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Lincoln Award: Teen Readers' Choice

The Abraham Lincoln Award is awarded annually to the author of the book voted as most outstanding by participating students in grades nine through twelve in Illinois. The award is named for Abraham Lincoln, one of Illinois’s most famous residents and himself an avid reader and noted author. The award is sponsored by the Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA).The Abraham Lincoln Award is designed to encourage high school students to read for personal satisfaction and become familiar with authors of young adult and adult books.

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      Slay

      by Brittney Morris

      Jan 2020

      High-Interest High Plus

      2021
      By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer: not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the black man.”

      But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination. Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically black in a world intimidated by blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?

      Patron Saints of Nothing

      by Randy Ribay

      Oct 2019

      Mature Young Adults Plus

      2021
      Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.

      Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth—and the part he played in it.

      As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.

      Author’s note. Recommended reading.

      Black Enough

      by Ibi Zoboi

      Apr 2019

      Mature Young Adults Plus

      2021
      In this groundbreaking anthology, seventeen acclaimed, black YA authors depict some of the countless ways to be young and black in America today.
      Contributor bios.

      A Very Large Expanse of Sea

      by Tahereh Mafi

      Feb 2019

      Young Adults

      2021
      2002: Shirin figures everyone at her new school will dislike her for her race, religion, and hijab. Then she meets Ocean James, who actually seems to want to get to know her—and she discovers breakdancing.

      Darius the Great Is Not Okay

      by Adib Khorram

      Nov 2018

      Young Adults

      2021
      Afterword with resources. Darius, who’s half Persian, has never fit in at home in Oregon. He’s sure things will be the same in Iran; but then he meets Sohrab and everything changes.

      Sadie

      by Courtney Summers

      Oct 2018

      Mature Young Adults Plus

      2020
      Determined to find her sister’s murderer, Sadie leaves home—and disappears. When a radio personality hears Sadie’s story, he becomes obsessed with finding her and starts a podcast.

      The Astonishing Color of After

      by Emily X. R. Pan

      Jul 2018

      Young Adults

      2020
      Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: when her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

      Far from the Tree

      by Robin Benway

      Mar 2018

      Young Adults Plus

      2020
      In this National Book Award-winning novel about the meaning of family, adopted teen Grace seeks out her biological siblings after giving up her own baby.
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