Vacation Reads Part Deux- the Old Line State (even the nickname sounds literary)

As you read this, the Bookmobile (aka my van- yes, I’m one of THOSE moms), is speeding along the interstate on the way to visit family in Maryland. In honor of this extravaganza of travel (9+ hours in a van w/ a toddler and a dog), here are some Maryland book awards:

1. The Black Eyed Susan Award (named for the state flower FYI) is run through the School Media Centers, and a list of nominees is circulated to the schools who order the books, students then read and vote. A favorite method of mine. 🙂 From their website:

The Black-Eyed Susan Book Award is a children’s choice award for the state of Maryland. Each year since 1992, the Black-Eyed Susan Book Award has been given to authors and/or illustrators of outstanding books chosen for the award by Maryland students. The award seeks to promote literacy and lifelong reading habits by encouraging students to read quality, contemporary literature.

Reading committees of school and public librarians, and other interested members of the Maryland Association of School Librarians (MASL), meet to determine which books will be nominated and placed on student reading lists. There are four different reading lists: Picture Books, books for students in Grades 4-6, books for students in Grades 6-9, and books for High School students. The nominated books are expected to be outstanding books that broaden the human experience and provide students with new insights into their own lives. Books may be suggested for consideration by students, teachers, parents, or other interested readers.Susans

Following are some of the criteria which are used in determining the nominated books:

  • Books may be fiction or nonfiction.
  • Books must have a copyright date of the current year or one of the preceding three years and be readily available.
  • Each title selected will have received positive reviews from appropriate professional journals.
  • Books must have been read, discussed, and voted upon by the appropriate Black-Eyed Susan reading committee before being placed on the appropriate list.

Students who vote for the winning titles must have followed the “Guidelines for School Participation” before voting. Students may cast one vote for the book they consider to be the most outstanding book in each of the categories. All votes from schools across the state of Maryland are submitted to the Black-Eyed Susan Book Award committee to be tallied in order to determine the winners. The winning authors and/or illustrators receive an award engraved with the book title, the year, and the Black-Eyed Susan Book Award logo. Authors, illustrators, and publishers recognize the Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award as an honor bestowed by Maryland student readers.

2. There are the following book festivals in the only state founded as a primarily Catholic colony:

Book Festivals
Annapolis Book Festival
Baltimore Book Festival
Bethesda Literary Festival
Capital BookFest
Frederick County Bookfest
International Day of the Book Festival in Kensington
National Book Festival

3. I’ve already posted about the F. Scott Fitzgerald award, but it’s in MD too.

4. The Maryland Library Association hosts the Blue Crab Young Reader Award.

The Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award was created in 2004 in an attempt to stimulate interest in books for the beginning reader and the emergent independent reader. At that time, there were few books produced in this niche, and it was hoped that an award that could garner national attention would encourage authors, illustrators and publishers to produce better quality books in this niche.

Since the inception of this committee for the Maryland Library Association (MLA), other organizations have begun to offer beginning reader awards as well. For example, the American Library Association (ALA) established the Geisel award in 2004 in response to this need in children’s publishing.


  • Identify and promote the best fiction and nonfiction books published at the K-2nd grade reading level (early readers) and at the 2nd-4th grade reading level (transitional readers), both for children reading at grade level and for reluctant older readers.
  • Provide teachers, librarians, and caregivers with a resource list of excellent books for beginning readers.
  • Encourage publishers, authors, and illustrators to create high quality books for beginning readers.

Each year, 1 (one) winning book and up to 3 (three) honor books will be selected to receive an award in each of the following categories:

  • Beginning Reader Fiction
  • Beginning Reader Nonfiction
  • Transitional Fiction
  • Transitional Nonfiction

About the Committee

The committee is made up of at least 8 members and a Chair. The Chair is selected by the CSD Steering Committee each year at its January meeting. The members of the committee are chosen so that a variety of experiences and skills sets are represented and so that the geographical diversity within the state is reflected. The desired makeup is:

  • 1-2 Maryland Association of School Libraries (MASL) members
  • At least 1 children’s materials selector
  • Remaining spots to be filled by MLA public library children’s staff members

5. The NCSS (headquartered in MD)  presents the Carter G Woodson award for social studies themed books for kids, using the following criteria:

Generally, nominated books are evaluated for five key traits:

  • Respect for ethnic and racial differences and the worth and importance of individual(s)/group(s) presented.
  • Focus on individuals and issues that provide insight into the experiences of racial and ethnic groups.
  • Focus on the interactions among racial/ethnic groups.
  • Avoids portraying the group(s) as “problem oriented”; presentation of positive, balanced with negative.
  • Avoids patronizing, distorting, and stereotyping in text and illustrations.

Eligibility Criteria:
Books nominated for the Carter G. Woodson Book Award should deal with the experience of one or more racial/ethnic minority groups in the United States. To be
eligible, the book must meet the following criteria:

  • Accurately reflect the perspectives, cultures, and values of the particular ethnic group or groups.
  • Be informational or nonfiction. However, it should be primarily a trade or supplementary book as opposed to a book that is primarily a text book.
  • Be written for children or young people (standard terms with specific meaning used by librarians and the American Library Association).
  • Be well written and reflect originality in presentation and theme.
  • The setting of the book must be in the United States of America.
  • Have been published in the year preceding the year in which the award is presented.
  • Be published in the United States, but the author of the book need not be a United States citizen.

6. For SEVERAL more contests, poetry awards, literary organizations, etc., the Maryland Humanities council has an EXCELLENT web site for Literary Resources. Too cool. What else would you expect from the state whose official sport is jousting?

7. Another award from the MD Library assoc. honors Maryland Authors:

The Maryland Library Association established the Maryland Author Award in 1996 to honor Maryland authors. Each year a committee of MLA members grants the award in one of four rotating genres: adult fiction, youth literature, poetry and non-fiction. The winning author receives the award at the MLA annual conference and speaks at a conference meal function. The MLA also distributes to conference attendees a brochure highlighting the author and other notable Maryland authors. The conference is the largest gathering of librarians in the state and an ideal venue for increasing awareness of Maryland literature and publishing.

8.  These authors/ journalists/ word-folks  are from Maryland:

And lastly, THIS blog entry has an awesome list of books by Marylanders.

Happy Travels! And for my DH who loves his O’s & loves me enough to leave his hometown, “O’s, ‘Strohs, & Natty Bo’s!”


Are you out there? Hello? Anyone? (Thanks for reading! )

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