Many children's book awards are announced around the world each year, and the majority of them are chosen by adult readers. Are those award-winners the ones children would choose? In some cases the answer is yes, but not always.
Awards judged by adults, who put much considered analysis into their decision, are worthy of such recognition – for many reasons - however books chosen by children as their favourites also offer important insight. By empowering children to nominate and vote for the books they believe deserve an award, we can engage them with reading and explore what it is that enthuses them, what makes them laugh or cry, and which books truly connect with them.
Here in Australia, there are a number of children's choice book awards, including the KOALA Awards, YABBA Awards, and COOL Awards. For teenagers, there are the annual Inkys - and what a great name for a book award that is.
Children's choice awards given in other countries include: the Red House Children's Book Award and the Blue Peter Book Awards in the UK, the New Zealand Post Children's Choice Book Award, and the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards in the USA.
Short-listed books for these awards highlight titles that have serious stories at their heart, but also lighter layers (like Morris Gleitzman's After), as well as popular series (the many Tashi books and Emily Rodda's Deltora Quest spring to mind), along with wild and wacky adventures (The 26-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton is a perfect example).
Take a look at the eclectic mix of children's choice award shortlists and winners for some inspiration next time you're helping your child find a book to borrow at the library, or looking for one to give as a gift.
Sarah Steed is our Consultant Librarian and reviewer. A former Children's and Young Adult Librarian, she has more than 18 years' experience working in public libraries. Sarah comes from a family of readers and has shelves full to bursting with books.