Margaret A. Edwards Award Books
2004 - 2006

2006 - Jacqueline Woodson
Jacqueline Woodson is the recipient of the 2006 Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her outstanding lifetime contribution to writing for teens. Woodson’s sensitive and lyrical books reveal and give a voice to outsiders often invisible to mainstream America.

“Woodson’s books are powerful, groundbreaking and very personal explorations of the many ways in which identity and friendship transcend the limits of stereotype,” said Edwards Award Committee chair Mary Arnold.  “Her captivating and richly drawn characters struggle and grow and celebrate who they are in the world, and reveal to readers exciting possibilities for their own lives.

Woodson says, “I feel compelled to write against stereotypes, hoping people will see that some issues know no color, class, sexuality.

I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This YA WOO
Twelve-year-old Marie is one of the popular girls in the prosperous black suburb. She’s not looking for a friend when Lena Bright, a white girl, appears in school. But the two girls are drawn to each other. You see, both Lena and Marie have lost their mothers. On top of that, Marie soon learns that Lena has a terrifying secret. Marie wants to help, but is it better to keep Lena’s secret, or to tell it? Their friendship—and Lena’s survival— may depend on her decision.

At the end of Woodson's exquisite landmark novel, I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This (1994), Marie's poor white friend, Lena, runs away with her younger sister, Dion, to escape their abusive father. Now the sisters are on the road in search of home. Disguised as boys, they hitch rides, find shelter where they can, care for each other. Lena, 13, tells it in a quiet, troubled voice. She's protective of her sister, grieving for their dead mother, lonely for her beloved black friend, Marie. In the first novel, the girls' friendship sustained them across racial barriers in a desolate world, but here everything has a glowingly happy ending. Not only are all strangers kind to the runaways--especially an older woman who is everyone's dream grandmother--but Lena calls Marie, whose father overcomes his prejudice about "whitetrash" and gives the runaways a home. What's more, Lena speaks of her own dad like an understanding therapist ("he needs help"). Readers will enjoy Lena's talk about how, like the characters in the The Wizard of Oz, she and Dion do not know their own strength, but the great appeal here is the survival story. After cold and danger, we feel the elemental luxury of shelter: warmth, cleanliness, breakfast, privacy.

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun
At age 13, Melanin Sun, an African American boy growing up in Brooklyn with his single mother, sometimes longs for the days when life was as "simple as chocolate cakes and Lego sets." Instead, his feelings grow more complicated after his mother explains that she is gay and in love with Kristin, the white woman whom she has recently invited home. His shock and sense of alienation are quickly exacerbated when the neighbors begin to gossip and he becomes the object of cruel taunts. Through Melanin's voice, Woodson frankly expresses the resentment and confusion of an adolescent desperately struggling to reestablish normalcy. Offering no easy answers, Woodson teaches the reader that love can lead to acceptance of all manner of differences.

If You Come Softly YA WOO
Jeremiah feels good inside his own skin. That is, when he's in his own Brooklyn neighborhood. But now he's going to be attending a fancy prep school in Manhattan, and black teenage boys don't exactly fit in there. So it's a surprise when he meets Ellie the first week of school. In one frozen moment their eyes lock and after that they know they fit together -- even though she's Jewish and he's black. Their worlds are so different, but to them that's not what matters. Too bad the rest of the world has to get in their way.

Miracle’s Boys YA WOO
For Lafayette and his brothers, the challenges of growing up in New York City are compounded by the facts that they've lost their parents and it's up to eldest brother Ty'ree to support the boys, and middle brother Charlie has just returned home from a correctional facility.

Lafayette loves his brothers and would do anything if they could face the world as a team. But even though Ty'ree cares, he's just so busy with work and responsibility. And Charlie's changed so much that his former affection for his little brother has turned to open hostility.

Now, as Lafayette approaches 13, he needs the guidance and answers only his brothers can give him. The events of one dramatic weekend force the boys to make the choice to be there for each other--to really see each other--or to give in to the pain and problems of every day.

2005 - Francesca Lia Block

The Edwards Award recognizes Block’s ground-breaking Weetzie Bat books, which enable teens to understand the world in which they live and their relationships with others and society. 

Block encourages teens to celebrate their own true selves, helping them discover what time they are upon and where they do belong. Her books, Weetzie Bat (1989), Witch Baby (1991), Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys (1992), Missing Angel Juan (1993), and Baby Be-Bop (1996), deal with complex issues such as blended families, the many types of love, and the sometimes heartbreaking real world challenges teenagers face. In Block’s Shangri-L.A., there is pain and sadness, but love, magic, and hope prevail.

“Block’s work has been considered ground-breaking for its magical realism and bringing alive the L.A. scene,” said Edwards Award Committee chair Cindy Dobrez. “Block takes traditional folklore archetypes and translates them for contemporary teens with her inventive use of lyrical language, transforming gritty urban environments into a funky fairy tale dreamworld.”

Weetzie Bat   YA BLO
Gr 10 Up-- A brief, off-beat tale that has great charm, poignancy, and touches of fantasy . Weetzie, now 23, is a child of Hollywood who hated high school but loves the memories of Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin, plastic palm-tree wallets, and the roller-skating waitresses at Tiny Naylor's. She wears a bleached-blond flattop and Harlequin sunglasses, covers her '50s taffeta dresses in glittery poetry, and sews fringe down the sides of her minis in sympathy with the plight of the Indian. Nobody understands her, least of all her divorced bicoastal parents, until she meets Dirk, who takes her slamdancing at the hot clubs in L.A. in his red '55 Pontiac. When he tells her he's gay, they decide to go ``duck-hunting'' together. He meets his ideal blond surfer, and Weetzie finds her Secret Agent Lover Man. They all move in together, make movies that become underground successes, and have a baby. This recreates the ambiance of Hollywood with no cynicism, from the viewpoint of denizens who treasure its unique qualities. Weetzie and her friends live like the lillies of the field, yet their responsibility to each other and their love for the baby show a sweet grasp of the realities that matter. As in Rosemary Wells' None of the Above (Dial, 1974), these kids spend no time considering college or career. Their only priority is finding love and keeping it once they find it. `` `I don't know about happily ever after. . .but I know about happily,' Weetzie Bat thought.''

Witch Baby YA BLO
Once upon a time in the city of Shangri-L.A., someone left a baby on a doorstep. She had wild, dark hair and purple eyes and looked at the world in a special way. The family that took her in called her Witch Baby and raised her as their own. But even though she tried to fit in, Witch Baby never felt as though she truly belonged. So one day she packed her bat-shaped backpack, put her black cowboy-boot roller skates, and went out into the real world to find out who she really was.... "[In] this sequel to the extraordinary Weetzie Bat, Witch Baby is at odds with her complicated family. She's a glowering personality whose excesses trouble both herself and others. Still, Witch Baby's quest for meaning ends on an up beat [and] generosity and love triumph in a far-from-perfect world. [Block uses] exquisitely crafted language to tell a story whose glitzy surface veils thoughtful consideration of profound contemporary themes."

Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys YA BLO
With their parents away, four young people form a rock band that becomes wildly popular, carrying them into a "freer" life than they can cope with. 

Missing Angel Juan YA BLO
Lonely City A tangly-haired, purple-eyed girl named Witch Baby lives in glitzy L.A. She loves a guy named Angel Juan. When he leaves for New York she knows she must find him. Looking For Love So she heads for the city of glittery buildings and garbage and Chinese food and drug dealers and subways and kids playing hip-hopscotch. Finding Trouble Her clues are an empty tree house in the park, a postcard on the street, a mannequin in a diner. Angel Juan is in danger, and only Witch Baby's heart-magic can make him safe. When Angel Juan leaves L. A.-and Witch Baby-to play his music and find himself in New York, Witch Baby, wild and restless without him, follows. The story that ensues "is an engagingly eccentric mix of fantasy and reality, enhanced-this time-by mystery and suspense. It is also magical, moving and mischievous, and-literally-marvelous."

Baby Be-Bop YA BLO
Dirk MacDonald, a sixteen-year-old boy living in Los Angeles, comes to terms with being gay after he receives surreal storytelling visitations from his dead father and great-grandmother. 

2004 Ursula  K. Le Guin

"In her writing, as in her life, Ms. Le Guin takes on issues arising from the effort to live humanely in the natural world, exploring the tension between individuality and social norms," said Award Committee Chair Francisca Goldsmith. "In the Earthsea fantasy series, young protagonists mature not only physically, but also spiritually, as Ms. LeGuin's real world readers must in order to navigate young adulthood.

"A fantasy writer and social activist since her youth, she has inspired four generations of young adults to read beautifully constructed language, visit fantasy worlds that inform them about their own lives, and think about their ideas that are neither easy nor inconsequential," she added.

Le Guin lives in Portland, Ore., where she continues to write and speak out for the political and artistic freedom all writers and readers hope to enjoy.

A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)  YA SCI FI  LeGuin, U.
A boy grows to manhood while attempting to subdue the evil he unleashed on the world as an apprentice to the Master Wizard. 

The Tombs of Atuan (1971)   YA SCI FI  LeGuin, U.
In the second book of the Earthsea tetralogy, THE TOMBS OF ATUAN, Ursula K. Le Guin momentarily shifts her focus from the wizard, Ged, to Tenar, the solitary high priestess of the "Nameless Ones." 

The Farthest Shore (1972)  YA SCI FI  LeGuin, U.
A young prince joins forces with a master wizard on a journey to discover a cause and remedy for the loss of magic in Earthsea.

Tehanu (1990)   YA SCI FI  LeGuin, U
Arha's isolated existence as high priestess in the tombs of Atuan is jarred by a thief who seeks a special treasure.

The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)  SCI  FI LEG
This is the story of how Gently Ai, a mobile of the Ekumen, comes to the world Gethen. Gethen is a cold planet, always covered in snow and ice. The people living on it are peculiar in that that they are androgynous - sometimes male, sometimes female.

The Beginning Place (1980)  SCI FI LEG
A magical place across a creek provides sanctuary for two young people in flight from the banality of their daily lives, until their paradise turns into a hell on Earth that threatens to destroy them.