Michael L. Printz Award

Rose Gentile (Trimble)

Michael L. Printz was a librarian at Topeka West High School who later became a marketing consultant for Econo-Clad Books. Michael served on several committees such as, the Best Books for Young Adults and Margaret A. Edwards. He was an active member of YALSA and was responsible for initiating an author-in-residence program at Topeka West. He believed that it was important to "find the right book, for the right student, at the right time". He often spoke to his friends about the importance of literature in the lives of children and became an integral part of the culture that provided quality books for young adults. After his untimely death YALSA created the Michael L. Printz Award that is given to authors of young adult literature who demonstrate distinguished literary merit. The award is meant to honor not only Michael but also the authors who create the best writing for young adults.
"I'll Give You the Sun"

By: Jandy Nelson

Nelson, J. (2014). I'll Give You the Sun (p. 385). New York, New York: Penguin Group.

"I'll Give You the Sun" is an extraordinary YA book that combines the trials of youth, family and identity. In the book you take a journey through the lives of twins Jude and Noah during several tumultuous years of their lives. The book is split into chapters that are told from the point of view of each twin in different years of their journey. Through each chapter you are engrossed in the lives of the twins and situations that they are trying to navigate through, separately. Each chapter you long for the moment that they are united. This book shows the reader that although you may be close to someone physically and biologically it does not mean that it is easy to understand them emotionally.

Although the criteria for the Printz Award is rather ambiguous, I believe Jandy Nelson exceeded all of the criteria that needed to be met in order to win the award. The strong characterization and voice in the story mimics the lives of young adults today. As well as her ability to create a storyline that provokes thought and wonder. Nelson wrote about a setting and a way of life that not many kids may be able to relate to but she wrote in a way that they still do. The major themes of infidelity, homosexuality and self awareness are themes that kids understand and can further explore in this book. The underlying notions of the importance of creativity, self worth and self esteem were truly remarkable given the audience that the book is geared toward. Overall, I think any young adult reading this book would be exposed to a quality piece of literature which is what the award aims to identify.


The Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. (n.d.). Retrieved September 10, 2015.