Iro organization

Winners of the 2022 Schneider Family Book Awards are named

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Schneider Family Book Awards, which recognize an author or illustrator for the artistic expression of the experience of disability for an audience of children and of teenagers. The award was announced today during ALA’s LibLearnX, held virtually January 21-24.

Recipients are selected in three categories: toddlers from birth to elementary school (0-8 years old), middle years (9-13 years old) and teens (14-18 years old). Winners will receive $5,000 and a framed plaque.

“A Walk in the Words,” written and illustrated by Hudson Talbott and published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House, is the honor title for young children of the Schneider Family Book Award .

“A Sky-Blue Bench,” written by Bahram Rahman, illustrated by Peggy Collins, and published by Pajama Press, Inc., is the Schneider Family Book Award’s honor title for young children.

“My City Speaks,” written by Darren Lebeuf, illustrated by Ashley Barron, and published by Kids Can Press Ltd., won the award for young children.

Photographer Darren Lebeuf and paper artist Ashley Barron collaborate on the story of a visually impaired girl and her father as they travel through their town. The two enjoy many familiar stops along the way to their final destination, a concert stage in the park.

“The committee was charmed by this sensory delight, in which words and images work together to describe a day in the city from the perspective of a blind girl.” said award co-chairs Susan Hess and Mary-Kate Sableski.

“Stuntboy, in the Meantime,” written by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Raúl the Third, and published by Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, is the Schneider Family Book Award Top Honor for the middle years Title.

“A Kind of Spark,” written by Elle McNicoll and published by Crown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC, is the Schneider Family Book Award’s Top Honors.

“A Bird Will Soar,” written by Alison Green Myers and published by Dutton Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House, won the award for Best Mid-Level Title.

Myers uses poetry and science to create a bird-loving autistic boy whose disability strongly shapes his identity. As Axel seeks to help heal his broken family and an injured eaglet, he learns to rely on his strength, and the people around him, to help his family, the bird, and himself.

“This luminous story of an autistic boy captivated the committee with its use of poetry, science and storytelling to weave together an exploration of identity and family,” said award co-chairs Susan Hess. and Mary-Kate Sableski.

“A Face for Picasso: Coming of Age with Crouzon Syndrome”, written by Ariel Henley and published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, is the Schneider Family Book Award teen honors title .

The winner of the teen prize is “Words in my Hands”, written and illustrated by Asphyxia and published by Annick Press.

In this work of speculative fiction, Piper searches for her identity as a deaf teenager through her art and activism in a futuristic Australia plagued by food insecurity, fuel shortages, political corruption and censorship. She shows strength and determination by learning sign language and through her artwork and community garden.

“This illustrated novel impressed the committee with its depiction of a deaf teenager who finds her place in a difficult future by reclaiming her deaf identity and advocating for a better and more sustainable world for all,” said Susan Prize Co-Chairs Hess and Mary-Kate Sableski.

Members of the 2022 committee include Susan Hess (award co-chair), New York City School Librarian, retired, Osprey, Fla.; Mary-Kate Sableski (Award Co-Chair), Associate Professor, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio; Cathy Andronik, Brien McMahon High School, retired, Norwalk Public Library, Bridgeport, Connecticut; Betsy Fraser, Selector, Calgary Public Library, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Ashley Mensah, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; Rachel G. Payne, Coordinator, Early Childhood Services, Brooklyn Public Library, New York; Sharon Powers, Media Specialist, Lake Nona Middle School, Orlando, Florida; Scot Smith, Robertsville Middle School, Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and Alyson Beecher (ex-officio), educator, Glendale Unified School District, California.

For more information on the Schneider Family Book Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit

The American Library Association (ALA) is the leading national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, championing the profession and the role of the library in improving learning and access to information for all. For more information, visit