Have you heard of the Margaret A. Edwards Award? It was established in 1988 and it
honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. The annual award is administered by YALSA and sponsored by School Library Journal magazine. It recognizes an author’s work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world. (x)
The 2015 winner is Sharon M. Draper, an African-American writer. Draper has written books for children, tweens, and teens, plus books for educators and poetry collections. You can learn more about Draper and her work on her official website. Six of Draper’s young adult books—Tears of a Tiger, Forged By Fire, Darkness Before Dawn, The Battle of Jericho, November Blues, and Copper Sun—were named by the Edwards Award committee as her significant and lasting contributions. The committee chair praised Draper’s work: “Draper has imbued her characters with deeply human complexity and born witness to the universality of their experiences, sparking powerful conversations and building empathy among teen readers.”
Draper’s most recent book, Stella By Starlight, was published earlier this year. (Review) If you haven’t already read one of Draper’s books, there’s still plenty of time to get a hold of one of them before the 2015 ALA Annual Conference, which will be held from June 26th to July 1st.