Awards & Scholarships

Five Ways to Get Kids Excited About Award Winners

It is the week of the Youth Media Awards, one of the most exciting times of the year for children’s librarians. I actually woke up before my alarm on Monday morning and could not stop talking about the award winners this week.

However, our display of past YMA Award titles has barely been touched. There is a high-holds list for the award winners, but it is mainly children’s librarians, educators and other adults.

How do we get kids excited about the awards that are meant for them? Here are some ideas.

1. Book talk past award winners

We know about old award winners, we put the stickers on the book, but the kids still need someone to talk it up to them. Sell The Girl Who Drank the Moon for the reasons it won the Newbery: the lyrical prose, magical elements and beautiful description. The quality of the story matters more to them than the sticker on the front of the book.

2. Hold Youth Media Award Watch parties

If you are excited, then the children have more of a reason to be excited. It is highly unlikely that they will watch the live webcast on their own, but if there is something special with themed snacks or other fun elements, there will be interest. Shout out to the YMA pajama party where there are even categories for things like best pajamas, best snack, best reaction shot and best group shot.

3. Host a mock election at your library

This is a trend that is becoming more and more popular and truly encourages children and their caregivers to read the best titles of the year. It is a program that could be held through a book club, passive voting or as a bracket-style challenge. This can appeal to a large variety of age groups with the variety of awards as showcased through this year’s Mock Election Results.

4. Engage with the winners

The top authors and illustrators are people who are truly talented at their jobs and love what they do. Even though their speaking requests may skyrocket after they win the award, there are still ways to engage with these winners. Check out their websites and look for any fun interactive activities, read their award speeches to the kids, or have the children write a letter to the creators of their favorite books.

5. Incorporate award winners in summer programming

Find ways that award winners could fit into programming during a time kids are ready to read. A special prize could be added to summer reading for award books read, there could be summer-specific book clubs, or activities could relate to characters from the winning books.

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