The Margaret A. Edwards Award honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. It recognizes an author’s work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world.
Sarah Dessen is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens for “Dreamland”, “Keeping the Moon”, “Just Listen”, “The Truth About Forever”, “Along for the Ride”, “What Happened to Goodbye?”, and “This Lullaby” all published by Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, a Penguin Random House Company.
Dessen has given teens a safe haven highlighting the many complexities teens face today. Her voice is authentic and assumes the reader is as intelligent and multi-faceted as her characters. Notably, each of the honored selections is engaging and accessible while displaying high literary quality. From abandonment to domestic violence, Sarah Dessen’s work shows that family takes many forms and self-acceptance is the first step toward love.
“The teen years are often filled with anxiety, conflict, and a sense of helplessness, but Sarah Dessen’s voice brings comfort, acceptance, and love. Her stories lead to answers without condescension. Readers are empowered and learn that they have the ability to overcome their challenges,” said Edwards Committee Chair, Joy Millam.
Sarah Dessen will be honored at the YALSA Edwards Award Brunch and presented with a citation and cash prize of $2,000 during the 2017 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, June 22 – 27. The award is sponsored by School Library Journal.
The award is named in honor of the late Margaret A. Edwards, a pioneer in providing library services to young adults. Through her work at Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Edwards demonstrated that only through literature would young adults move beyond themselves into a larger world.
Members of the 2017 Edwards Committee are: Joy E. Millam, Valencia High School, Placentia, Calif.; Lana Adlawan, Oakland (Calif.) Public Library; Betsy Crone, Southeast Guilford Middle School Library, Greensboro, N.C.; Hannah Gomez, Tucson, Ariz.; and Jeanette Johnson, Oak Avenue Intermediate School, Arcadia Calif; and Heather Gruenthal, Administration Assistant, Long Beach Calif.