Every state probably has at least one yearly list of the best current children's books. But it is sometimes difficult to find a book by a state author or about the state on these lists.
Here are the common procedures for a book to receive a state award. The books are either nominated by the state's children, or by a committee, following the criteria set by the reading committee. In most cases, a list of the nominated books is circulated, children read the books or are read to, and eventually children throughout the state vote on their favorites. The lists are often broken down into primary, middle, and upper grades.
It's interesting to read the names of the awards which often hearken back to what is unique about that state. For instance, Kentucky Bluegrass Award; Mississippi: The Magnolia Book Award; Michigan: The Mitten Award. ( I never knew the significance of the mitten to Michigan until our daughter-in-law showed us various places in Michigan by holding her hand up and pointing to them. The state does resemble the shape of a mitten!)Missouri: Show Me Readers Award; New Jersey: The Garden State Award; Texas Bluebonnet Award; Utah: Beehive Award.
Wyoming has three awards divided by grade levels. Buckaroo Award, K-3; Indian Paintbrush Award 4-6; Soaring Eagle 7-12.
New Mexico's Award is called the Land of Enchantment Award.My idea for state award committees to consider is to share lists of children's books about that state, even if they are not current. These books wouldn't necessarily be voted on, but the teachers and students would at least have a list of the books which could enhance the study of their particular state.
Carol Hurst, from the Children's Literature site, has a list of good children's books for each state.
She also shared an idea where children could add additional titles about states and list information they have learned about the them. Her other ideas along this theme of location are: " Would any of those facts be true of the entire state or just one part of it? How does it differ from your own location in the state? Also, while some of these stories are set in the present day, others represent a historic view. Putting the location titles in their proper place in history can present another challenge to readers."Here is a blog that posted book covers representing YA books from various states. http://www.epicreads.com/blog/the-united-states-of-ya/
Does your class participate in your state's award book program? What books about your state do you think should be included?