The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. It is named for a Topeka, Kansas school librarian who was a long-time active member of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of ALA.
This list was compiled by Stephanie A. Squicciarini, Teen Services Librarian, Fairport Public Library.
March 2004, updated 2/05, 2/06, 3/07, 1/08, 3/09, 1/10

Kit’s Wilderness, David Almond
2001 Printz Award

Thirteen-year-old Kit goes to live with his grandfather in the decaying coal mining town of Stoneygate, England, and finds both the old man and the town haunted by ghosts of the past.

Skellig, David Almond
2000 Printz Honor

Unhappy about his baby sister’s illness and the chaos of moving into a dilapidated old house, Michael retreats to the garage and finds a mysterious stranger who is something like a bird and something like an angel.

Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson
2000 Printz Honor

A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda’s freshman year in high school.

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: The Pox Party, M.T. Anderson
2007 Printz Honor

Various diaries, letters, and manuscripts chronicle the experiences of Octavian, a young African American, from birth to age sixteen, as he is brought up as part of a science experiment in the years leading up to and during the Revolutionary War.

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: Kingdom on the Waves, M.T. Anderson
2009 Printz Honor

When Octavian hears that Lord Dunmore, governor of Virginia, will free all slaves who join his “Ethiopian Regiment,” the recent runaway gladly signs up. Upon enlisting, Octavian is reunited with his friend Pro Bono. The two comrades, who once shared a master, are thrilled to meet again, but their joy quickly subsides.

Tales of the Madman Underground: An Historical Romance, 1973,
John Barnes
2010 Printz Honor

Karl Shoemaker wants to begin his senior year with a new identity separate from his counseling group, his alcoholic mother and the legacy of his dead father.

Going Bovine, Libba Bray
2010 Printz Award

Cameron Smith, a disaffected sixteen year-old who, after being diagnosed with Creutzfeld Jakob’s (aka mad cow) disease, sets off on a road trip with a death-obsessed video gaming dwarf he meets in the hospital in an attempt to find a cure.

Postcards from No Man’s Land, Aidan Chambers
2003 Printz Award

Alternates between two stories– contemporarily, seventeen-year-old Jacob visits a daunting Amsterdam at the request of his English grandmother–and historically, nineteen-year-old Geertrui relates her experience of British soldiers’ attempts to liberate Holland from its German occupation.

One Whole and Perfect Day, Judith Clarke
2008 Printz Honor

As her irritating family prepares to celebrate her grandfather’s eightieth birthday, sixteen-year-old Lily yearns for just one whole perfect day together.

Many Stones, Carolyn Coman
2001 Printz Honor

After her sister Laura is murdered in South Africa, Berry and her estranged father travel there to participate in the dedication of a memorial in her name.

Ropemaker, Peter Dickinson
2002 Printz Honor

When the magic that protects their Valley starts to fail, Tilja and her companions journey into the evil Empire to find the ancient magician Faheel, who originally cast those spells.

A Northern Light, Jennifer Donnelly
2004 Printz Honor

In 1906, sixteen-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiancé, takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest. Based on a true story.

The House of the Scorpion, Nancy Farmer
2003 Printz Honor, 2003 Newbery Honor

In a future where humans despise clones, Matt enjoys special status as the young clone of El Patron, the142-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States.

My Heartbeat, Garret Freymann-Weyr
2003 Printz Honor

As she tries to understand the closeness between her older brother and his best friend, fourteen-year-old Ellen finds her relationship with each of them changing.

Keesha’s House, Helen Frost
2004 Printz Honor

Seven teens facing such problems as pregnancy, closeted homosexuality, and abuse each describe in poetic forms what caused them to leave home and where they found home again.

Hole in My Life, Jack Gantos
2003 Printz Honor

The author relates how, as a young adult, he became a drug user and smuggler, was arrested, did time in prison, and eventually got out and went to college, all the while hoping to become a writer.

Fat Kid Rules the World, K.L. Going
2004 Printz Honor

Seventeen-year-old Troy, depressed, suicidal, and weighing nearly 300 pounds, gets a new perspective on life when a homeless teenager who is a genius on guitar wants Troy to be the drummer in his band.

An Abundance of Katherines, John Green
2007 Printz Honor

Having been recently dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, recent high school graduate and former child prodigy Colin sets off on a road trip with his best friend to try to find some new direction in life while also trying to create a mathematical formula to explain his relationships.

Looking for Alaska, John Green
2006 Printz Award

Sixteen-year-old Miles’ first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.

Surrender, Sonya Hartnett
2007 Printz Honor

As he is dying, a twenty-year-old man known as Gabriel recounts his troubled childhood and his strange relationship with a dangerous counterpart named Finnigan.

Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath, Stephanie Hemphill
2008 Printz Honor

The author interprets the people, events, influences and art that made up the brief life of Sylvia Plath.

Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith, Deborah Heiligman
2010 Printz Honor

Once Charles Darwin sets his rational mind to marry the religious Emma Wedgeworth, they both must take a leap of faith in order to build a life together.

Repossessed, A.M. Jenkins
2008 Printz Honor

A fallen angel, tired of being unappreciated while doing his pointless, demeaning job, leaves Hell, enters the body of a seventeen-year-old boy, and tries to experience the full range of human feelings before being caught and punished, while the boy’s family and friends puzzle over his changed behavior.

The First Part Last, Angela Johnson
2004 Printz Award

Bobby’s carefree teenage life changes forever when he becomes a father and must care for his adored baby daughter.

Dreamquake: Book Two of the Dreamhunter Duet, Elizabeth Knox
2008 Printz Honor

Aided by her family and her creation, Nown, Laura investigates the powerful Regulatory Body’s involvement in mysterious disappearances and activities and learns, in the process, the true nature of the Place in which dreams are found.

Black Juice, Margo Lanagan
2006 Printz Honor

Provides glimpses of the dark side of civilization and the beauty of the human spirit through ten short stories that explore significant moments in people’s lives, events leading to them, and their consequences.

Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan
2009 Printz Honor

A young woman who has endured unspeakable cruelties is magically granted a safe haven apart from the real world and allowed to raise her two daughters in this alternate reality, until the barrier between her world and the real one begins to break down.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart
2009 Printz Honor

Sophomore Frankie starts dating senior Matthew Livingston, but when he refuses to talk about the all-male secret society that he and his friends belong to, Frankie infiltrates the society in order to enliven their mediocre pranks.

Freewill, Chris Lynch
2002 Printz Honor

A teenager trying to recover from the tragic death of his father and stepmother believes himself to be responsible for the rash of teen suicides occurring in his town.

The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things, Carolyn Mackler
2004 Printz Honor

Feeling like she does not fit in with the other members of her family, who are all thin, brilliant, and good-looking, fifteen-year-old Virginia tries to deal with her self-image, her first physical relationship, and her disillusionment with some of the people closest to her.

Jellicoe Road, Melina Marchetta
2009 Printz Award

Abandoned by her drug-addicted mother at the age of eleven, high school student Taylor Markham struggles with her identity and family history at a boarding school in Australia.

The White Darkness, Geraldine McCaughrean
2008 Printz Award

Taken to Antarctica by the man she thinks of as her uncle for what she believes to be a vacation, Symone discovers that he is dangerously obsessed with seeking Symme’s Hole, an opening that supposedly leads into the center of a hollow Earth.

Monster, Walter Dean Myers
2000 Printz Award

While on trial as an accomplice to a murder,
sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.

A Step from Heaven, An Na
2002 Printz Award

A young Korean girl and her family find it difficult to learn English and adjust to life in America.

Airborn, Kenneth Oppel
2005 Printz Honor

Matt, a young cabin boy aboard an airship, and Kate, a wealthy young girl traveling with her chaperone, team up to search for the existence of mysterious winged creatures reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth’s surface.

The Body of Christopher Creed, Carol Plum-Ucci
2001 Printz Honor

Torey Adams, a high school junior with a seemingly perfect life, struggles with doubts and questions surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the class outcast.

The Nation, Terry Pratchett
2009 Printz Honor

After a devastating tsunami destroys all that they have ever known, Mau, an island boy, and Daphne, an aristocratic English girl, together with a small band of refugees, set about rebuilding their community and all the things that are important in their lives.

Punkzilla, Adam Rapp
2010 Printz Honor

Fourteen-year-old runaway Jamie, homeless and strung out, embarks on a harrowing journey to reach his dying brother.

Angus, Thongs, & Full Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicholson, Louise Rennison
2001 Printz Honor

Presents the humorous journal of a year in the life of a fourteen-year-old British girl who tries to reduce the size of her nose, stop her mad cat from terrorizing the neighborhood animals, and win the love of handsome hunk Robbie.

How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff
2005 Printz Award

To get away from her pregnant stepmother in New York City, fifteen-year-old Daisy goes to England to stay with her aunt and cousins, with whom she instantly bonds, but soon war breaks out and rips apart the family while devastating the land.

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, Gary D. Schmidt
2005 Printz Honor

In 1911, Turner Buckminster hates his new home of Phippsburg, Maine, but things improve when he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a girl from a poor, nearby island community founded by former slaves that the town fathers want to change into a tourist spot.

Chanda’s Secrets, Allan Stratton
2005 Printz Honor

A girl’s struggle amid the African AIDS pandemic. Chanda is a perceptive girl living in the small city of Bonang, a fictional city in Southern Africa. When her youngest sister dies, the first hint of HIV/AIDS emerges and Chanda must confront undercurrents of shame and stigma.

Stuck in Neutral, Terry Trueman
2001 Printz Honor

Fourteen-year-old Shawn McDaniel, who suffers from severe cerebral palsy and cannot function, relates his perceptions of his life, his family, and his condition, especially as he believes his father is planning to kill him.

Hard Love, Ellen Wittlinger
2000 Printz Honor

After starting to publish a zine in which he writes his secret feelings about his lonely life and his parents’ divorce, 16-year-old John meets an unusual girl and begins to develop a healthier personality.

True Believer, Virginia Euwer Wolff
2002 Printz Honor

Living in the inner city amidst guns and poverty, fifteen-year-old LaVaughn learns from old and new friends, and inspiring mentors, that life is what you make it.

The Monstrumologist, Rick Yancey
2010 Printz Honor

In 1888, twelve-year-old Will Henry chronicles his apprenticeship with Dr. Warthrop, a scientist who hunts and studies real-life monsters, as they discover and attempt to destroy a pod of Anthropophagi.

American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang
2007 Printz Medal

Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture. (Graphic Novel)

The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak
2007 Printz Honor

Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

I Am the Messenger, Marcus Zusak
2006 Printz Honor

After capturing a bank robber, a19-year-old cab driver begins receiving mysterious messages that direct him to where people need help, and he begins getting over his feeling of worthlessness.