THUMBS UP! AWARD

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. The 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.

Thumbs Up! Award Guidelines (pdf)

Submit a nomination for the 2021 Thumbs Up! Award using the online form:

2021 Thumbs Up! Award Nomination Form

Thumbs Up! Award seal - image of hand giving thumbs up sign

Award Seals

Download the Thumbs Up! Award seals to use at your library! Winner, Honor Book and Top Ten Title award seals are available for download here: MLA Thumbs Up 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!

2020 Thumbs Up! Award

The 2020 work group, chaired by Cristen Jackson, Branch Librarian, Genesee District Library, considered 109 titles, reading, evaluating, reviewing and deliberating for more than 3,300 hours to select the top titles for teens aged 13-18 published in 2019.

2020 Thumbs Up! Award Work Group

  • Chair: Cristen Jackson, Genesee District Library
  • Vice-chair: Tracy Bedford, Clarkston Independence District Library
  • Maeve Devlin, Cromaine District Library
  • Kayla Dies, Paw Paw District Library
  • Kelly Dykwell, Marshall District Library
  • Sarah Eisele, Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library
  • Shanni Kerr, Ionia Community Library
  • Elizabeth Kish, Genesee District Library
  • Alexa Lalejini, Swan Valley High School
  • Tina Rossow, Clarkston Independence District Library
  • Sarah Swiderski, Salem-South Lyon District Library
  • Sarah Welch, Newaygo Area District Library
  • Patricia White, Sterling Heights Public Library

2020 Thumbs Up! Work Group - group photo of members giving a Thumbs up sign

Pictured left to right: Sarah Swiderski, Kelly Dykwell, Patricia White, Tracy Bedford, Cristen Jackson. Not pictured: Maeve Devlin, Kayla Dies, Sarah Eisele, Shanni Kerr, Elizabeth Kish, Alexa Lalejini, Tina Rossow, Sarah Welch (Photo taken in 2019)

2020 Thumbs Up! Award WinnerHeroine by Mindy McGinnis book cover

The winner of the 2020 Thumbs Up! Award is Heroine by Mindy McGinnis, published by Katherine Tegen Books.

Heroine's protagonist Mickey, the superstar catcher of her school’s softball team, is in a car crash. After the crash, she is prescribed painkillers and they are the only thing that helps make her feel well enough to get behind the plate again. However, the painkillers do more than just take away the pain, they make her feel good. So good, Mickey starts to take them more than she should. As the pressure increases to get back on the softball team, Mickey begins to become addicted to the painkillers and begins to lose control.

"The 2020 Thumbs Up! Work Group picked Heroine by Mindy McGinnis as the winner because of the timeliness of this book," said Work Group Chair Cristen Jackson, Branch Librarian, Genesee District Library. "The book pushes beyond stereotypes to show that all people can be affected by the opioid epidemic and addiction. Heroine also discusses the pressures teens face when it comes to school, sports, and their families. Overall, we picked Heroine as our winner because it is a book that honestly and accurately portrays reality, even when it’s difficult and challenging."

"There were so many good books this year that we had a difficult time narrowing down our Top 10 but our winner was clear from the start. The whole work group loved Heroine because even though it was difficult to read, it was so honest in its portrayal of addiction. Everyone should read this book."

2020 Thumbs Up! Award Honor Books

The 2020 Thumbs Up! Award Honor books include Girls on the Verge by Sharon Biggs Waller, published by Henry Holt & Co. and Slay written by Brittney Morris, published by Simon Pulse.

 


 

Girls on the Verge
by Sharon Biggs Waller

Slay
by Brittney Morris

 

2020 Thumbs Up! Award Teen Choice

Text that says 2020 Teen Choice and an image of the book cover of On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Teens aged 13 to 18 from throughout Michigan voted online for their favorite book from the Top Ten Titles to determine the 2020 Thumbs Up! Teen Choice. The winner of the 2020 Teen Choice is On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, published by Balzer + Bray.

2020 Thumbs Up! Award Top Ten Titles

Book cover images with text Top Ten Titles

2020 Top Ten Titles List (In Random Order)

  • Brave Face by Shaun David Hutchinson
  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers #1) by Brigid Kemmerer
  • Girls on the Verge by Sharon Biggs Waller
  • The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
  • Heroine by Mindy McGinnis
  • How We Became Wicked by Alexander Yates       
  • Lovely War by Julie Berry
  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas            
  • Slay by Brittney Morris
  • With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Brave Face
by Shaun David Hutchinson

A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers #1)
by Brigid Kemmerer

Girls on the Verge
by Sharon Biggs Waller

The Grace Year
by Kim Liggett

Heroine
by Mindy McGinnis

How We Became Wicked
by Alexander Yates

Lovely War
by Julie Berry

On the Come Up
by Angie Thomas

Slay
by Brittney Morris

With the Fire on High
by Elizabeth Acevedo


Past Thumbs Up! Award Winners and Honor Books

2013 | 2014 | 201520162017 | 2018 | 2019

Thumbs Up! Award Winners and Honor Books

 


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