Irma Black Award

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the process for choosing the four Irma Black Award finalists?

    From the many children’s books published each year, a group of writers, librarians, and educators choose 16 books that they consider the best candidates for the Irma Black Award. These books are then sent to the 3rd and 4th grade classrooms at the Bank Street School for Children. As part of their picture book evaluation curriculum, we ask these students to look critically at the art and words and whether these books would be relevant to younger children. Over the course of five weeks, the children read and discuss all of the books and vote for the four finalists, which are determined in March of every year.

  • What is the next step after children decide the finalists?

    The four finalist titles are placed in 1st and 2nd grade classrooms or libraries in schools. Any teacher, school librarian, or public librarian who works with first and second graders or children ages 6 to 8 may register to participate. The children in these classrooms read, examine, discuss, and re-read the books over a four-week period, before they select the winning book. Last year, over 10,000 children around the world participated.

  • Where do I get the books for my students to review?

    Sets of the books are available to order through the Bank Street Bookstore by calling 1-800-724-1486 or emailing You can pre-order a complete set of the four titles and will be shipped when available. No tax will be charged for books shipped to schools and libraries. Books are also available from retailers and distributors throughout the country.

  • When are the votes due?

    Votes are due in the third week in April each year. The Irma Black Award will be presented during the award breakfast ceremony at Bank Street College in May.

  • How do I receive the silver and gold seals?

    To receive a set of seals, registered participants may send a stamped self-addressed envelope to:

    Bank Street College of Education Library
    Attn: Irma Black Award
    610 West 112th Street
    New York, NY 10025