Yesterday I posted the winners of the Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Awards. You might have also recently read Kristin Nelson’s post about state reading lists. What are these lists and how are books selected?
Every year, authors, editors, students, teachers, and librarians are welcomed to nominate titles for their state’s consideration. Some states, such as Louisiana, pick titles for upper elementary and middle school. Others, like Pennsylvannia, select titles for students K-12.
I asked Louisiana’s Teen Services Library Consultant, Angela Germany, about the process here. This is what she had to say:
“We end up with about 100 titles to consider for each list. March 1st, 2010 is the cutoff for nominations to the 2012 LYRC list. The 2012 list will be available in August 2010.”
From these initial lists, 15 titles are selected.
From the State Library of Louisiana website:
“Each year two ballots of 15 titles are compiled by a committee of school and public librarians: one for students in grades 3-5 and one for students in grades 6-8. Suggestions for titles to be considered for the ballot may be sent to the chair of the committee. The ballots are a well-balanced selection of high-quality fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Students may read or listen to the books and vote for their favorite one. This is a great way to involve students in literature and get them excited about reading for pleasure.”
So what does all of this mean? Several things:
- Kids are exposed to new books
- Kids get to voice their opinions about literature
- Anyone can recommend titles for consideration
- Books that are nominated are read by librarians (the backbone of the purchasing market)
- Books that make the list are purchased for public and school libraries and are widely read
Start thinking now about titles you might recommend to your state’s reading list. I’m going to mention Irene Latham’s LEAVING GEE’S BEND to Lousiana’s committee. I’m just three chapters in and am in love with Irene’s beautiful language and sense of place. Plus, a historical mid-grade that takes place in nearby Alabama would be a great addition to Louisiana’s list.
As writers, this is an amazing opportunity. Be sure to send out copies of your work so that it might be included on a state reading list. Support your author friends by recommending their titles, as well.