John Updike, David McCullough, Tracy Kidder and Maurice Sendak are among the 19 winners of The American Book Awards for 1982, announced yesterday in New York.

For the third annual competition, sponsored by the Association of American Publishers, judging panels composed of authors, librarians, critics, booksellers and editors chose from 90 nominees in 18 hardcover and paperback categories.

In fiction, Updike's "Rabbit Is Rich," which had previously won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize, took the hardcover award, with William Maxwell's "So Long, See You Tomorrow" winning in paperback.

Tracy Kidder's "The Soul of a New Machine" won the general nonfiction/hardcover category, and Victor Navasky's "Naming Names" received the paperback award.

The hardcover autobiography/biography prize went to David McCullough for "Mornings on Horseback," and Ronald Steel got the paperback award for "Walter Lippmann and the American Century."

"Life Supports: New and Selected Poems" by William Bronk won the poetry prize; and "Dale Loves Sophie to Death" by Robb Forman Dew was named best first novel.

Peter John Powell won the history hardcover award for "People of the Sacred Mountain: A History of the Northern Cheyenne Chiefs and Warrior Societies 1830-1879," and Robert Wohl's "The Generation of 1914" took the paperback prize.

The hardcover science award went to "Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind" by Donald C. Johanson and Maitland A. Edey, and the paperback honor to Fred Alan Wolf's "Taking the Quantum Leap: The New Physics for Nonscientists."

Maurice Sendak's "Outside Over There" won the children's picture book/hardcover prize, with Peter Spier's "Noah's Ark" taking the paperback category. In children's fiction, the hardcover award went to Lloyd Alexander's "Westmark" and the paperback prize to Ouida Sebestyen's "Words by Heart."

Two winners were named in the translation category: Robert Lyons Danly, for "In the Shade of Spring Leaves: The Life and Writings of Higuchi Ichiyo, A Woman of Letters in Meiji Japan"; and Ian Hideo Levy for "The Ten Thousand Leaves: A Translation of the Man'yoshu, Japan's Premier Anthology of Classical Poetry, Volume One." Eight design awards had been announced earlier.

The American Book Awards, which replaced the National Book Awards in 1980, will be presented on April 27 at Carnegie Hall. Each winner will receive $1,000 and a Louise Nevelson sculpture in a ceremony co-hosted by Barbara Walters and William F. Buckley Jr.