US National Book Awards Longlist: Young People’s Literature

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The books on the Young People’s Literature longlist are the first cohort of five categories named this week by the US National Book Awards.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

See also:
US National Book Awards 2023 Longlist: Translation

First of Five Categories’ Longlists
In a bit of interesting timing, the United States’ National Book Foundation has tweeted overnight the fact that it has rescinded its invitation to Drew Barrymore to host the 74th National Book Awards ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on November 15. This, just as the program begins its annual release of five categories of books and authors now in the running for a 2023 National Book Award.

Barrymore’s The Drew Barrymore Show has returned to production despite the fact that the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has entered the 20th week of its Hollywood-based strike.

Barrymore’s show employs at least three writers who are guild members, according to Hillel Italie’s write-up at the Associated Press. Italie clarifies, however, that the resumption of the talk show’s production “doesn’t inherently cause issues with the actors guild, which is also on strike, as daytime talk shows are governed by a different Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists contract that was renewed and ratified last year.”

The National Book Foundation’s message on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, says that the program’s “commitment is to ensure that the focus of the awards remains on celebrating writers and books, and we are grateful to Ms. Barrymore and her team for their understanding in this situation.” As Italie notes in her piece, authors including Colson Whitehead and Alexander Chee had questioned whether she should host the show in light of the Barrymore show’s decision to cross the picket line.

The United States’ leading author advocacy organization, the Authors Guild, has issued a statement of solidarity with the striking writers, noting that many of its own members are also members of the Writers Guild of America.

Oprah Winfrey is still expected to appear during the November 15 ceremony as a guest speaker.

And this issue surfaces today (September 13), as the foundation releases its first two of five longlists. In this article, we  have the Young People’s Literature category. Later today, we’ll have the youngest of all the program’s categories, the Translation category–always of particularly keen interest to Publishing Perspectives‘ world-publishing readership, especially among our rights directors, international rights agents, and scouts.

Shortlists, called finalists in National Book Awards terminology, in all five categories are to be announced on October 3.

The full schedule of this week’s annual volley of categories’ longlists:

  • Wednesday (September 13): Young People’s Literature
  • Later Wednesday: Translated Literature
  • Thursday (September 14): Poetry
  • Later Thursday: Nonfiction
  • Friday (September 15): Fiction
The 2023 Young People’s Literature Longlist

The jurors for Young People’s Literature this year are Sarah Park Dahlen, Kyle Lukoff, Claudette S. McLinn (chair), Justin A. Reynolds, and Sabaa Tahir.

Publishers submitted a total of 328 books in the 2023 Young People’s Literature category, a notably increase from the 296 submissions made in this category in 2022.

This longlist comprises the work of 11 authors receiving National Book Awards attention for the first time.

There are three works of nonfiction included in the 10 titles for younger readers, one of them a graphic memoir. The remaining seven titles are fiction, one of them a picture book and two of them graphic novels. Three of these titles have illustrations created by their authors.

Authors appearing on this list have been honored by the Caldecott Medal, the Middle East Book Award, and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work—Children, among other accolades. 

Author Title Publisher / Imprint
Erin Bow Simon Sort of Says Disney Publishing Worldwide / Disney-Hyperion Books
Kenneth M. Cadow Gather Candlewick Press
Alyson Derrick Forget Me Not Simon & Schuster / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Huda Fahmy Huda F Cares? Penguin Random House / Dial Books for Young Readers
Vashti Harrison Big Hachette Book Group / Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Katherine Marsh The Lost Year: A Survival Story of the Ukrainian Famine Macmillan Publishers / Roaring Brook Press
Dan Nott Hidden Systems: Water, Electricity, the Internet, and the Secrets Behind the Systems We Use Every Day Penguin Random House / Random House Graphic
Dan Santat A First Time for Everything Macmillan Publishers / First Second
Betty C. Tang Parachute Kids Scholastic / Graphix
Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long More Than a Dream: The Radical March on Washington for Jobs and  Freedom Macmillan Publishers / Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Books for Young Readers

As always, the jury’s decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and board of directors and deliberations are strictly confidential.

More on the 2023 National Book Awards:
US National Book Foundation: Poet Rita Dove Wins the 2023 Medal for Distinguished Contribution
US National Book Foundation: Bookseller Paul Yamazaki Wins the 2023 Literarian Medal


More from Publishing Perspectives on the National Book Awards in the United States is here and more on the huge field of international book awards and prizes is here. More from us on the United States’ market is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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