Books Honored by the National Book Foundation

National Book Award Medals

The mission of the National Book Foundation is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America. National Book Awards are given five categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature.

The first African-American writer to win a National Book Award was Ralph Ellison for Invisible Man.

Check Out AALBC’s Coverage of the National Book Awards:  20172016201520142013


3 Books Honored by the National Book Foundation in 1983

Winner - Children’s Books

Marked By Fire
by Joyce Carol Thomas

    Publication Date:
    List Price: $15.99
    Format: Hardcover, 192 pages
    Classification: Fiction
    Target Age Group: Middle Grade
    ISBN13: 9781423101437
    Imprint: Hyperion Book CH
    Publisher: Hachette Book Group
    Parent Company: Hachette Livre
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    Read a Description of Marked By Fire


    Book Description: 

    Fire is Warm
    Abyssinia Jackson grew up under a vast Oklahoma sky shaded with pecan trees and dotted by endless rows of cotton-pickers cotton. She had the gift of song, a storyteller’s talent, the love of her parents, and the affection and pride of her community.

    Fire Can Burn
    Then a tornado hits and drives Abby’s family apart. A deranged neighbor targets her for a campaign of vengeful terror. And a vicious physical assault all but breaks her will.

    Marked by Fire
    In a triumphant story of faith and fortitude, Abby emerges clearly as a young woman who faces pain and joy with the dignity of her heritage and the determination of spirit.

    Joyce Carol Thomas’s beautifully written first novel, a 1983 National Book Award winner, remains as poignant and moving today as it was 25 years ago when it was first published.

    Winner - First Novel

    The Women of Brewster Place
    by Gloria Naylor

    Publication Date:
    List Price: $16.00
    Format: Paperback, 192 pages
    Classification: Fiction
    ISBN13: 9780140066906
    Imprint: Penguin Books
    Publisher: Penguin Random House
    Parent Company: Bertelsmann
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    Read a Description of The Women of Brewster Place


    Book Description: 
    Once the home of poor Irish and Italian immigrants, Brewster Place, a rotting tenement on a dead-end street, now shelters black families. This novel portrays the courage, the fear, and the anguish of some of the women there who hold their families together, trying to make a home. Among them are: Mattie Michael, the matriarch who loses her son to prison; Etta Mae Johnson who tries to trade the ’high life’ for marriage with a local preacher; Kiswana Browne who leaves her middle-class family to organize a tenant’s union.


    Finalist - Children’s Books

    Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush
    by Virginia Hamilton

    Publication Date:
    List Price: $8.99
    Format: Paperback, 224 pages
    Classification: Fiction
    Target Age Group: Young Adult
    ISBN13: 9780380651931
    Imprint: Amistad
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Parent Company: News Corporation
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    Read a Description of Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush


    Book Description: 
    Why had he come to her, with his dark secrets from a long-ago past? What was the purpose of their strange, haunting journeys back into her own childhood? Was it to help Dab, her retarded older brother, wracked with mysterious pain who sometimes took more care and love than Tree had to give? Was it for her mother, Vy, who loved them the best she knew how, but wasn’t home enough to ease the terrible longing?Whatever secrets his whispered message held, Tree knew she must follow. She must follow Brother Rush through the magic mirror, and find out the truth. About all of them.