Diversity Award Winning and Notable Children’s and Young Adult Books

The Penn Libraries collect award-winning and notable children’s and young adult literatures that thematize and/or support diversity and representation.

Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham

The book awards included in this growing collection cover varied themes, cultures, geographies, and experiences. Examples include the Pura Belpre Awards for Children & Illustration and for Young Adult Narrative, honoring Latinx writers and illustrators “whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in children’s books”; the Stonewall Book Award, which “recognizes K-12 books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian bisexual, and transgendered experience”; and the African Studies Association Children’s Africana Book Award, which celebrates the best U.S. children’s book about Africa. 

In addition to book awards, this new collection draws inspiration from the Penn Graduate School of Education (GSE)’s annual Best Books for Young Readers lists. Started in 2015 by Professor Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, the Best Books for Young Readers lists highlight diversity across “gender, race, ability, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, and socioeconomic class.” These lists also speak to a growing scholarly and pedagogical interest in books for young readers in recent years.  

This burgeoning collection is part of a broader acquisition initiative centering literature for young people within our circulating, digital, and special collections. Related collections and resources include: