Going back to Cali…

Alright, book awards from California:

1. Commonwealth Book Awards

From their website:

Since 1931, the California Book Awards have honored the exceptional literary merit of California writers and publishers. Each year a select jury considers hundreds of books in search of the very best in literary achievement. Eligible books must be written while the author is a resident of California, and they must be published during the year under consideration.

Awards are presented in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, First Work of Fiction, Poetry, Californiana, Notable Contribution to Publishing, Juvenile Literature and Young Adult Literature.

– See more at: http://www.commonwealthclub.org/node/3032#sthash.xNGpkKez.dpuf

Books may be nominated by authors or publishers. There’s no fee to enter 🙂 and this is their description of the jury:

The Awards Jury is comprised of 12-15 California literary-minded professionals. The specific make-up is subject to change, but we are dedicated to a diverse range of views, backgrounds and literary experience. At The Commonwealth Club of California, we strive to have our Jury represent various cultural and aesthetic backgrounds and have the thorough knowledge of science and history necessary to deliberate the merits of all book entries. – See more at: http://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/special-events/california-book-awards/faq#sthash.MPKEU1S3.dpuf

2. Northern California Book Awards

(Formerly Bay Area Book Reviewers Association/BABRA)


NCBR/NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BOOK REVIEWERS, a volunteer group of book reviewers, book review editors, and others who read passionately and write about reading, have met regularly since 1981 to recommend and celebrate books by presenting annual book awards to northern California authors. [See the 2012 NCBA page for the complete list of the finalists and winners for books published in 2011.]


3.So Cal Independent Booksellers Assoc. Awards

Each year SCIBA awards books in the following categories; fiction, non fiction, mystery, art, architecture & photography, children’s novel and children’s picture book. SCIBA’s award recipients are the best in their category, loved by Southern California booksellers & represent the incredible literary talent in Southern California.

Nominations are now being accepted and must be received by July 15, 2013. SCIBA Bookstore employees vote first to select three finalists in each category and second to select a recipient.


Fiction, Nonfiction, T. Jefferson Mystery Award, children’s novel & children’s picture book:

  • Open to authors and illustrators of all publishers
  • Books must have been published between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013 preferably reflecting the Southern California culture or experience.
  • Author and/or Illustrator must reside within the SCIBA region (geographically from Morro Bay south to Mexican border, east to the Arizona / Nevada borders).
  • Nominations may be made by booksellers, publishers, authors and others in the bookselling industry.

Glenn Goldman Art, Architecture & Photography Award:Glenn had a love for and felt strongly about recognizing talent from all over the world.  Therefore, to honor Glenn, for this category the author / artist does not need to reside within the SCIBA region to be recognized and honored.

  • Open to authors / artists of all publishers
  • Books must have been published between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013
  • Nominations may be made by booksellers, publishers, authors and others in the bookselling industry.

To submit your nominations please click here including the following information:

Title, publisher, ISBN, publisher contact (email & phone number) and category 


4. California Young Reader Medal

What is CYRM?
The California Young Reader Medal (CYRM) program encourages recreational reading of popular literature among the young people of our state. Since its inception in 1974, millions of California children have nominated, read, and voted for the winners of the California Young Reader Medal.

Young people recommend the titles of their favorite books for nomination, or teachers and librarians note repeatedly read or requested titles, and these are submitted to the California Young Reader Medal Committee. Members of the committee read the suggested books, discuss their merits and appeal to children, and then decide upon a well-balanced list of nominees.

To be considered for nomination, a book must be an original work of fiction published within the last four years by a living author. Recommendations for nomination are due each year by April 1 for consideration as a nominee the following year. It is a two-year cycle from the time of nomination by students to the presentation of the California Young Reader medal to the winning authors and illustrators.

Books are nominated for the medal in five categories:

Primary (Grades K-3)
Intermediate (Grades 3-6)
Middle School/Junior High (Grades 6-9)
Young Adult (Grades 9-12)
Picture Books for Older Readers (4th Grade and up)

Students may read and vote for books in any and all categories, but they must read all the books nominated in a category to be eligible to vote. Students read the nominated books from July through March and vote for their favorite. Teachers and librarians introduce the nominees to students, often in exciting and innovative ways. They provide ballots for the students, compile vote totals, and submit results to the CYRM committee. All CYRM ballots submitted must be postmarked by April 1 of each year.


The Lost has been found!

Thanks to a comment, I can update the Appalachian Writer’s Award. In existence since 1983, they had previously been missing on the internet, but now seem to have a spiffy new web-site. 

Per its name, the award focuses on unpublished works focusing on Appalachia. They are sponsored by the Southern Appalachian Writer’s Assoc./ Culture Series. I didn’t find much info about specific criteria other than that, but there it is. If you’re looking for an previous winner to start with, I really liked Wilma Dykeman’s Tall Woman. Happy Reading!

Memorial Day reads

We’re still out of town, so this is a quick post-let:

1. Thank a veteran today & take the time to listen to the old family stories for the millionth time.

2. If you’re a military history buff, check out THIS post I did a while back.

3. For a really interesting perspective on the aftermath of war, check out these authors, and then thank a vet again.

4. Randomly, I always thought of Memorial day as a general day of remembrance, not just for vets (not that I disagree at all) and ALL the graves in the local cemeteries will get spiffed up… is this a regional thing?

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!”

Vacation Reads…(kind of)

As Summer begins, I thought I’d use vacation season to recognize some State-based book awards. In memory of some family vacations I’ll not bore you by describing, we’ll start with FLORIDA. (Yes, there’s more there than beaches & mouse ears).

1. The Florida Book Awards

Its sixth annual competitions now complete, Florida Book Awards announces winners for books published in 2011 in seven categories of competition. “The Florida Book Awards exists to identify and profile the Sunshine State’s best books and their authors,” notes FBA Director Wayne A. Wiegand. “These FBA winners clearly demonstrate the quality and depth of Florida’s increasingly rich literary culture.”

Submissions were read by eight juries of three members each nominated from across the state by cosponsoring organizations. Jurors are authorized to select up to three medalists (including one Gold Winner, one Silver Runner-up, and one Bronze Medalist) in each of the eight categories; jurors are also authorized to make no selections in a given year.

Click on the link for a list of winners. You know how I feel about awards with discretion enough NOT to award just for the sake of awarding. 🙂

2. President’s Book Awards– flbookpub.org  Sadly, the .org website for the Fl Publisher’s association was down, but the link will take you to an EXCELLENT blog entry about this year’s winners. I will try to update this when I can get the .org site to pull up.

3. Children’s Book Award

The Florida Reading Association invites Pre-Kindergarten through Second Grade students to participate in voting for the Florida Children’s Book Award. Nominations for books to be considered for the school year are due by December 15. The books nominated must have been copyrighted within the last five years and be currently in print. A nomination form can be found under the Recommend a Book link.

Once students have read or heard the nominated books, their votes can be tallied and submitted to the Children’s Book Award Chairman though the online form. Ballots must be received no later than April 15. Results will be announced on the FRA web site and in the FRA newsletter. The winning book will be honored at the FRA Conference in October.

Yay! Kids voting. 🙂

4. Florida Historical Society Awards– This well-respected society gives out 18 awards for everything from academic papers to book-length explorations of FL history. One of my favorite professors was a recipient of one of these. (Yay Dr. Revels!) If you’d like to learn more about the incredibly complex part of the world that is Florida, these would be good places to start. Nominations are mailed in, read by a jury and voted on.

Entries are evaluated by independent panels of judges appointed by the Society. Judges will carefully consider each entry based on factors including (but not limited to) quality of scholarship, factual accuracy, clarity of expression, original thinking, significance of topic and overall contribution to knowledge of Florida history. The judges’ decisions are final.


Send all entries to the Florida Historical Society, 435 Brevard Avenue, Cocoa, FL 32922. Entry deadlines for some awards are on Jan. 10, while other awards have a March 1 deadline. Entrants are advised to adhere strictly to deadlines for each award category. The term “submit by…” means entries (or nominations) must be RECEIVED at the Florida Historical Society office by 5 p.m. on the date specified. Entries received later will not be considered. Entries must be clearly marked as to award category.


5. SSYRA Awards– In the world of school & reading, there are some programs out there that push kids to read books at/above their reading level, irregardless of their interest level, and then take a quiz, earn some points and move on. Read HERE for why this leaves me conflicted (her thoughts are more coherent).  Anyway, this is thankfully, not one of those programs:

The Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award Program is a statewide reading motivation program for students in grades 3-8. The program, cosponsored by the School Library Media Services Office of the Department of Education and the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME), began in 1983. The purpose of the SSYRA Program is to encourage students to read independently for personal satisfaction, based on interest rather than reading level.

Sunshine State books are selected for their wide appeal, literary value, varied genres, curriculum connections, and/or multicultural representation. Students are encouraged to read books that are above, on, and below their tested reading level in order to improve their reading fluency

Once the kids have read 3 books off the list, they can then vote for their favorite. 🙂

6. Florida Teens Read– This is a more grown-up version of #5.

Teens in Florida read and Florida media specialists know it! Florida Teens Read is a list of 15 titles that have been chosen by a committee of thirteen media specialists specifically to engage high school students (grades 9 through 12) and reflect their interests as well as represent a variety of genres, formats, reading levels, viewpoints, and ethnic and cultural perspectives.Teens are encouraged to read at least three of the titles on the current list. From April 1 to April 30 each year a link will be available on the FAME web page for students to vote for their favorite book.

Coolness. We have a similar program here, and I always like to see what the kids who actually read 3 books for FUN vote for. 🙂

Value book shopping….

One aspect of book awards is that it’s immediately eye-catching to see that shiny gold sticker, or “award-winning….” plastered across the front. I admit, I have been suckered into picking up a book with those accolades, only to wonder after reading it, “Why?”  IMHO, this makes the book less than a true “value.” (take that with a grain of salt, as I have rarely met a book I didn’t like (Billy Budd, I’m talking to you)). I’ve been pleased to find though, that most of the awards I’ve talked about have been earnest attempts to applaud merit and only a COUPLE have been blatant marketing schemes. 🙂

That said, I was recently stalking the iBook store while at work, and given my non-existent budget, was pondering which purchase to make: the next installment of a series, a “new” book/author, a beloved favorite I don’t actually own, one of the “$3.99 or less” books, a free book….the options were endless. 🙂 I love book shopping.

And then, I found myself narrowing things down by doing quick math to see how much the book was per “page” on the theory that if I can only buy ONE,  by golly it needs to last a while.  (I love long books, especially when I’m at work and can’t raid the bookshelf as soon as I finish.) When I caught myself doing this I laughed. Book purchasing on par with examining the supersize price vs. two smaller packages at the grocery, squinting at the price per item/oz label fine print?!?!?!

So that leads me to my next questions for you:


Discuss at will. I’m off book shopping.

Sci-Fi….again? (Or, how do you get an award named after you?)

So, it’s time for some more geek love (wishing I were at home watching Big Bang, but no I’m at work (shhh…don’t tell), but I would bet Sheldon & Co. have read this guy). 

Tonight’s award is the A. Bertram Chandler Award. Mr. Chandler was a British national who moved to Australia and wrote over 40 Science Fiction titles under various names. He is probably best known for the John Grimes & Rim World series (Serii? Serieses?). In the rest of his life (I won’t say day job, or real job) he was a commander in the Australian Navy and his nautical interests/knowledge show up frequently in his works. He won the Ditmar award for Australian Science Fiction.

Upon his death, the Australian Science Fiction Foundation created an award in his honour, which is a juried prize and may  or may not be awarded every year. Here’s the quote from their website:

In 1991 the Foundation set about establishing a new award for “Outstanding Achievement in Australian Science Fiction”. In recognition of the contribution that science fiction writer A. Bertram Chandler made to Australian Science Fiction, and because of his patronage of the Foundation, the new award (after gaining the approval of Bert’s widow Susan) is called the Chandler. Unlike the Ditmars, this award is decided upon by a jury and, although nominally an annual award presented in conjunction with the National Science Fiction Convention, is not necessarily presented every year.

If you read my most recent post, I totally respect that if there isn’t a clear winner, they just don’t hand out an award for the sake of awarding. 🙂 (No, I’m not a fan of participation trophies).  I also really loved that all you have to do to nominate a book is drop the secretary an email. awesome.

Here is a list of winners.

 And now to my next thought of the day: Lots of the awards I have left to blog about are named after individuals. Some of them, like Mr. Chandler, are authors in their own right. Some have been librarians or publishers. Some are just individuals who loved a certain type of book. Either way, what an amazing legacy to have your name forever tied to an award for something you loved. 

The last category leaves me bemused though: the really rich guy/gal whose family sets the whole thing up, but never really bothers to say WHY. I’m left to wonder if grandpa is rolling in his grave muttering “rubbish” or if he likes the idea. Fortunately though, there aren’t many of those.

 (Enough asides after this, but I love parenthesis. My HS English teachers tried desperately to make me loathe them, but oh the joy! A good appositive phrase is great too with its little matching commas…) 

(Any thoughts out there about why there seem to be a plethora of Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Mystery awards? )