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Spring is in the air — and that means more than just daffodils. It’s time to read and cast votes for favorite books.

The Children’s Book Council (CBC), a venerable trade association of publishers, counts down the days (hours, minutes, and seconds, too) to the national celebration of Children’s Book Week (opens in a new window).

For children and adults alike, the Children’s Choice Book Awards are a chance to cast a ballot for favorite books and book creators. It’s always fun to see what makes the list in each category: kindergarten through grade 2; grades 3 to 4; grades 5 to 6; and even a young adult category.

Finalists for the awards are books that have received the highest number of votes in the International Reading Association (IRA) and the CBC Children’s Choices (opens in a new window) program.

It’s a fabulous opportunity to help children develop critical thinking skills and the language to express it. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of framing questions that require more than a one word response. (In talking about two of the books in the K–2 category, questions might start like this: What is it about Pete the Cat (opens in a new window) that makes him special? Why do you think Duckling (opens in a new window) (and not Pigeon) gets a cookie? How do Pete (and Pigeon) behave?

Likes and dislikes in books are a matter of taste but also a matter of exposure. In order to have an opinion, children need to view lots of different styles and types of material. The ability of children to think critically and express their thoughts often just takes practice. And books are a fine way to start practicing these life skills.

So librarians, teachers, and parents — encourage the kids you live and work with to read the books (they should be available in schools and libraries), think about them — and vote. The behavior can be modeled for children as there’s even a place for you to cast your own ballot!

About the Author

Reading Rockets’ children’s literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids’ books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Publication Date
March 25, 2013