The Michael L. Printz Award annually honors the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit. In addition, the Printz Committee names up to four honor books, which also represent the best writing in young adult literature. The awards announcement is made at the ALA Midwinter Meeting as part of the Youth Media Awards and is celebrated with a program and reception at the ALA Annual Conference.
The award's namesake was a school librarian in Topeka, Kansas, and a marketing consultant for Econo-Clad, as well an active member of YALSA. He had a passion for books and reading. He also appreciated the authors who wrote books for young adults and demonstrated this by initiating an author-in-residence program at his high school. The award is sponsored by Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association.