The Walden Award

The Walden Award

The Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, presented annually by ALAN, is an award in the United States for a book that exemplifies literary excellence, widespread appeal, and a positive approach to life in young adult literature. Named for Amelia Elizabeth Walden who was a pioneer in the field of Young Adult literature, it is presented annually to the author of a title selected by ALAN’s Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Committee.

The selection committee is composed of ten ALAN members (3 teachers, 3 university professors, 3 librarians, and 1 chair) and is appointed by the previous year’s chair and current ALAN President. They award one winning title and honor up to four additional titles on their shortlist.

Per Walden’s request, honor and winning titles must be a work of fiction, ideally a novel (stand-alone or part of a series); be published within one year prior to the call for titles; be published in the United States but may have been published elsewhere prior; and possess a positive approach to life, widespread teen appeal, and literary merit. (Click the PDF here for additional details about these criteria). Award winners and finalists are listed below.

2023 Award Winner & Finalists

(Read Press Release)

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir (Razorbill / Penguin Random House)

The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester by Maya MacGregor (Astra Young Readers / Astra Books for Young Readers)

Medusa by Jessie Burton (Bloomsbury YA / Bloomsbury)

We Can Be Heroes by Kyrie McCauley (Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins)
2022 Award Winner & Finalists

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In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner (Crown Books for Young Readers / Random House)

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez (Algonquin Young Readers / Algonquin Books)

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vásquez Gilliland (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen (Random House Graphic / Random House Children’s Books)

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee (Clarion Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

2021 Award Winner & Finalists

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Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperCollins/Quill Tree Books)

Slay by Brittney Morris (Simon & Schuster/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed (Simon & Schuster/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Kent State by Deborah Wiles (Scholastic/Scholastic Press)

2020 Award Winner & Finalists

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Lovely War by Julie Berry (Penguin Random House/Viking)

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperCollins/HarperTeen)

Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (Penguin Random House/Kokila)

White Rose by Kip Wilson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Versify)

2019 Award Winner & Finalists

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The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (Harper Teen / HarperCollins Publishers)

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson (Simon Pulse / Simon & Schuster)

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (Dial Books / Penguin Young Readers)

Blood, Water, Paint by Joy McCullough (Dutton Books for Young Readers / Penguin Young Readers)

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan (Little, Brown and Company / Hachette Book Group)

2018 Award Winner & Finalists

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (HarperCollins/ Balzar + Bray)

Dear Martin by Nic Stone (Penguin Random House/ Crown Books for Young Readers)

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Simon & Schuster/ Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books)

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed (Simon & Schuster/ Simon Pulse)

An Uninterrupted View of the Sky by Melanie Crowder (Penguin Young Readers/ Philomel Books)

2017 Award Winner & Finalists

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (Winner) (Crown Books for Young Readers / Random House Children’s Books)

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow (Delacorte Press / Random House Children’s Books)

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (Philomel/Penguin Young Readers)

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (Wendy Lamb Books / Random House Children’s Books)

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (Delacorte Press / Random House Children’s Books)

2016 Award Winner & Finalists

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All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

2015 Award Winner & Finalists

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Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

Diamond Boy by Michael Williams

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Revolution (The Sixties Trilogy) by Deborah Wiles

2014 Award Winner & Finalists

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Jumped In by Patrick Flores-Scott

The Milk of Birds by Sylvia Whitman

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Winger by Andrew Smith

2013 Award Winner & Finalists

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secretes of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Ask the Passengers by A. S. King

Endangered by Eliot Shrefer

2012 Award Winner & Finalists

Shine by Lauren Myracle

The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

2011 Award Winner & Finalists

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick

I Will Save You by Matt de la Peña

Sorta Like a Rockstar by Matthew Quick

Wolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler

2010 Award Winner & Finalists

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander

2009 Award Winner & Finalists

My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins & Fenway Park by Steven Kluger

After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Me, the Missing, and the Dead by Jenny Valentine