There are, of course, a ton of award-winners out there, and these five are just a taste. They’re a nice mix of different genres and styles, so no matter what kind of book you enjoy most, you’re sure to find a new favorite here. From a hard-hitting contemporary YA novel to a mind-bending fantasy, these five books deserve every accolade they’ve received. So get comfortable, get excited, and block out some time to celebrate reading with one (or all) of these gems.
Winner of the 2021 Schneider Family Book Award for Teens, This Is My Brain In Love tells the love story of two teenagers thrown together by circumstance. Jocelyn Wu is a junior who's just trying to get through the year without going nuts from boredom. She has big plans to direct a short film with her best friend, and it'd be super cool if people would stop confusing her with the only other Chinese girl in her grade, too. Will Domenici also has goals: to find a paying internship, and to prove he has the chops to become an editor at the school paper. But when Jocelyn's dad tells her that the family restaurant is about to go under, Jocelyn puts all her plans on hold to save it. She turns to Will, her new employee, to help her. As their relationship blossoms, they soon realize that saving the family business is far from the only obstacle they'll have to overcome
by Monica Hesse
They Went Left is the harrowing story of one girl's search for her brother in the aftermath of World War II. Zofia and her brother Abek were the only members of their family to survive the concentration camps. Before they were separated, Zofia made a vow to herself that she'd find him again. Now, in 1945, she journeys through Poland and Germany, eventually landing in a displaced persons camp, where everyone is searching for someone. As Sofia struggles to make sense of an unbearable reality, she digs deeper into her own painful past, and the pasts of those around her. Soon she's deep in a mystery that knows has the power to shatter—or slowly rebuild—her world.
Adeptly adapted for young adults by Jason Reynolds, Stamped traces the history of race and racism in the United States. It digs deep into the many political and philosophical narratives that have been used to justify oppression since before country's founding, and explains how white supremacy and its many agents have been systematically oppressing Black people, through violence in many guises, for centuries. Comprehensive and engaging, this is a must-read for every American teenager, though adults will find plenty to chew on as well. It's easy to see why this monumental work won the 2020 Goodreads Chose Award for Nonfiction.
Bestselling author N.K. Jemisin is no stranger to awards, having won the Hugo Award three years in a row for the brilliant Broken Earth trilogy. Now, with The City We Became, her newest novel, she can add a Goodreads Choice Award for Fantasy to her many accolades. This utterly unique fantasy is set in a version of the world in which cities, after they become vibrant enough, literally come alive. The story follows the birth of New York, which occurs through the growing awareness of five people, each of them an avatar for one of the city's boroughs. As a creeping evil intent on destroying New York grows ever stronger, these five strangers have to work together to save their city, and themselves. Rooted firmly in the realities of contemporary New York, but alive with Jemisin's creative vision, this is a singular work from one of today's most innovative writers.
Translated by Erica Moore
Translated by Elizabeth Manton
Not every award-winning book about human history is a bleak one! In Humankind, Dutch historian and author Rutger Bregman offers a hopeful antidote to the doom and gloom so often associated with the history—and future—of humanity. In this comprehensive work, Berman traces nearly 200,000 years of history, eloquently arguing that cooperation and and collaboration are actually part of our evolutionary legacy. By examining little-known stories of cooperation and trust throughout history, he explains how it is our innate desire to help and look out for each other that has always led to our greatest successes. Blending history, social science, journalism, and economics into one engaging whole, this thoughtful and meticulously researched book will have you reevaluating everything you thought you knew about how humans are wired.