The Children's Literature Web Guide

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.

Participating in the Program


Suggested titles for the YRCA ballot are made by teachers, librarians, students, and other interested persons. The PNLA Manual recommends that titles nominated be those of universal appeal. Nominations are limited to those titles published three years prior to the voting year. They should include, but are not limited to, books which are popular with children. Librarians and teachers who read quantities of children's books should nominate "sleepers" which spark the imagination and appeal to the heart. Keep in mind the target reading audience for the two divisions of the award (grades 4-8 and grades 9-12), their reading interests, abilities, levels of maturity, and their general developmental stages in order to ensure an appropriate range of titles.

As more interested people participate in the nominating process, the award becomes more representative of the numerous fine, popular children's books. Some librarians and teachers keep a running list of potential nominees throughout the year. Record your potential nominees for the next ballot as you read books with a publication date three years prior to the voting year.

Books may be nominated by sending title(s) to your state or provincial representative or to the current YRCA Chair. Nominations must be received by February 1st and have a U.S. or Canadian copyright date three years prior to the voting year. (For example books nominated for the 1999 list must have a 1996 copyright and are due to the chairperson by February 1, 1998.) The YRCA Committee Chairperson makes the final selection of nominees based on how often titles are nominated while balancing the list in light of genre variety, appeal to both boys and girls, reading levels, and interest levels.


Children and young adults living in the region encompassed by PNLA (Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington), vote during the first two weeks of March and choose their favorite book from the list of nominated titles. Voting can take place at both school and public libraries. In order to be eligible to vote, children must have read (or have had read to them) at least two of the nominated books in their division. Students reading two or more titles in both the 4th-8th grade division and the 9th-12th grade senior division may vote in both divisions. PNLA encourages individual students to read as many books as possible before voting.

Participating libraries should send tallied votes for all nominated titles to GSLIS-FM 30, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195 by March 20th of the voting year. (PLEASE do not send the individual ballots, just the total votes for all nominated titles!) Include a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your voting results in order to receive next year's ballot and notification of the new winner. The award itself is presented to the winning authors at the annual PNLA Conference. Since 1987 the winners have received a medal, struck in Idaho silver.

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Saturday, April 12, 1997
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