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Award-Winning Children's Books
Includes selected major awards and winners, 2002-2017,
and information about the awards, compiled by Harold Underdown
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Except as noted, these are updated through 2016.
Why awards matter, and what you'll find here
Awards are important in children's books. They tell publishers, writers, and illustrators what is considered to be "the best," and thus the standards they must strive to attain. Many children's book awards, though not all, are selected by librarians. Award-winners then get orders from libraries around the country.
Awards are also important to publishers because books that win these awards will be ordered by bookstores as soon as they are announced, and then prominently displayed with award stickers on their front covers. The most prestigious awards thus not only bestow honors but will gain increased sales from both libraries and bookstores. They will also stay in print longer. Awards are a significant part of our business.
For writers and illustrators, getting to know the award-winning books--these and the books named to end-of-year and "Notables" lists--is one of the ways to understand what is considered to be the best today, rather than 20 or 30 or 40 years ago, when we were children. We can't read every new book that's released, but we can make a point of finding the award-winners.
This section provides information about 10 US awards, most of them awarded by the American Library Association. It lists recent award winners, and some of the "honor books," announced from 2002 to 2017. This is a dual-purpose information and shopping area. So you'll find links to websites where you can purchase the book or books you want, and also links that provide more information, including the official home pages of the various awards. (Purchase of books from these pages will generate referrals that help keep this web site operating.)
The most recent award-winners are picked out in red text.
More sources of information and places to buy award-winning books
- Database of Award-Winning Children's Literature. Compiled by a librarian, and also very comprehensive.
- Anastasia Suen created this Best Children's Books Lists page, to get you beyond the winner-take-all awards.
- Cynthia Leitich Smith hosts this Children's and YA Books State Awards list.
- The Children's Book Committee of Bank Street College produces an annual list of recommended books. The most recent edition, and some previous ones, is available via their home page.
- And the Winner Is...: This is a great background piece on the history and impact of the Newbery and Caldecott awards.
General articles about children's book awards
Created by Harold Underdown ( Google + Profile ) using information available on public websites.
- The Bank Street Children's Books Committee Children's Book Awards: My blog entry on some awards and a "Best" list that deserve to be better-known.
- The Subjective Nature of Book Awards: Why awards have their limits and aren't the only way to measure success.
- Slippery Slopes and Proliferating Prizes: Comments by Marc Aronson from 2001: a critique of identity-based awards.
- Suggestions welcomed!