Awarded biennially since 2006, the AIYLA identifies and honors the very best writing and illustrations by and about Native Americans and Indigenous peoples of North America. Books selected to receive the award present Indigenous North American peoples in the fullness of their humanity. In odd-numbered years, nominations are encouraged in fiction or nonfiction and may include graphic novels; for picture books, the award is for both author and illustrator. Awards are granted in even-numbered years. Authors/illustrators may win the American Indian Youth Literature Award in the categories Best Picture Book, Best Middle Grade Book, and Best Young Adult Book. In addition, up to five awards may be selected as Honors books in each category.