MLA YOUPER (Young Person) AWARD

The YouPer (Young Person) Award recognizes and promotes quality literature for youth in chapter book format. This award was given for the first time in 2014 by the Michigan Library Association. The award is given annually to one children’s book originally published in the United States during the calendar year that has captured the attention of the youth librarians throughout the State of Michigan for its ability to communicate through literature to an intended audience.

YouPer Award Guidelines (pdf)

Submit a nomination for the 2022 YouPer Award using the online form:

2022 YouPer Award Nomination Form

YouPer Award Winner Seal - cartoon moose reading a book

Award seals

Download the YouPer Award seals to use at your library! Winner, Honor Book, and Top Ten Title award seals are available for download here: MLA YouPer Award Seals 2020.pdf

We also have graphics and handouts and we welcome and encourage you to use these in your library or on your library's website!

2021 MLA YouPer Award

The 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, Plymouth District Library
  • 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."

The winners and honor books of the 2021 Youth Literary Awards were announced on March 12, 2021, at Spring Institute for Youth Services 2021 during the Literary Awards Lunch Break. Watch the video announcement:

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).

Past YouPer Award Winners and Honor Books

2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021

Past YouPer Award Winners and Honor Books (pdf)

Youper Award home

 


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