Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Monday, March 21, 2011

Read to Vote!

Voting for the 2011 Children's Choice Book Awards opened one week ago. There are times that this 4 year old program feels brand new and times when it feels as though it's been around forever. It is the only national awards program for books where the finalists and the winners are selected by children and teens. My CBC team and I created this program and launched it in 2008. That year we received 55,000 votes. Fast forward to Year 4, in which more votes than that were submitted in this first week alone. And why not? It's a great program and it's starting to catch on in a big way. It's very exciting!

My hope is that teachers, librarians and booksellers will incorporate this program into their schedules. After engaging in story time with the young 'uns or books clubs with the older set, I hope they'll encourage kids and teens to vote as they are encouraged to do at where the voting takes place. Teachers, librarians and booksellers can submit bulk votes for their group at the site as well. I caution anyone reading this blog post that when a person submits millions of votes, they are not helping their favorites. Rather, they are depriving their favorites of the single vote that this same person should have submitted. We review the votes regularly and delete votes that are so excessive as to compromise the integrity of the program. We know that no school has 21 billion students so when we see a vote of 21 billion for a finalist, it is deleted immediately.As much as it is time-consuming and frustrating to have to police in this way, it is also gratifying to know that people are this passionate about books and the people who create them.

Since voting began, I have recommended only finalists in this blog and will continue to do so until I cover all 30 books.  Today it's time to round out the Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year Category with Matthew McElligott's Even Monsters Need Haircuts. This category would not be complete without at least one book about monsters. It's easy to see why kids would love this one. Once a month, the barber's son meets monsters at the barber shop at midnight and cuts their hair. I love the illustration where the little boy is braiding Medusa's snakes, with his eyes averted, and I've always been a sucker for Frankenstein.

Voting will remain open through April 29, 2011. Encourage your children's school to get involved and give their students an opportunity to vote for their favorites! Vote at the Children's Book Week website. Winners will be announced during Children's Book Week, May 2-8, 2011.

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