Winning titles announced for the 2021 Arkansas Teen Book Award


This combination of photos released by the American Library Association (ALA) shows, from left, “The Candle and the Flame” by Nafiza Azad, “The Field Guide to the North American Teenager” by Ben Philippe, “Frankly in Love” by David Yoon, “Genesis Begins Again” by Alicia D. Williams and “There Will Come a Darkness” written by Katy Rose Pool, which were selected as finalists for the 2020 William C. Morris Award. (Scholastic Press/Balzer + Bray/ Atheneum-Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Henry Holt via AP)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas teens have chosen four books to share the 2021 Arkansas Teen Book Award.

The Arkansas Teen Book Award began in 2009 as a cooperative effort between public and school librarians across the state.

The Level 1 winner, chosen by seventh through ninth graders, is “Two Can Keep a Secret” by Karen M. McManus. “The Field Guide to the North American Teenager” by Ben Philippe was voted the runner-up. 

The Level 2 winner, chosen by students in 10th through 12th grades, is “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder” by Holly Jackson. “A Curse So Dark and Lonely” by Brigid Kemmerer was voted the runner-up.

The steering committee for the teen award now consists of public librarians and school library media specialists from varying backgrounds and service areas around the state.

Each year, more than 200 volunteer readers working with teens across the state give their time to reading the nominated titles. The primary sponsoring organization is the Arkansas State Library, a division of the Arkansas Department of Education.

Nominations are accepted from the public and all eligible titles are included for consideration by the steering committee.

These books are read and voted on by teachers and librarians across Arkansas to narrow the selections to a manageable reading list. This reading list is distributed statewide and then teens cast their votes for their favorite titles to determine the ultimate winners of the award.

Voting is already underway for the 2022 Arkansas Teen Book Award. Librarians, media specialists and teachers wanting bookmarks featuring the titles can contact Ruth Hyatt, Arkansas State Library Coordinator of Youth Services, at

For more on the award, visit


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