Elizabeth Acevedo (pohick2, Flickr).
Slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo became the first writer of color to win the Carnegie medal. First established in 1936, it is the UK’s oldest book award for children. Past medal honorees include C.S. Lewis, Neil Gaiman, and Sally Gardner.
The Dominican American poet won the award for her debut novel The Poet X, which tells the story of a Dominican girl called Xiomara Batista, who joins her school’s slam poetry club in Harlem. Acevedo conceived the novel while teaching eighth-grade English at a school in Maryland.
According to a statement from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), which runs the awards, Acevedo’s book “offers a searing, unflinching exploration of culture, family, and faith within a truly innovative verse structure. We follow the emotional odyssey of its heroine, Xiomara, as she rails, cries, laughs, loves, prays, writes, raps, and, ultimately, offers hope.”
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