Established in 1996 by the National Book Foundation, the National Book Award for Young People's Literature honors outstanding middle grade and young adult books.

Past winners include modern classics such as Holes by Louis Sachar, The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai, and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.

Congratulations to Elizabeth Acevedo for winning this year’s National Book Award for Young People’s Literature! The Poet X, her first novel, tells the story of a Dominican teenager who learns to express herself through slam poetry. Accepting her award, Acevedo discussed the importance of diversity and representation in young adult literature: “Every single time I meet a reader who looks at me and says, ‘I have never seen my story until I read yours,’ I am reminded of why this matters. It’s about looking someone in the face and saying, I see you.”

At, we believe in celebrating excellence in literature — and in providing the tools to help students understand and engage with what they read. Our vocabulary lists for each of the 2018 National Book Award finalists will help you and your students get the most out of these diverse titles.



The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo


The Assassination of Brandwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor
The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis
Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Long-listed Titles:

We'll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss
A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough
Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam by Elizabeth Partridge
What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper