Celebrating Kids’ Lit: Children’s Choice Voting & A Window Display Contest for Indies

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Voting for the 2013 Children’s Choice Book Awards kicked off on March 19 with the announcement of the finalists in six categories. Designed to give children a voice when it comes to the books being written for them and to recognize the books that will encourage future generations to stay interested in reading, the awards provide kids with the opportunity to vote for their favorite titles through May 3 at bookweekonline.com/voting. The 2012 polls brought in a record-breaking number of votes from more than 900,000 young readers.

The Children’s Book Council (CBC) and Every Child a Reader will announce the winners at the Children’s Choice Book Awards gala in New York City on May 13, during the 94th Annual Children’s Book Week (May 13-19). The gala — the “Academy Awards of children’s literature” — will feature presenters such as Lois Lowry, Henry Winkler, and Brian Selznick.

One award will be given for each age group (kindergarten through second grade, third to fourth grade, fifth to sixth grade, and teens), plus the author of the year and illustrator of the year. The children’s books on the ballot were chosen by vote through the Children’s Choice program run by the International Reading Association and the CBC. Teen book finalists were compiled by Teenreads.com, which uses the input of teen visitors. The author and illustrator of the year finalists are selected by the CBC based on bestseller lists and BookScan reporting.

Booksellers are encouraged to get involved by setting up in-store ballot boxes and linking to the Children’s Choice voting site from their store websites, newsletters, and social media.

New this year is the Children’s Book Week (CBW) window display contest for indie bookstores, sponsored by CBC and the ABC Children’s Group at ABA. Displays must run during the event week, and points will be awarded for how well they adhere to the CBW theme, for uniqueness, and for eye-catching appeal. Bonus points will be awarded for the inclusion of Children’s Choice Book Award finalists as well as the CBW poster, designed by Brian Selznick.

Photos of window displays must be submitted by May 19 to ABA’s Shannon O’Connor. The winner will be announced on May 24. Prizes include a store visit from one of the Children’s Choice Book Award winners, shout-outs in ABA’s Bookselling This Week and CBC’s Update newsletter, and promotion on the Children’s Book Week website and via CBC and ABA social media outlets. Complete details are the Children’s Book Week page for booksellers.

A copy of the Children’s Book Week poster is included in the April Red Box mailing to ABA member stores. Additional promotional materials are accessible via the CBW toolkit, including a printer-ready download of the official CBW bookmark created by Grace Lin, the classic “I Voted” stickers with a CBW twist, and badges, logos, and signatures for social media and e-mail. Voting widgets are also available.