The Children's Literature Web Guide

The Young Reader's Choice Award

An excerpt from the Handbook for the Young Reader's Choice Nominees, by Bette D. Ammon and Gale W. Sherman (Pocatello, Idaho: Beyond Basals). Reprinted with permission.


The Young Reader's Choice Award (YRCA), sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Library Association (PNLA), is the oldest children's choice award in the United States and Canada and the only the regional award chosen by children of two countries. The suggestion for the award originated with a Seattle bookseller, Harry Hartman in 1938. Hartman wrote, "For quite a number of years we have wished that each year some recognition would be given to a book for children which your readers endorse as being an excellent story. The reading habit is best developed through reading those books which are most entertaining and instructive from the young person's point of view."


The annual Young Reader's Choice Award was officially established in 1940 to promote reading for enjoyment. There are many prizes for children's books which are selected and awarded by adults, including the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott awards. Although these awards establish high standards of quality in children's literature, they may not necessarily reflect popularity among children. Children's choice awards are important because they represent books which are popular with large numbers of children and usually reflect quality children's literature.

The YRCA nominations list is a simple, model reading program which gives readers an opportunity to flex their reading muscles and, at the same time, develop standards of taste. By experiencing quality literature, children instinctively learn to select and reject material. The YRCA voting process requires students to make decisions in regard to literature. Participating in a children's choice award is an easy, interesting, and fun way to involve student readers.

Back to the Young Reader's Choice Award List
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Thursday, March 6, 1997
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