2020 Walter Awards
THE WALTER AWARD, Teen Category
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, Mariko Tamaki (author) and Rosemary Valero-O'Connell (illustrator)
THE WALTER HONOR BOOKS, Teen Category
Pet, Akwaeke Emezi
With the Fire on High, Elizabeth Acevedo
THE WALTER AWARD, Younger Readers Category
The Bridge Home, Padma Venkatraman
THE WALTER HONOR BOOKS, Younger Readers Category
A Good Kind of Trouble, Lisa Moore Ramée
Other Words for Home, Jasmine Warga
WNDB Has Canceled the 2020 Symposium & Walter Awards
Please be advised We Need Diverse Books will cancel the Diversity in Children’s Literature Symposium and the Walter Dean Myers Award Ceremony on Friday, March 13, 2020, out of an abundance of caution.
The health of the authors, educators, librarians, and students scheduled to attend the event is of greatest concern to We Need Diverse Books. In the next several weeks, we will be assessing our options for holding these events at another time and will keep everyone informed.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any questions about this cancellation, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please join us in celebrating the 2020 winners and honorees as well as Walter Dean Myers Award for Leadership and Advocacy in Children’s Literature Recipient Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop.
The 2020 Judging Committee
Derek Ivie (2020 Walters Chair) is the Youth Services Coordinator at the Suffolk Cooperative Library System in Bellport, NY. There he runs trainings, workshops, and county-wide programs for the youth services staff in the member libraries. He has served on YALSA’s Quick Picks for Young Adult Reluctant Readers for two years (one as chair), YALSA’s Michael L. Printz Award Committee, and the YALSA Board as a Board Member-at-Large for two years. Prior to chairing the Walter Awards this year, he was lucky enough to serve two previous terms. Outside of libraries and books, Derek is a certified yoga instructor (he reads lots of yoga books too!).
L. Lee Butler is the Upper School Librarian at the Key School in Annapolis, Maryland. They have previously served on the committees for YALSA’s Alex Awards and the Best Fiction for Young Adults list. Lee lives in their hometown of Washington, D.C. with their two sons.
Shelley Diaz is currently a youth selector at BookOps, the combined technical services collaboration between Brooklyn Public Library and New York Public Library. She previously worked at School Library Journal for almost eight years, where she was most recently the YA Editor and Reviews Manager. Prior to her time at SLJ, Shelley worked at Penguin Young Readers and Scholastic Book Clubs as an editorial assistant. She has written for the New York Times and moderated several panels on diversity, censorship, and Spanish-language materials. She has served on YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults and Excellence in Nonfiction committees. She's also an adjunct professor at Queens College, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, where she teaches young adult literature.
Sandra Farag has worked with youth and youth collections for most of her professional life. Before working as the Manager of Youth Collection Development for Ingram Library Services, Sandra was a Youth Materials Selector for both New York and Brooklyn Public Libraries for three years. She also worked for New York Public Library for 17 years. Sandra has also chaired or served on the following book award committees: ALSC's Batchelder Award, YALSA's Excellence in Nonfiction Award, Library Journal's Indie Award, New York Public Library's Best Books for Teens, and New York Public Library's Best Books for Children.
Nikki Santiago is an Instruction Librarian at the University of the Arts in her hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has previously served on several YALSA book list committees, including Great Graphic Novels for Teens and Best Fiction for Young Adults. After working as a Teen Services Librarian at Berkeley Public Library, she made the transition to academic librarianship, working at various local community colleges. She just completed her coursework for a Master of Science degree in Architectural History at UC Berkeley, where she also designed and taught an undergraduate reading and composition course on comics studies.
Morika Tsujimura teaches Math and Science in the Lower and Middle divisions at Grace Church School in New York City. She serves on the Bank Street Children’s Book Committee and has previously been a judge for the Cook Prize and the Irma Black Prize, both awarded by the Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature. Morika is a member of the Diversity Committee for the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) and is involved in organizing the annual Young Men of Color Symposium and YALA Gala for APISA+ youth. She has also presented at the Progressive Educators Network National Conference and the NAIS People of Color Conference. Born in Japan and raised in Manhattan, she now proudly reps the Bronx.
Ny'ilah Whitaker is the Teen Librarian/Assistant Manager of The Earl Teen Center located at Enoch Pratt Free Library's Central Branch in Baltimore, Maryland. A self-proclaimed “Pratt Kid,” Ny’ilah started her teens working in the library and has since dedicated almost 20 years serving children, youth, their families, and the community-at-large. She currently resides in Baltimore where she enjoys reading, volunteering, and showing teens how to be mindful through meditation/yoga while discovering their favorite book.