Changes to the Batchelder Award and Call for Submissions

Changes to the Batchelder Award

Last month, the Board of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), voted to change the terms and criteria of the (Mildred L.) Batchelder Award in response to recommendations from the Batchelder Award Evolution Task Force. The terms and criteria (view them here on the ALSC Website) have been adapted to meet the changes in children’s publishing since the establishment of the award in 1966. The purpose of the Batchelder Award, a citation to an American publisher, is to encourage international exchange of quality children’s books by recognizing United States publishers of such books in translation.

Going into effect immediately, the new terms of the award state: “The Mildred L. Batchelder Award shall be made to an American publisher for a children’s book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originating in a country other than the United States and in a language other than English.” Specifically, these terms encompass traditionally translated books (originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States and subsequently published in English the United States) as well as non-traditionally translated books. This includes, but is not limited to, books translated first in other countries, books written originally in another language but previously unpublished, and books originally published in a different format and language; e.g. a selection from an anthology.

Regarding the award criteria, the definition of “substantial” text has been revised to acknowledge that text should be the most prominent aspect of the book. The criteria now states that:  “Primary attention must be directed to the text. ‘Substantial text’ means this is an award for translation and the text is the main consideration for the award. Illustrated books should be considered only if the text is as prominent and important as the illustrations.” Additionally, the award criteria has been amended to include folklore, a genre of literature previously ineligible.

Other changes to the award include modest, but important, modifications to the committee manual which will be revised by the end of the year.  For example, “Language other than English” or “non-English language” will be substituted for the problematic term “foreign language” because the term “foreign” can create otherness or convey exoticism. These minor changes speak to the Board’s charge to the Batchelder Evaluation Task Force to consider how the award aligns with the Core Values of ALSC, especially Diversity and Inclusion. Collectively, the approved changes affirm the prominence of the Batchelder Award, and importance of translating outstanding books for children in today’s global society.

Call for Submissions

The 2019 Batchelder Committee calls on ALSC personal members to submit titles for consideration. Please remember: Only books from the 2018 publishing year are under consideration for the award. Also, please note that publishers, authors, illustrators, or editors may not nominate their own titles.

Please go to to post your suggestion. You will need to have your ALA login & password handy to access the suggestion forms.

The submission deadline is October 15, 2018 for the Batchelder Award.

-Tessa M. Schmidt
Mildred L. Batchelder Award Selection Committee – 2019

This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: IV: Knowledge, Curation, and Management of Materials.

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