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 2021 YouPer Award using the online form:

2021 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!

2020 YouPer Award

The YouPer Award Work Group, chaired by Killian Weston, Youth Services Librarian, Bloomfield Township Public Library, read a total of 128 titles and logged more than 2080 hours reading, evaluating and discussing the best chapter books for youth published in 2019.

2020 YouPer Award Work Group

  • Chair: Killian Weston, Bloomfield Township Public Library
  • Vice-chair: Brittany Wesner, Clinton-Macomb Public Library
  • Lisa Boyd, Canton Public Library
  • Robert Chartrand, Capital Area District Libraries
  • Heather Draft, Cromaine District Library
  • Whitney Hagen, Paw Paw District Library
  • Jessica Keeler, Wayne State University
  • Jamie Klos, Clarkston Independence District Library
  • Nakenya Lewis-Yarbrough, Belleville Area District Library
  • Lynn Pearce, Clinton-Macomb Public Library
  • Andrea Smalley, Portage District Library

group photo of 2020 Youper work group

Pictured left to right: Lynn Pearce, Robert Chartrand, Nakenya Lewis-Yarbrough, Brittany Wesner, Killian Weston, Jamie Klos Not pictured: Lisa Boyd, Heather Draft, Whitney Hagen, Jessica Keeler, Andrea Smalley (Photo taken in 2019)

Planet Earth Is Blue book cover with YouPer Award winner seal2020 YouPer Award Winner

The winner of the 2020 YouPer (Young Person) award is Planet Earth Is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos, published by Wendy Lamb Books.

In Planet Earth is Blue, Nova has passed from foster home to foster home, along with her older sister Bridget, for most of her life. When she finds herself in a new foster home without her sister – the only person who didn’t dismiss her as severely autistic and nonverbal – Nova clings to their shared love of astronomy and Bridget’s promise that they would watch the upcoming launch of the Challenger together.

"In the YouPer Award Work Group's final vote, Planet Earth is Blue became the clear winner for the year. While many of the titles we read were wonderful, the group felt the book’s main character, Nova, is entirely unique in children’s literature and offers readers a different perspective on autism than our group had seen represented before. This representation allows for a greater understanding of neurodiversity among readers," said Work Group Chair Killian Weston, Youth Services Librarian, Bloomfield Township Public Library. "Ultimately, we chose a winner we felt had an exceptionally unique protagonist who gives readers a window into a world not easily expressed, offered opportunities for parents and children to discuss more recent history, and was so beautifully written that it tugged at everyone’s heartstrings."

2020 YouPer Award Honor Books

Images of 2020 YouPer honor book covers with text that says Honor Books

The 2020 YouPer Award Honor Books include The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Sal & Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez, published by Rick Riordan Presents; Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia, published by Rick Riordan Presents.

 

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James
by Ashley Herring Blake

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe(Sal and Gabi #1)
by Carlos Hernandez

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky(Tristan Strong #1)
by Kwame Mbalia

 

2020 YouPer Award Top Ten Titles

2020 YouPer Top 10 book covers with text that says Top Ten titles

2020 Top Ten Titles List (In Random Order)

  • Focused by Alyson Gerber
  • For Black Girls Like Me by Mariama J. Lockington
  • Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams
  • Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly            
  • The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake
  • New Kid (New Kid #1) by Jerry Craft
  • To Night Owl from Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan, Meg Wolitzer
  • Planet Earth Is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos            
  • Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (Sal and Gabi #1) by Carlos Hernandez
  • Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1) by Kwame Mbalia

Focused
by Alyson Gerber

For Black Girls Like Me
by Mariama J. Lockington

Genesis Begins Again
by Alicia D. Williams

Lalani of the Distant Sea
by Erin Entrada Kelly

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James
by Ashley Herring Blake

New Kid (New Kid #1)
by Jerry Craft

To Night Owl from Dogfish
by Holly Goldberg Sloan, Meg Wolitzer

Planet Earth Is Blue
by Nicole Panteleakos

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe(Sal and Gabi #1)
by Carlos Hernandez

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky(Tristan Strong #1)
by Kwame Mbalia

 

Past YouPer Award Winners and Honor Books

 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019

Past YouPer Award Winners and Honor Books (pdf)

 


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