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.
The National Book Awards were established in 1950 to celebrate the best writing in America. Since 1989, they have been overseen by the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.
“As the child of immigrants, as a black woman, as a Latina, as someone whose accented voice holds certain neighborhoods, whose body holds certain stories, I always feel like I have to prove that I am worthy enough and there will never be an award or accolade that will take that away,” Acevedo told the crowd as she accepted the country’s most prestigious literary award.
“But every single time I meet a reader who looks at me and says, ‘I have never seen my story until I read yours,’ I’m reminded of why this matters. And that’s not going to be an award and it’s not going to be an accolade. It’s going to be looking someone in the face and saying, ‘I see you,’ and in return being told that I am seen.”