Alex Award Winners

The Alex Awards are given each year to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to teens. The award is named after Margaret Alexander Edwards, an inspirational young adult librarian who was called "Alex" by her friends.

Look for these Alex Award-winning titles in the Teen Corner.



Bates, Judy Fong. Midnight at the Dragon Café. 2005.
Annie Chou (born Su-Jen Chou) tells of her childhood in a small Ontario town in the 1950s. She is torn by two cultures and her life is changed when she discovers her family's unspoken secrets.
Bradshaw, Gillian. The Sand Reckoner. 2000.
After a long and successful career as an engineer during the Punic Wars, the numbers-obsessed Archimedes must choose between the woman he loves and an offer to come to Alexandria and practice pure mathematics.
Brooks, Geraldine. Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague. 2001. Also available: Cassette
In 1666, a young woman comes of age during an extraordinary year of love and death. Inspired by a true story.
Buckhanon, Kalisha. Upstate. 2005. Also available: CD
This touching tale is told entirely in letters between a teenage girl in Harlem and her boyfriend, who has been sent "upstate" to prison for killing his father.
Chevalier, Tracy. The Girl With A Pearl Earring. 1999.
Also available: Large Type, CD, Cassette
This is a fictional account of how the 17th century Dutch artist Vermeer painted his masterpiece. The girl in the painting is 16-year-old Griet, a servant girl whose life was transformed by a brief encounter with the artist.
Clarke, Breena. River, Cross My Heart. 1999. Also available: Large Type
Five-year-old Clara Bynum has drowned in the Potomac River in the shadow of a seemingly haunted rock outcropping known locally as the Three Sisters. The effect of her absence on the people she has left behind is explored in this tension-filled novel.
Connolly. John. The Book of Lost Things. 2006. Also available: CD, Digital Player
After his mother's death, the books 12-year-old David reads begin to speak to him, and soon fantasy and reality collide.
Cook, Karin. What Girls Learn. 1997.
Told from the perspective of a 13-year-old girl, this story deals with a variety of issues including an absent father, a new stepfather, a thousand-mile move, sibling rivalry, family secrets, sexual experimentation, cancer, and death.
Davis, Amanda. Wonder When You'll Miss Me. 2003.
After 16-year-old Faith Duckle is raped under the bleachers by a group of boys, she is haunted by her past and bent on revenge. Her dark tale is surprisingly funny.
Doig, Ivan. The Whistling Season. 2006. Also available: Large Type
Hired as a housekeeper to work on the early 1900s Montana homestead of widower Oliver Milliron, Rose and her brother try to educate the widower's sons while witnessing local efforts on a massive irrigation project.
Fuqua, Jonathon Scott. The Reappearance of Sam Webber. 1998.
An 11-year old boy's friendship with an African-American janitor teaches him about racism, loss, grief, and forgiveness.
Gaiman, Neil. Anansi Boys. 2005. Also available: CD, eAudiobook, eBook
Fat Charlie learns that his father was not a man but the trickster god, Anansi the Spider, and that he and his brother have inherited some of Dad's godliness.
Gaiman, Neil. Stardust. 1999. Also available: CD, eBook
A young man named Tristan sets off on a quest to retrieve a fallen star and win the hand of his love in marriage.
Galloway, Gregory. As Simple as Snow. 2005. Also available: CD, eAudiobook
Anna Cayne, a goth girl, moves to a new town and begins a relationship with the straight laced, unnamed narrator. The two enjoy a whirlwind relationship until the day Anna goes missing.
Gruen, Sara. Water for Elephants. 2006.
Also available: Large Type, CD, eAudiobook, Digital Player
Ninety-something-year-old Jacob Jankowski remembers his time as an animal trainer in the circus, falling in love with Marlena, star of the equestrian act, and with the delightful Rosie the elephant.
Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. 2003.
Also available: CD, eBook, Digital Player
Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically gifted, autistic 15-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.
Halpin, Brendan. Donorboy. 2004.
A teenage girl becomes the ward of her sperm-donor father after losing both of her gay parents in a bizarre accident. This comic novel is told through e-mail, instant messaging, and journal entries.
Hamill, Pete. Snow in August. 1997. Also available: Large Type
Miracles happen when a relationship, as unlikely as snow in august, develops between an 11-year-old Irish Catholic boy and an elderly Jewish rabbi.
Hamamura, John. Color of the Sea. 2006.
Separated from his Japanese-American family and girlfriend by the interment practices of World War II, martial arts master Sam Hamada is recruited by the U.S. Army for a secret mission in Japan, where he finds himself torn between cultures.
Haruf, Kent. Plainsong. 1999. Also available: Large Type, Cassette
In the small town of Holt, Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother retreats first to the bedroom, then altogether.
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. 2003.
Also available: Large Type, CD, Cassette, Digital Player
Amir, who grew up in Kabul as the son of a prominent and wealthy man, is haunted by the guilt of betraying his childhood friend Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant.
Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go. 2005. Also available: CD
Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth were once classmates at Hailsham, a private school in the English countryside with a most unusual student body: human clones created solely to serve as organ donors.
Jouern , Pamela Carter. The Floor of the Sky. 2006
An aging widow, on the verge of losing her family's ranch, gets a visit for the summer from her pregnant 16-year-old granddaughter.
Kluger, Steve. Last Days of Summer. 1998.
Growing up in the 1940s, Joey Margolis must cope with anti-Semitism, an absent father, an impending divorce, and the loss of his best friend. His one consolation is a pen-pal relationship with his idol Charly Banks of the New York Giants.
Kyle, Aryn: The God of Animals. 2007.
As a 12-year-old growing up on her father's run-down horse ranch, Alice Winston is faced with the death of a classmate, a runaway sister, a depressed mother, and a weary father.
Malloy, Brian. The Year of Ice. 2002.
Eighteen-year-old Kevin Doyle appears to be a typical teenager, but he has kept a secret from everyone– he's gay.
Marillier, Juliet. Daughter of the Forest. 2000.
After her brothers are transformed into swans by a curse from their stepfather, a young Irish woman must remain mute in order to save them. A retelling of the Celtic "Swans" myth.
Martinez, A. Lee. Gil's All Fright Diner. 2005.
As Ogre Company's newly appointed commander, immortal "Never Dead" Ned has only six months to whip these soldiers into shape or face an even more hideous assignment.
Meyers, Kent. The Work of Wolves. 2004.
In this unforgettable story of horses, love, and life, Carson and the entire ensemble of characters learn, in very different ways, about the strong bonds that connect people to each other and to the land on which they live.
Mitchell, David. Black Swan Green. 2006. Also available: CD
"Hangman" forces 13-year-old Jason Taylor to stammer– making silence preferable to humiliation. Silence is often not golden when you try to find your voice and your place in the world.
Morrissey, Donna. Kit's Law. 1999.
Fourteen-year-old Kit lives in a ramshackle cottage on the outer banks of Newfoundland. Her isolation is compounded by the mystery that surrounds her family and her illegitimate birth.
Niffenegger, Audrey. The Time Traveler's Wife. 2003.
Also available: Large Type, CD, eAudiobook
A passionate love affair develops between Henry, an adventurous librarian who can travel through time, and Clare, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course.
Odom, Mel. The Rover. 2001.
The Rover is the tale of an easily distracted dreamer, whose life as a third level assistant librarian is completely changed when he is shanghaied and sold into slavery in a distant land.
Otsuka, Julie. When the Emperor Was Divine. 2002. Also available: Large Type
An American-Japanese family is uprooted from their home "for the sake of national security" and sent to an internment camp in Utah.
Packer, Ann. The Dive from Clausen's Pier. 2002. Also available: Large Type
When Carrie's fiancé is paralyzed in his arms and below his waist, Carrie is left to decide whether to stay and become the supportive loving wife, or to leave and pursue a life separate from him.
Packer, ZZ. Drinking Coffee Elsewhere. 2003. Also available: CD, Digital Player
The characters in this provocative collection of short stories are young African-Americans faced with challenging experiences and difficult choices.
Palwick, Susan. The Necessary Beggar. 2005.
This compelling contemporary fantasy novel is a testament to the transcendent power of live and a tribute to what being a stranger in a strange land truly means.
Picoult, Jodi. My Sister's Keeper. 2004. Also available: Large Type, CD
Anna, who was conceived as a bone marrow match for her sister Kate, begins to question who she really is.
Porter, Connie. Imani All Mine. 1999.
In her street-smart voice, an unwed mother of a baby girl narrates her progress on her journey to adulthood in an increasingly violent world.
Rash, Ron. The World Made Straight. 2007.
In an Appalachian community haunted by the legacy of a Civil War massacre, a rebellious young man struggles to escape the violence that would bind him to the past.
Rawles, Nancy. My Jim. 2005.
This moving novel focuses on Sadie Watson, the wife Jim left behind when he joined Huck Finn on his adventure down the Mississippi.
Reed, Kit. Thinner Than Thou. 2004.
This satire suggests what the world would be like if our current devotion to fitness and appearance were turned into a religion.
Robinson, Kim Stanley. Antarctica. 1998.
In this novel of the near future, Antarctica will become a battleground between those who seek its natural treasures, and those who would keep this wild land untouched– no matter what the cost.
Ruff, Matt. Bad Monkeys. 2007.
Arrested for murder, Jane Charlotte claims to be a member of the Bad Monkeys, a secret organization devoted to ridding the world of especially evil people.
Setterfield, Diane. The Thirteenth Tale. 2006. Also available: Large Type, CD
For 50 years, a famous English author has been very secretive about her past. Will her new biographer be able to discover the truth?
Senna, Danzy. Caucasia. 1998.
Two daughters of an interracial marriage, one light skinned and one dark skinned, become torn apart by racial allegiances.
Shepard, Jim. Project X. 2004.
Two 8th grade outcasts hatch a horrific revenge scheme against their classmates, with catastrophic consequences.
Sherwood, Ben. The Man Who Ate the 747. 2000. Also available: CD, Cassette
Wally Chubb's eating of the 747 is actually his latest and greatest attempt to get Willa Wyatt to fall in love with him.
Southgate, Martha. The Fall of Rome. 2002.
Jerome Washington, the only black faculty member at a prestigious New England boarding school, is forced to learn that his assimilation into white culture might be nothing more than self-loathing.
Vijayaraghavan, Vineeta. Motherland. 2001.
When 15-year-old Maya is sent by her parents to India for the summer to visit her relatives, she gains new insight into her past, her family, and her heritage.
Watt, Alan. Diamond Dogs. 2000.
Star quarterback Neil Garvin is as cruel to his fellow high school students high school as his abusive father is to him. When a random act of violence takes a life, Neil's father, the local sheriff, takes control and covers up the crime.
Yates, Bart. Leave Myself Behind. 2003.
In a smart and smart-allecky voice, the 17-year-old narrator, Noah York, tells of his own sexuality, his high school's way of dealing with it when it becomes a public issue, and most importantly, how his love for the boy next door develops.

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Almond, Steve. Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America. 2004.

Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. 2007.
Also available: Large Type, CD, eAudiobook

Codell, Esmé Raji. Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher's First Year. 1999.
Also available: Cassette

Conroy, Pat. My Losing Season. 2002. Also available: Large Type, CD, Cassette

Breashears, David. High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places. 1999.

D'Orso, Michael. Eagle Blue: A Team, a Tribe, and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska. 2006.

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in Boom-Time America. 2001.
Also available: Large Type, CD

Hart, Elva Trevino. Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child. 1999.

Kercheval, Jesse Lee. Space: A Memoir. 1998.

Krakauer, Jon. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster. 1997.
Also available: Large Type, CD, Cassette

Scheeres, Julia. Jesus Land: A Memoir. 2005.

Walker, Rebecca. Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self. 2002.

Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle: A Memoir. 2005. Also available: CD, Digital Player

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