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2017 Morris Award Finalists Announced

CHICAGO, IL — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), selected five books as finalists for the 2017 William C. Morris Award, which honors the year’s best books written for young adults by a previously unpublished author.

YALSA will name the 2017 award winner at the Youth Media Awards at 8 a.m. on Jan. 23 in Atlanta during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting.

The 2017 finalists are:

  • “Girl Mans Up” written by M-E Girard, published by HarperCollins;
  • “Rani Patel in Full Effectwritten by Sonia Patel, published by Cinco Punto Press;
  • The Serpent King“ written by Jeff Zentner, published by Crown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House, a Penguin Random House Company;
  • “The Smell of Other People’s Houses” written by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, published by Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House, a Penguin Random House Company;
  • “Tell Me Something Real” written by Calla Devlin, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

“The 2017 Morris Committee worked hard to read widely among the impressive offering from this year’s debut authors. The 2017 finalists bring readers to a sleepy hospital in Mexico, an impoverished village in Alaska, a small, close-minded town in Tennessee, the treacherously beautiful Moloka’I, and a cold suburb in Canada,” said Meghan Cirrito, chair of the 2017 William C. Morris Award committee. “Strong protagonists and memorable secondary characters discover themselves, challenge conventions, and undertake physical and emotional journeys with fear, joy or a mix of both. The committee feels privileged to have the experience of reading so many well-crafted works of YA literature and wait in breathless anticipation for this year’s crop of debut authors to continue to publish for and about teens.”

The Morris Award is named after William C. Morris, an influential innovator in the publishing world and an advocate for marketing books for children and young adults. William “Bill” Morris left an impressive mark on the field of children’s and young adult literature. He was beloved in the publishing field and the library profession for his generosity and marvelous enthusiasm for promoting literature for children and teens.

More information on the finalists and the award can be found on the Morris Award page. Publishers and library staff can purchase finalist seals to place on the finalist titles at www.ala.org/awardsgrants/seals. For more information on the Morris Award or YALSA’s other young adult literature awards, please visit www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists.

YALSA will host a reception honoring the finalists and the winner, as well as YALSA’s Nonfiction Award finalists and winner, at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Jan. 23 at the Georgia World Congress Center, room B302. See a full list of YALSA’s events and programs at the Midwinter Meeting on YALSA’s Midwinter wiki page.

Members of the 2017 William C. Morris Award Committee are:  Chair Meghan Cirrito, formerly Brooklyn (NY) Public Library; Julia Casas, Santa Monica Public Library, Santa Monica, CA.; Kate Denier, The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Cincinnati, OH; Abby Harrison, Greenhill School Montgomery Library, Addison, TX; Courtney Lewis, St. Catherine’s School, Richmond, VA; Carol Maples, Central High School Library, Pollok, TX; Abby Moore, UNC Charlotte Atkins Library, Charlotte, NC; Cathy Rettberg, Menlo School Library, Atherton, CA; Leigh Hurwitz, Brooklyn (NY) Public Library; and Sarah Hunter, Booklist Consultant, Chicago.

The mission of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to www.ala.org/yalsa, or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390; or e-mail: yalsa@ala.org.

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