Illinois Readers’ Choice Awards

Carol Woeckel and Nancy Sauer are currently serving on evaluation committees for developing lists of nominees for 2011 Illinois children’s book awards.  Carol is a member of the group dedicated to the new Bluestem Award for grades 3 – 5.
The Bluestem Award is for Illinois readers in Grades 3-5 and is a new award designed for students who are ready for longer titles than found on the Monarch list (another Illinois reading award), but not quite ready for some of the Rebecca Caudill titles.  Named in honor of Big Bluestem which is the state prairie grass, the award list will include classics, current titles as well as books that have appeared on the Monarch and Rebecca Caudill list.  This is the first year for the award and Carol is serving on the first committee.  Carol was given a list of 100 titles with 10 of those titles assigned as reading.  Points were totaled on these books with the 50 highest books assigned to everyone on the committee.  The committee will meet as a whole on January 30 to decide the 20 titles that will appear on the first reading list.  In addition to reading the 50 titles, Carol also has to prepare a 2 minute or less presentation about an assigned book from the list.  Children who read or hear at least four of the titles will be able to vote for the winning title which will be announced during National Library Week in April 2011.
Nancy is in her second year as an evaluator for the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award.  Named for the Illinois writer and educator who lived from 1899 to 1985, the award is for recent titles for grades 4 – 8.  Nancy has a list of 50 titles to read.  Twenty books from the list will be chosen as nominees at the meeting that will take place January 30 in East Moline, Illinois.  Children reading a certain number of titles from the list will be eligible to vote for their favorites.
The successful books will be announced a few days after the meetings.  Carol and Nancy are sworn to secrecy until then!  -Contributed by Carol and Nancy

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