This is a committee formed under the umbrella of the Library Services for Youth in Custody group (www.youthlibraries.org).

cropped-cropped-itm-logo-001.jpegMission Statement:

To seek out and highlight fiction and non-fiction titles (PreK through adult level) of high-interest appeal to boys or girls, ages 9-21 who may fit into one or all of the following categories:
– multicultural (primarily African American, Latinx, Indigenous and LGBTQ)
– from a street culture
– in restrictive custody
– reluctant readers


This 7-11 member committee selects and reviews best books of the year and creates an Official List,  Top Ten List, an Advocacy Award Title, and a Top Fiction and non-fiction title.  Titles of interest will be unusual, possibly un-reviewed, have multicultural characters, address topics dealing with difficult situations including (but not limited to) street life, marginalized populations, crime, justice, war, violence, abuse, addiction, homelessness and gangs. The committee highlights self-published titles as much as possible. The committee places a high preference on books representing African-American, Latinx, Indigenous and LGBTQ protagonists, books reflecting teens living in poverty, on the streets, in custody – or a cycle of all three – and books of high interest appeal to reluctant readers. Youth feedback is a critical factor in book nomination and selection.


The In the Margins Advocacy Book Award chooses the  best book that illuminates issues of race, class and incarceration or otherwise highlights the reality of people of color living in the margins of society. The Advocacy award goes to the best book for adults to read in order to increase, deepen, affirm and clarify their understanding of the issues facing poor people or poor children of color in America. Higher consideration is given to a book that teens also read, but teen feedback is not essential to the choosing of this award.  All publishers, including self published books are considered equally.