American Library Association Creates Prize For GLBT Youth Literature

The American Library Association has added a new literary prize to its Youth Media Awards, which include the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott medals. The Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award will be given to “English-language works for children and teens of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experience.”

The Stonewall award for adult literature has been around for years, but the ALA felt it was important to honor GLBT children’s books as well.

“Children’s books regarding the GLBT experience are critical tools in teaching tolerance, acceptance and the importance of diversity,” said ALA President Roberta Stevens. “Our nation is one of diverse cultures and lifestyles and it is important for parents, educators and librarians to have access to quality children’s books that represent a spectrum of cultures.”

The demand for quality GLBT children’s books continues to grow as the nation becomes more diverse. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services an estimated 14 million children have a gay or lesbian parent, and the most current U.S. Census data shows that more than 56 percent of same-sex households have at least one child under the age of 18.

Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the ALA Youth Media Awards guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts, the awards encourage original and creative work in the field of children’s and young adult literature and media.

The Youth Media Awards will be announced in January.

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