Presenting the 2021 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners


On Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at 12 pm EDT, Horn Book editor in chief Roger Sutton announced the 2021 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners. If you want to relive the excitement, you can watch the archived video here:




Prestigious Program Honors Excellence in Literature for Children and Young Adults

New York, NY — June 23, 2021 — The Horn Book, Inc., today announced the 2021 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners. First presented in 1967, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards celebrate excellence in children’s and young adult literature.

A winner and two honor books were selected in each of three categories: Picture Book; Fiction and Poetry; and Nonfiction. The winning titles must be first U.S. editions of books published between June 2020 and May 2021 but may be written or illustrated by citizens of any country.

“The Boston Globe is thrilled to partner with The Horn Book, Inc., to award this prestigious honor and celebrate the authors and illustrators of children's and young adult literature," said Linda Henry, CEO of Boston Globe Media Partners and President of the Boston Globe Foundation. “We are grateful to each of the award winners and honorees for amplifying and representing diverse perspectives and for encouraging young readers to celebrate their unique identities and the common humanity that binds us all together.”

“I love the way these nine books show us nine ways of seeing the world, and I thank and commend the judges for their embrace of books that show the difficulties as well as the riches of the human experience,” said Roger Sutton, Editor in Chief, The Horn Book, Inc.

The 2021 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners are:


I Talk like a River written by Jordan Scott; illustrated by Sydney Smith (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House)

Read The Horn Book's review.

A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia (Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins)

Read The Horn Book's review.

From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial That Galvanized the Asian American Movement by Paula Yoo (Norton Young Readers)

Read The Horn Book's review.

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  • I Am Every Good Thing written by Derrick Barnes; illustrated by Gordon C. James (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House)
  • Watercress written by Andrea Wang; illustrated by Jason Chin (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House)

Read The Horn Book's reviews.


  • Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House)
  • Punching the Air written by Ibi Zoboi with Yusef Salaam; illustrated by Omar T. Pasha (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

Read The Horn Book's reviews.


  • All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat (Candlewick Press)
  • Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre written by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Carolrhoda Books/Lerner)

Read The Horn Book's reviews.

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The awards are chosen by an independent panel of three judges appointed by Sutton. The 2021 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards judges are: chair Luann Toth, former reviews editor at School Library Journal, librarian, and reviewer, New York, NY; Shoshana Flax, associate editor, The Horn Book, Inc., Boston, MA; and Nicholl Denice Montgomery, PhD candidate and teaching fellow in the curriculum and instruction department at Boston College, Boston, MA.

Winners and honorees will receive their awards at the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards ceremony in October.

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About Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC

Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC provides news and information, entertainment, opinion and analysis through its multimedia properties. BGMP includes The Boston Globe,,, STAT, and Globe Direct.

About The Horn Book, Inc.

First published in 1924, The Horn Book Magazine provides its readership with in-depth reviews of the best new books for children and young adults as well as articles, interviews, and editorials. The Horn Book website,, provides digital access to the Magazine and additional content including commentary, more reviews, and recommended reading lists. The Horn Book Magazine is a publication of Media Source, Inc., which is also the parent company of Library Journal, School Library Journal, Junior Library Guild, and AKJ Education. For more information, visit

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For reviews of the winning titles and more, click on the tag BGHB21.

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