Center for Children's Literature Blog

Elementary Teachers, Your Students Can Help Choose the Winners of Two International Children’s Book Awards in 2018-2019

Want your students to practice their reasoning, persuasive speaking, and sharpen their visual skills while they participate in the selection of Bank Street’s Center for Children’s Literature’s Annual Best Picture and Best Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) book? Join schools across the United States and around the world in making voting part of your elementary school curriculum.

Irma & James H. Black AwardFirst and Second grade classes may participate in the selection of The Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature (Irma Black Award). The award goes to an outstanding book for young children – a book in which text and illustrations are inseparable, each enhancing and enlarging on the other to produce a singular whole. The Irma Black Award is unusual in that children are the final judges of the winning book. Follow the links for more information about the Irma Black Award and to see a list of 2018 winners.  Classroom registration for 2019


Cook Prize SealThird and Fourth grade classes are invited to jury the Cook Prize 2018. The Cook Prize honors the best STEM book of the year published for children eight to ten. It is the only national children’s choice award honoring a STEM title. Follow the links for more information about the Cook Prize and a list of 2018 winners.  School registration for 2019



Comments from teachers:

The Irma Black Award has been a constant in our library curriculum for the past several years.  Students are always tickled by the announcement that only they (and not we teachers) are permitted to vote. This sense of agency that this “kids’ choice” award brings is so powerful, and perhaps the greatest gift of participation. Over the course of the reading, children practice stating and defending their opinions; learn vocabulary and appreciation for parts of picture books. e.g., artist’s style (cartoony, realistic, moody, etc.) and medium (crayon, ink, paint, watercolor, etc.); fontfull-page spread; borders; gutter; etc.; and learn concepts of voting (privacy, diversity of opinion). Not to mention, they get to know four outstanding picture books really well!

Cheryl Wolf
The Neighborhood School (PS 363)
New York, New York

For More Information:

Teacher showing books to students Teacher leading discussion in classroom Students voting on paper
Four students voting Teacher leading voting discussion

Please share this information with your fellow educators and librarians. Everyone is invited to participate!

Still have questions? Contact Dr. Cynthia Weill at