(May Hill) Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award

 Photo of Dr. Debbie Reese
2019 Arbuthot Lecture with Dr. Debbie Reese


Neil Gaiman2020 Arbuthnot Lecture with Neil Gaiman

2020 Lecture host site application



2021 Arbuthnot Lecture

We welcome member input on the 2021 Arbuthnot Lecturer. Members may submit nominations for the 2021 lecturer through the 2021 Arbuthnot Lecture Nomination Form.  The lecturer may be related to the field in any area: author, illustrator, editor, publisher, professor of children's literature, reviewer, art director, etc. The lecturer need not be a resident or citizen of the United States. The Arbuthnot committee will evaluate each nominee based on the impact of the candidate’s work on the world of children’s literature, the opportunity to make an additional contribution to the field through the lectureship, and how the lecture honors someone who has played a significant role in the field of children’s literature.
2021 Arbuthnot Lecture Nomination Form

The May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture is an annual event featuring an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature, of any country, who shall prepare a paper considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children’s literature.  This paper is delivered as a lecture each April, and is subsequently published in Children and Libraries, the journal of ALSC.

Once the name is made public, institutions wishing to host the lecture may apply.  A library school, department of education in a college or university, or a public library system may be considered.

photo of may hill arbuthnotMay Hill Arbuthnot (1884-1969) was born in Mason City, IA, and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1922, receiving her master's degree in 1924 from Columbia University. Along with educator William Scott Gray, she created and wrote the Curriculum Foundation Readers—better known as the "Dick and Jane" series—for children, published by Scott, Foresman and Company (now Pearson Scott Foresman).

Her greatest contribution to children's literature, however, was her authorship of Children and Books, the first edition of which was published in 1947. In 1927, she joined the faculty of Case Western Reserve University, and there she met and married Charles Arbuthnot, an economics professor. She also served as editor of both Childhood Education and Elementary English. Her other works include The Arbuthnot Anthology of Children's Literature and Children's Books Too Good to Miss

To link Arbuthnot's name with an oratory award makes perfect sense. When accepting the award in 1969, she recalled "that long stretch of years when I was dashing from one end of the country to the other, bringing children and books together by way of the spoken word."  She also affirmed, "I am a strong believer in the efficacy of direct speech.... a forthright vigorous lecture can set fire to a piece of literature that had failed to come to life from the printed page." She was thrilled at the prospect of this award providing a forum for "new voices speaking with new insight and new emphasis in the field of children's lectures." (Quote from The Arbuthnot Lectures, 1970-79, ALA/ALSC, 1980.)

Once the lecturer is announced, at the ALA Midwinter Meeting,  institutions wishing to host the lecture may apply. A library school, department of education in college or university, or a children's library system may be considered. This paper is delivered as a lecture each April or May, and is subsequently published in Children & Libraries, the journal of the Association for Library Service to Children. ALSC established the lecture series in 1969 with sponsorship from Scott, Foresman and Company. The lectureship is now funded by the ALSC May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Endowment, and administered by ALSC.

Arbuthnot Award Manual (Word)
Arbuthnot Award Manual (PDF)
Policy for Service on the Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Committee (Word)

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