The Carnegie Medal Awards announced on Tuesday, June 19th that Elizabeth Acevedo has won the CILIP Carnegie Medal for The Poet X. Elizabeth is the first writer of color to win this prestigious UK award in it’s 83-year history. The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually and judged solely by UK Librarians.
“In her speech, Elizabeth Acevedo paid credit to a particular student who inspired her to write the book: “I felt like this student had given me a challenge, or at least permission to grab the baton. She gave me permission to write a story about young people who take up space, who do not make themselves small, who learn the power of their own words.” Closing her speech with an empowering poem celebrating girls of colour, Acevedo said: “I think we should have poetry in every room as much as possible, and because I fundamentally believe in Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop’s words that children’s literature should be a mirror and a window.”
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The Poet X has won the Pura Belpré award, presented annually to a Latinx writer whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latinx cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth; the Michael L. Printz award for excellence in Young Adult Literature; and, for The Poet X audiobook, the Odyssey Award for the best audiobook produced for children and /or young adults.
Xiomara’s compelling story has also earned The Poet X a 2019 Walter Award in the teen category. The Walter Awards, presented annually, recognize diverse authors whose works feature diverse main characters and address diversity in a meaningful way.