James Cook Book Award

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2021 James Cook Book Award: Celebrating Diversity in Teen Literature

Award criteria:

  • U.S. copyright date of 2021 or 2022
  • demonstrates excellence in writing
  • contains a teen as one of the main characters
  • promotes cultural, ethnic, or social diversity
  • wide appeal to a teen audience (grades 6-12)

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James Cook

About James Cook
James Cook was well known in the Ohio and national library community as a man who was passionate about what he did. He was the Teen Specialist at the Dayton Metro Library and a strong advocate for teens, diversity, and teen literature. James was actively involved in the American Library Association and the Ohio Library Council (OLC). He served on the Newbery, Printz, and Teen Buckeye Book Award committees. James died suddenly on August 1, 2005.

The OLC’s Teen Services Division created the James Cook Book Award: Celebrating Diversity in Teen Literature to carry on his memory and celebrate everything he believed in so strongly. The award recognizes a book that promotes and celebrates cultural, ethnic, or social diversity. Eligible books, either fiction or non-fiction, will feature a teen as one of the main characters; demonstrate excellence in writing; promote cultural, ethnic, or social diversity; and have a wide appeal to a teen audience. Any book meeting these criteria, and published in the US within the last two years can be nominated for the award. The Teen Services Division selects a panel of 5-10 school and youth services librarians in Ohio to act as judges for the award.

2021 James Cook Book Award Winner:
Aiden Thomas’ Cemetery Boys

2021 Honorable Books:

  • Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You by Jason Reynolds
  • Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles

2019 James Cook Book Award Winner:
Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X

2019 Honorable Books:

  • The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater
  • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

2017 James Cook Book Award Winner:
Neal Shusterman’s Challenger Deep

2017 Honorable Books:

  • I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Martin Ganda, Caitlin Alifirenka and Liz Welch
  • More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
  • Girl Mans Up by M.E. Girard
  • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Guy Lockard

2015 James Cook Book Award Winner:

Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun

2015 Honorable Books:

  • Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
  • Gabi: A Girl in Pies by Isabel Quintero
  • When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

2013 James Cook Book Award Winner:

A.S. King’s Ask the Passengers

2013 Honorable Books:

  • I am J by Chris Beam
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Shine by Lauren Myracle

2011 James Cook Book Award Winner:

Francisco X. Stork’s Marcelo in the Real World 

2011 Honorable Books:

  • Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2009)
  • North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009)
  • Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty by Neri and Randy DuBurke (Lee & Low Books, 2010)

2009 James Cook Book Award Winner:

Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon

2009 Honorable Books:

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown Young Readers, 2007)
  • Another Kind of Cowboy by Susan Juby (HarperTeen, 2007)
  • No Choirboy: Murder, Violence and Teenagers on Death Row by Susan Kuklin (Henry Holt and Company, 2008)
  • Red Glass by Laura Resau (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2007)

2007 James Cook Book Award Winner:

Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos (Simon & Schuster, 2006)

2007 Honorable Books:

  • Tyrell by Coe Booth (Scholastic Press)
  • Skate by Michael Harmon (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
  • La Linea by Ann Jaramillio (Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers)
  • Rebound by Bob Krech (Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books)
  • Sold by Patricia McCormick (Hyperion)
  • All of the Above by Shelley Pearsall (Little, Brown Young Readers)
  • Between Mom and Jo by Julie Ann Peters (Little, Brown Young Readers)
  • American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (First Second an Imprint of Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers)