Massachusetts Children's Book Award

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After finding that many children lose interest in books after reaching the intermediate grades, Dr. Helen Constant founded the Massachusetts Children's Book Award program in 1975. Designed for Massachusetts schoolchildren in grades 4-6, the program briefly included grades 7-9 from 1978 through 1983.

Today, fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders are given a "master list" of book titles. After reading five of the books, students may vote for their favorite. The list is compiled from nominations of participating teachers, librarians and interested publishers. A selection committee works with the nominations and chooses 25 titles to appear on the master list.

Criteria for the master list include literary quality, genres variety, representation of diverse cultural groups and reader appeal. Originally, only books published in the years immediately before the award were eligible. Between 1983 and 1995, however, older titles became eligible. Now, only books published within five years of the award year are eligible. Titles on the master list are all available in paperback. The author of the winning book receives a plaque to commemorate the award.

The award is sponsored by Salem State University.

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