We are continuing to celebrate the biggest youth titles of 2021 by sharing a few more books that garnered this year’s most prestigious awards.
American Library Association’s Michael L. Printz Award is considered one of the most prestigious prizes for young adult literature. In the past, this award has been given to graphic novels, novels in verse, and of course, novels written in prose. This year’s winner is an audiobook in which a teenager weaves his own personal history with that of his homeland, Iran, which he and his family were forced to flee. The teenager is the novel’s author Khosrou, who goes by the Western name “Daniel.” When Khosrou stands at the front of the classroom and starts telling his story, no one believes him. To his classmates, he is a dark-skinned, hairy-armed boy with a big butt whose lunch smells funny; who makes things up and talks about poop too much. Khosrou’s stories seem too sad and unbelievable to be true, but they go back decades and centuries and they capture episodes of his and Iran’s tragic and wondrous past, from the time his family fled Iran in the middle of the night to the fields near the river Aras and the jasmine-scented city of Isfahan. In front of a sea of indifferent eyes, Khosrou continues to tell his story and stake his claim to the truth and that of his homeland. Grades 5-12
Anishinaabekwe author-illustrator and graphic designer Bridget George’s first book It’s a Mitig won the 2021-22 First Nation Communities READ/PMC Indigenous Literature Award and was also selected for the TD Summer Reading Club’s 2021 series. In the book, George introduces readers to Ojibwe words for nature as she guides them through the forest. We encounter an amik playing with sticks and swimming in the river, a prickly gaag hiding in the bushes and a big, bark-covered mitig. The book features vibrant and playful artwork, an illustrated Ojibwe-to-English glossary, and a simple introduction to the double-vowel pronunciation system that accompanies online recordings. This is a one-of-a-kind book that will spark the love of learning new languages in young children and get them interested in different cultures. Grades Preschool-1
Winner of BC and Yukon Book Prizes’ Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize, this charming picture book turns the focus on the older demographic of our society that rarely get the chance to be in the spotlight. Women in many countries, even to this day, grow up without access to education. The aajis (grandmothers) featured in this book live in a rural village in India and have never learnt to read or write. But thanks to the aajibaichi shala (school for grandmothers) and the encouragement and love of her granddaughter, the grandmother in this book gets to go to school for the first time. This moving story pulls at the heart strings, especially when you learn that it is based on a true story. Grades K-3