The Phoenix Award is given by the Children’s Literature Association which is an organization of teachers, scholars, librarians, editors, writers, illustrators, and parents who are “interested in encouraging the serious study of children’s literature. As a result I expected the books I had chosen to be serious. Whether or not I would like them is another matter. Throughout this semester I’ve been constantly talking about how most of the award-winning books I had read were wonderful books. But there is also this idea that serious literature doesn’t exactly mean enjoyable.The award is given to a book of high literary merit and the award is named after “the fabled bird who rose from its ashes with renewed life and beauty. Phoenix books also rise from the ashes of neglect and obscurity and once again touch the imaginations and enrich the lives of those who read them.” This is a pretty lofty sentiment, but one which has always been connected with books of “literary merit.”
As I read through the many winners of the Scholastic Writing Awards, I found myself smiling, laughing, and even crying at the honest writing done by teens across the country. It looks like this year’s winners even include some Iowans, woo!
Here is more about the award from Scholastic’s Website:
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is run by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, Inc. a not-for-profit organization that supports young artists and writers. Each year, the Awards provide the opportunity for more than 250,000 teenagers in grades 7-12 to earn regional and national honors. Graduating high school seniors who submit portfolios of their work have the opportunity to compete for more than $1.5 million in scholarships from colleges and universities across the country. Continue reading
Irma Simonton Black was a writer and editor of children’s books. The award began in 1973by Bank Street College of Education. Each award goes to an outstanding book for young children – a book in which text and illustrations are inseparable, each enhancing and enlarging on the other to produce a singular whole. For this award, children are the final judges of the winning book. But not just children to whom the books are targeted to. A select number of professional adults select 20-25 books which are are sent to Junior High and early High School students. These students then chose the final few books to be sent to children in first to third grade to vote on. The award is given to a picture book for children in the first through third grades that best exemplifies excellence of text and illustration. The website states that “not only…must the older children who are selecting the finalists for the award to enjoy the story, but they must feel that the illustrations support both the mood and the plot of the story as well.
Filed under Awards, Reviews
I recently read a very informative and interesting paper on children’s book awards and award winners by Keith Barker. Barker begins writing his paper on prizes and prizewinners with a series of questions. These questions bring to light some assumptions that many people have about award prizes. Barker firsts asks the question “What importance is attached to [award prizes] by writers, publishers, those selecting the books, and probably most importantly, children themselves” (p 508, Barker)? But really, do children pay attention to award prizes? Are they in any way important to children? What would a child think if they saw a medal on the cover of a book? Would they think of it positively, or negatively? I would assume that some children wouldn’t even pick it up because of the award.
The past few weeks I’ve read some pretty depressing award-winning books written for children. While I say this not to discount the authors who created beautiful stories that deserve any and all recognition coming their way, I wonder how this affects young readers. It also brings up many of the discussion questions for this week, which I hope to explore in a podcast at a later date. Slavery, the Holocaust, and dystopias are the topics taking over my reading list lately. It has left me asking, “Why are award books so serious?” Continue reading
Pink and Say written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco won the The Irma S. and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature award in 1994.
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is given to authors and illustrations that are recognized for their literary and artistic achievements that demonstrate creativity and imagination to engage children in reading. This award is given to books for beginning readers and is named after Dr. Seuss. The award’s website has the following quote from Dr. Seuss:
“Children want the same things we want: to laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and delighted.”
I think this quote is a good transition from my latest blogs. I’ve been thinking about the seriousness of award winning novels. Most of them cover topics that aren’t at all light hearted. I think this time going into this award, I’ve made myself aware of the lightness of the topic. There aren’t any serious issues to be discussed in here. These books are about learning. And how cleverly they disguise learning!