What’s the Printz Award?

We have recently highlighted the winners of the 2016 Caldecott and Newbery Medals. You may be surprised to learn there is a similar award for Young Adult books. The Michael L. Printz Award is named for a Topeka, Kansas school librarian who was passionate about literature for teens. It’s a relatively new award, first given in 2000, while the Newbery and Caldecott Awards have been around over 75 years.

The Printz Award recognizes the best books written for ages 12-18 and published within a calendar year. All forms of writing are eligible including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories or others forms. The 2016 Michael L. Printz Medal was given to:

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, the story of an abduction in a Midwestern town. As you can see from the book cover, Bone Gap was also a National Book Award Finalist.

Bone Gap


The Printz Committee selected two Honor Books for 2016.

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick. Sedgwick won the Printz Medal in 2014 for his book Midwinterblood and received a Printz Honor in 2011 for Revolver.

Ghosts of Heaven


The second Printz Honor Book is Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez.

Out of Darkness

Read any of these Printz books and you’ll see why so many adults are checking out Young Adult literature. These are exceptional stories with complex characters and thought-provoking themes.