The American Library Association, in Seattle for its midwinter meeting, announced winners of the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence, as well as its awards for children's and young adult books.

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In Seattle for its 2019 midwinter meeting, the American Library Association on Sunday announced winners of the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence. Rebecca Makkai’s “The Great Believers,” about a group of friends facing the AIDS epidemic in 1980s Chicago (interspersed by chapters set in present-day Paris), won the award for fiction, and Kiese Laymon’s “Heavy: An American Memoir,” in which the author recounted his Mississippi youth and his struggles with his weight, won for nonfiction.

Chosen by a committee of library professionals and booksellers, the awards were established in 2012; the first single-book awards for adult books given by the ALA.

The organization also announced its awards for children’s and young adult books on Monday. “Merci Suárez Changes Gears,” by Meg Medina, was the 2019 Newbery Medal winner. The Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book for children went to “Hello Lighthouse,” written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. The Coretta Scott King Book Awards, recognizing an African-American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults, went to “A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919,” by Claire Hartfield, and “The Stuff of Stars” illustrated by Ekua Holmes. Many additional children’s/young adult book honors were announced, and can be read here.

About 7,000 library professionals gathered at the Washington State Convention Center over the weekend, to view hundreds of publisher and vendor exhibits, attend committee meetings, and listen to presentations by authors. Speakers included Melinda Gates, author of “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World”; Robin DiAngelo, author of “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism”; and Isha Sesay, author of “Beneath the Tamarind Tree: A Story of Courage, Family and the Lost Schoolgirls of Boko Haram.”