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YALSA Announces Morris Award Finalists

From the YALSA website and The Hub blog:

YALSA selected five books as finalists for the 2012 William C. Morris Award, which honors a book written for young adults by a previously unpublished author. YALSA will name the 2012 award winner at the Youth Media Awards at 7:45 a.m. on Jan. 23 as part of the Youth Media Awards during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Dallas.

The 2012 finalists are:

  • “The Girl of Fire and Thorns” written by Rae Carson, published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
  • “Paper Covers Rock” written by Jenny Hubbard, published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.
  • “Under the Mesquite” written by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, published by Lee and Low Books.
  • “Between Shades of Gray” written by Ruta Sepetys, published by Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group USA.
  • “Where Things Come Back” by John Corey Whaley, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

“What an incredible wealth of debut books the 2012 Morris Committee had the honor of reading this year,” said Teri Lesesne, chair of the Morris Award committee. “Our shortlist includes realistic fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction. These authors have pushed the envelope of their respective genres and we welcome their new voices and look forward with great anticipation to many more books to come.”

More information on the finalists and the award can be found at YALSA sells finalist seals to librarians and publishers to place on books at YALSA will host a reception honoring the finalists and the winner, as well as YALSA’s Nonfiction Award finalists and winner, at a free reception from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Jan. 23, in Omni Hotel in the Dallas E room.

The award is named for William C. Morris, an influential innovator in the publishing world and an advocate for marketing books for children and young adults. William “Bill” Morris left an impressive mark on the field of children’s and young adult literature. He was beloved in the publishing field and the library profession for his generosity and marvelous enthusiasm for promoting literature for children and teens.

Members of the 2012 William C. Morris Award are: Chair Teri Lesesne, Department of Library Science, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; ; Adrienne Butler, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Oklahoma City; Sarah English, Omaha, Neb.; Krista Hutley, Englewood (Colo.) Public Library; Angela Leeper, University of Richmond (Va.) Curriculum Materials Center; Rachel McDonald, King County Library System, Issaquah, Wash.; Amanda L. S. Murphy, Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, Warren, Ohio; Sarah Okner, Three Rivers Public Library District, Channahon, Ill.; Ed Spicer, Michigan Reading Journal, Allegan, Mich.; Betsy Levine, administrative assistant, San Francisco Public Library; and Gillian Engberg, Booklist magazine, Chicago

A big congratulations and “thank you” to the committee! So far, I’ve read two of the finalists (The Girl of Fire and Thorns, and Between Shades of Gray (review coming soon)), am about to begin Under the Mesquite, and have Paper Covers Rock and Where Things Come Back on hold at the library.

About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is


  1. I have some reading to do! I’ve not read a single one of the nominees. I do have a couple on my shelf though so at least it’s a start. Congrats to all!

  2. Michelle, ONE. I’d read only one of those books. Sigh.