Rabbit Listened book cover

The winner of the 2019 Mitten Award is The Rabbit Listened, written and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld and published by Dial Books for Young Readers.

Honor books include Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth, written by Kate Gardner, illustrated by Heidi Smith and published by Balzar + Bray; The Honeybee by Kristin Hall, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers; We Don’t Eat Our Classmates! written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins and published by Disney-Hyperion; and I am a Cat written and illustrated by Galia Bernstein, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers.

The Mitten Award is designed to recognize and promote quality literature for youth in picture book format.

Read more about the Mitten Award.


2019 YouPer (Young Person) AwardFront Desk Book Cover

The winner of the 2019 YouPer award is Front Desk by Kelly Yang, published by Arthur A Levine Books.

Honor Books include Breakout by Kate Messner, published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books; Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson, published by Nancy Paulsen Books; No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen, published by Tundra Books; and Sweep by Jonathan Auxier, published by Puffin Books.

The YouPer or Young Person Award recognizes and promotes quality literature for youth in chapter book format.

Read more about the YouPer Award.


2019 Thumbs Up! AwardChildren of Blood and Bone Book Cover

The winner of the 2019 Thumbs Up! Award is Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, published by Henry Holt and Co.

Honor books include Sadie by Courtney Summers, published by St. Martin’s Press; and The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang, published by First Second.

The Thumbs Up! Award recognizes and promotes an outstanding contribution to teen literature that has both literary quality and teen appeal for those 13 to 18 years of age. A teen vote is included in help determine the winner.

Read more about the Thumbs Up! Award.


Thank you to the 2019 Mitten Work Group, chaired by Dawn Heerspink, Kent District Library- Byron Twp. Branch and Kathy Merucci, Salem-South Lyon District Library, the 2019 YouPer Work Group, chaired by Alexa Lalejini, Swan Valley High School with Vice Chair Killian Weston, Bloomfield Township Public Library, and the 2019 Thumbs Up! Work Group, chaired by Jana Slisher, Portland District Library, with Vice Chair Cristen Jackson, Genesee District Library - Genesee Valley Center. Please join us at the 2020 Spring Institute Conference, March 19-20 in Ann Arbor when we will honor our winning authors and unveil the 2020 awards Top Ten Titles.


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