YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association, has announced the winners of several annual book awards this week.

The Printz Award honors a book that a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. This year’s winner is Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi.  This adventure is set in a not-too-distant future that has been ravaged by global warming. Nailer makes a living by scavenging shipwrecks for copper wire and dreams of making a lucky strike that will allow him to escape his dangerous dad. He longs to parasail aboard one of the sleek schooners that he sees far out on the open ocean. One night a nasty storm grinds all work on the beach to a halt. Nailer and his friend Pima discover a wrecked schooner and go scavenging, only to find a girl on board who wears more wealth on her fingers than they have ever dreamed of. Do they kill her and take her rings? Or do they risk their lives to return her to her clan?

The YALSA Nonfiction Award honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults each year.  This year’s winner is Janis Joplin: Rise up Singing by Ann Angel. This book was a labor of love. Angel worked on it for years, conducting interviews with Joplin’s friends.  The eye-popping design is a delight. The colors and patterns adorning the pages reflect the psychedelic look of Joplin’s album art. There are also many photos of Joplin, some filling an entire page, that show her both in her awkward youth and as the performer that she transformed herself into. This a fun book to browse through. Angel does a really good job of describing Joplin’s persona and the impact she had on people.

The Morris Award honors a debut-novel written for teens.  This year’s winner is The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston.  Suffering from a crippling case of post-traumatic stress disorder, sixteen-year-old Loa Lindgren tries to use her problem solving skills, sharpened in physics and computer programming, to cure herself. “With insightful humor and an impressive economy of language, Woolston brings a fresh voice to teen fiction that will challenge and delight readers,” said Morris Award Chair Summer Hayes.

In addition to these awards, YALSA has produced  Best Fiction, Great Graphic Novels, Quick Picks, Adult Books, and Popular Paperback lists. There’s lots of great books here, so check them out!

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