Posted on June 18, 2019 at 2:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

For the first time in its eighty-plus-year history, the Carnegie Medal has gone to a writer of color.

Slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo, born in the United States to Dominican immigrants, won the prestigious children’s book award for her debut work, The Poet X, which is a verse novel.

The Poet X was inspired by one of Acevedo’s students, who declined to read anything that Acevedo suggested to her, because none of them included racially diverse characters.

So Acevedo wrote a story about Xiomara, a quiet Dominican girl who joins her school’s poetry club and finds her voice.

Judges called The Poet X “a searing, unflinching exploration of culture, family and faith within a truly innovative verse structure,” according to the Guardian.

The Carnegie Medal, first awarded in 1936, has gone to such writers as CS Lewis and Neil Gaiman, but came under fire in 2017 for releasing a twenty-book longlist that solely comprised white authors.

Categories: Today in Books

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