On November 1, 2010, the American Library Association (ALA) sent out a press release announcing their Stonewall Book Award will now also be awarded to a children’s book. Joining the ranks of the ALA’s Youth Media Awards alongside the Caldecott Medal for illustration, the Newbery Medal for children’s fiction, the Coretta Scott King Award for Black authors/illustrators, the Pura Belpre Award for Latino/Latina authors/illustrators, the “Dr. Seuss” (Theodor Seuss Geisel) Award for beginning readers, and the Printz Award for YA fiction, the Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award will be “awarded annually to English-language works for children and teens of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered experience”. Traditionally the Stonewall Award has only been for adult books. Though I don’t remember hearing the news at the time, apparently The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd won in 2010. Can’t wait to read it.
Better a little late than never, and as I’m in the process of writing two YA novels with LGBTQ themes myself, I’m excited to see what children’s books are recognized. Speaking of which, can anyone think if any young adult or middle grade novels that have bisexual characters in them?
While the Stonewall may claim to be the “first and most enduring award for GLBT books,” I’d hasten to guess that when people think of awards for GLBT literature, they think of the Lambda Literary Awards. The Lambda Literary Awards were certainly the first to have an award for “LGBT Children’s/Young Adult – Fiction, nonfiction, picture books, poetry, and anthologies—whose intended audience are young readers”. On May 26, 2011, the 23rd Lambda Literary Awards (or Lammys) will be held in NYC. Apparently if you’re anyone in the GLBT-writing world, it’s an event not to be missed.
One last organization highlighting the writing talents of LGBT folks/subjects is The Publishing Triangle, the association of lesbians and gay men in publishing. Nine different awards honor people for everything from lifetime achievement to fiction to play writing, though not for children’s or YA literature (as of yet). Maybe now that two out of three organizations recognizing the efforts of LGBT writers and subject matter for children and young adults, this last organization will jump on the bandwagon, too.