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Gay Prize Added to ALA’s Youth Awards

Gay Prize Added to ALA’s Youth Awards


The American Library Association has added a prize for gay and lesbian literature to its prestigious annual awards for children's literature, which include the renowned Caldecott and Newbery medals.

According to the Associated Press, "The library association issued a statement Monday saying that the Stonewall Children's and Young Adult Literature Award has been added to the ALA's Youth Media Awards, watched closely by educators and librarians as they decide which books to add to their collections. The Stonewall prize honors 'English-language works for children and teens of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered experience.' Stonewall awards for adult books were started nearly 40 years ago, but the children's category only now."

Gay and lesbian-themed books often rank prominently on the association's list of books most threatened with removal by parents and teachers. Recent examples include And Tango Makes Three, the picture book by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell about two male penguins raising a baby, which topped the list from 2007 to 2009.

ALA president Roberta Stevens said her organization decided to add the Stonewall Prize before the series of LGBT youth suicides focused the national consciousness on antigay bullying, the AP reported.

"Millions of children in this country are being raised by gay or lesbian parents," she said. "There are young people who are gay and sometimes they feel very alone. This is a real opportunity for youths who may be feeling alone to read about other like themselves."

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