2021 Youth Media Awards Debrief

Congratulations to the 2021 Stonewall Book Award winner and honors! And congratulations, too, to Medal on My Mind co-founders Kazia and Dani for serving on the Real Committee this year. We’re so proud of them! We’re also excited for Dani to continue to serve next year as the 2022 Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award committee chair.

Winner: We Are Little Feminists: Families written by Archaa Shrivastav & designed by Lindsey Blakely

Honors: Beetle & The Hollowbones by Aliza Layne, Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram, Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender and You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

To my knowledge, 2021 marks the first time a board book has ever won a Youth Media Award. It’s also the first time a board book has won the Stonewall Book Award (though Daddy, Papa, and Me and Mommy, Mama, and Me were both honors in 2010). The ALA press release sums up why we all should love We Are Little Feminists: Families: “Understanding queer identities and representation can be this simple. With joyful, expressive photos, delightful rhyming text, and an explicitly feminist and queer positive lens, Families shows children 0-5 the true diversity of the world around them and the families to which they belong.”

Here are some of my favorite post-YMA reactions from Twitter, including a few from the recipients themselves (note: Kacen Callender is not currently posting on Twitter, hence their exclusion from this list).

Malinda Lo offers congrats to You Should See Me in a Crown, the first honor book featuring a cis queer girl since 2018. (Later in the thread Lo links her “What is ‘Good’ LGBTQ YA?” post, which should be required reading for all Medal on My Mind followers.)

Mombian (one of my absolute favorite book bloggers) notes the significance that We Are Little Feminists: Families includes a photo of a pregnant trans man.

What’s your take? Are there any standout titles you think the committee missed?

While you’re thinking about that, I’d also like to take a moment to celebrate other books with queer content (some confirmed, some minimal, some rumored) that got recognized this year:

… And there you have it! After my year serving on Caldecott’s Real Committee (check out our choices with commentary here!), I’m going to take some time to rest and recalibrate. The rest of the team and I hope to see you back here in the fall! If you’re interested in writing for the blog or have 2021 books to recommend to us, email us at medalonmymind@gmail.com or find us on Twitter @stonewallspex.

Don’t forget to comment with your thoughts on this year’s awards if you have them!

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