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2021 Walter Awards Winners and Honorees

The Walter Dean Myers Awards for Outstanding Children's Literature recognize diverse authors whose works feature diverse main characters and address diversity in a meaningful way.

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Punching the Air

By Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam
Narrated by: Ethan Herrise
Length: 4 hours 28 minutes

From award-winning, bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five comes a powerful YA novel in verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated. Perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds, Walter Dean Myers, and Elizabeth Acevedo. 

The story that I thought

was my life

didn’t start on the day

I was born 

Amal... Read more »

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When Stars Are Scattered

By Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed
Narrated by: Faysal Ahmed, Barkhad Abdi, Victoria Jamieson, Omar Mohamed, Robin Miles, Ifrah Mansour, Bahni Turpin, Hakeemshady Mohamed, Sadeeq Ali, Dominic Hoffman, Christine Avila, JD Jackson & Various
Length: 3 hours 42 minutes

An Odyssey Honor audiobook and National Book Award Finalist, this remarkable graphic novel—adapted for audio—is about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a former Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl.

Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life... Read more »

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Everything Sad is Untrue

(a true story)

By Daniel Nayeri
Narrated by: Daniel Nayeri
Length: 7 hours 48 minutes

Everything Sad is Untrue

“Witty and delightfully written, and while also powerful in imagery and message about immigration, accepting those who aren't like us, and what it means to find your identity in a new place. Loved the overlay and weaving of memoir and Persian folklore.”

Leaves Book and Tea Shop image Tina, Leaves Book and Tea Shop
Audiobook details

King and the Dragonflies

By Kacen Callender
Narrated by: Ron Butler
Length: 5 hours 3 minutes

King and the Dragonflies

“Kingston (King) James and his parents are grieving the loss of Khalid-- King's older brother. When Khalid was alive and the two shared a bedroom, he would talk in his sleep, telling his younger brother stories about the universe and its magic. King continues to see Khalid in his dreams, and is convinced Khalid has transformed into a dragonfly. The Louisiana bayou provides the backdrop for both a colorful landscape and a tense, fearful place where racism festers. When King's former friend, Sandy, who is white, and the son of the racist police chief, goes missing, King ends up helping hide Sandy from his abusive father. Woven seamlessly into this wise story is King's slow awakening of his sexuality, brought to the fore by his renewed friendship with Sandy, who is known to be gay. Callender's writing is so authentic and their characters are so tenderly portrayed by Ron Butler's superb narration I mourned its conclusion. The whole package is a crowning achievement.”

Bear Pond Books image Jane, Bear Pond Books
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We Are Not Free

By Traci Chee
Narrated by: Scott Keiji Takeda, Dan Woren, Ali Fumiko, Andrew Kishino, Brittany Ishibashi, Christopher Naoki Lee, Erika Aishii, Grace Rolek, Kurt Sanchez Kanazawa, Ryan Potter, Sophie Oda, Terry Kitagawa & Multiple Narrators
Length: 10 hours 26 minutes

* NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST * PRINTZ HONOR BOOK * WALTER HONOR BOOK * From New York Times best-selling and acclaimed author Traci Chee comes We Are Not Free, the collective account of a tight-knit group of young Nisei, second-generation Japanese American citizens, whose lives are irrevocably changed by the mass U.S. incarcerations of World... Read more »

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