2023, Here We Come!

Welcome back to another round of Stonewall Book Awards – Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award speculation! This year’s team (Alec, Dani, and Kazia) will be making our way through queer books for young people published in 2022 in anticipation of the 2023 award announcement—and we’ll be eager to hear your thoughts as we go. You can expect seasonal posts compiling the titles we’re most excited about and, as we near announcement time in January, our predictions. 

New Children’s and Young Adult Subcategories

We’ll be changing our post structure to reflect a big change coming to the award itself! The ALA Rainbow Round Table (RRT) approved a proposal calling for two award subcategories to go into effect this year, so for the first time, there will be separate Children’s and Young Adult slates. We’re anticipating the Real Committee will select a Children’s winner and up to 4 Children’s honors AND a YA winner and up to 4 YA honors. In keeping with this exciting update, our posts will be broken down into separate Children’s and YA considerations. 

(As a reminder, this blog is totally unofficial and does not reflect RRT or the Real Committee’s opinions.)


As we consider titles, we’ll be drawing on both the official award criteria and some unofficial criteria of our own. 

The official award criteria: 

  • The awards are presented to “English language books that have exceptional merit relating to the LGBTQIA+ experience.”
  • Eligible books must be published January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2022. 
  • Though the award is typically given to books published in the US, international books may be considered.
  • Re-printings of previously published books are not considered.
  • Substantially changed new editions and/or English translations are considered.

Additionally, we’re using these unofficial criteria to inform our selections:

  • 50% or more of the protagonists must be LGBTQIA+ to be considered.
  • We’re going to elevate books that add new voices and experiences to the existing canon of award winners.

Why It Matters 

Our commitment to highlighting the work of this award feels continually pressing, given the focus of current national anti-LGBTQIA+ backlash on kids, books, and libraries. Recent years have seen a huge increase in the publication of queer books, still mostly centered in YA but expanding to younger audiences. The number of books eligible for award consideration continues to grow each year. At the same time, queer books, and queer kids, are facing a fresh wave of bigotry. Book bannings and suppression are disproportionately targeting books with LGBTQIA+ characters, and state legislation threatens to restrict kids’ access to LGBQTIA+ education and strip trans kids’ rights. An even greater number of book bannings targeting BIPOC characters and horrifying legislative attacks on “critical race theory” make BIPOC queer experiences especially susceptible to erasure. Ensuring that all queer stories get into the hands of all kids is still a fight. It’s with this in mind that we continue this one small effort to champion queer books and queer kids.

We hope you’ll join us.