When it comes to updating their shelves with the best new books for kids, teachers and librarians will be able to access a robust list of highly ranked selections, thanks to a newly repackaged initiative. The former Children’s, Young Adults', and Teachers’ Choices award programs, originally spearheaded by the International Literacy Association, are now in the hands of the Children’s Book Council, which has since renamed these lists “Favorites.” The accolades have also expanded in reach with the addition of Librarian Favorites Award Lists, providing greater recognition for these annual literary achievements.

Back in Action

Management of the book awards program was previously a joint effort between the two organizations until the arrival of the pandemic in 2020. After a two-year hiatus, the CBC assumed full reign—with the ILA’s support—and decided to streamline the production process. Working with a team of 80 teachers, school and public librarians, along with a handful of independent bookstores, the CBC has since introduced the program to rural, suburban, and urban locations in 45 states.

More than 200 applications for coordinators (responsible for bringing books into schools) were filed this past year, 80 of whom were selected based on their location and commitment to the project. Each coordinator chose one age group for distributing 2022 publisher-shipped titles to students and managing the rating process. The results for the Children’s Favorites Awards List were then tabulated and ranked by age (K to second grade, third to fifth, sixth to eighth, and ninth to 12th), with more than 500,000 students participating—triple the amount from previous years.

Among this year’s crop of Children’s Favorites are the number one picks in each age category: Creepy Crayons for K to second grade; Pooper Snooper, third to fifth grade; Diper Överlöde (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #17), sixth to eighth; and Ain’t Burned All the Bright, ninth to 12th grade. The Teacher and Librarian Favorites Award Lists will be announced later this month.

As with the original incarnation, the list of award winners has been posted to the CBC’s website and will serve as a tool for classrooms, libraries, and bookstores. Now that the list has grown from 30 to 40 titles per age range, the CBC will also provide an annotated online spreadsheet—complete with bibliographic information and publisher URLs—beginning next month.

“We are so grateful to the ILA for their years of work in making these lists a go-to resource for educators,” said CBC executive director Carl Lennertz, adding that the ILA will also help promote the winners. He credits the CBC’s head of content, Laura Peraza, who created a book tracking system and kids’ rating system, along with marketing assistant Sommer Wissner, who was responsible for managing the relaunch.

“Communicating with 80 locations and all our member publishers was intense at times, but the emails I got, gushing about how excited the kids and teens were to read these new books, were my favorite moments of the program,” Wissner said. “We also received cute voter ballot graffiti, which often made my day.”

As the CBC works toward its goal of participation from all 50 states, a new round of coordinator applications is already underway. While Lennertz expects that that some names will carry over from the current roster, he expects plenty of fresh participants to help further their mission. “We want to spread the fun and expand the geographic diversity even more each year,” he said.