May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award

About the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award
The May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lectureship is a unique collaboration between several groups of people—the committee, the chosen Lecturer, the ALSC staff and Board of Directors, and the host site coordinators. The result is an exciting opportunity to celebrate and add to the knowledge and scholarship in the field of children’s literature. Publication in Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children ensures the lecture will be a lasting contribution that is available to a broad audience. 

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.

May 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.)

Administered by:

Association for Library Service to Children logo
Neil GaimanNeil Gaiman 2019 - Winner
Debbie ReeseDebbie Reese2018 - Winner
Naomi Shihab NyeNaomi Shihab Nye2017 - Winner
Pat MoraPat Mora2015 - Winner
Andrea Davis PinkneyAndrea Davis Pinkney2014 - Presenter
Michael Morpurgo2013 - Presenter
Peter Sis2012 - Presenter
Lois Lowry2011 - Presenter
Kathleen T. Horning2010 - Presenter
Walter Dean Myers2009 - Presenter
David Macaulay2008 - Presenter
Kevin Henkes2007 - Presenter
Russell Freedman2006 - Presenter
Richard Jackson2005 - Presenter
Ursula K. Le Guin2004 - Presenter
Maurice Sendak2003 - Presenter
Philip Pullman2002 - Presenter
Susan Cooper2001 - Presenter
Hazel Rochman2000 - Presenter
Lillian N. Gerhardt1999 - Presenter
Susan Hirschman1998 - Presenter
Katherine Paterson1997 - Presenter
Zena Sutherland1996 - Presenter
Leonard Everett Fisher1995 - Presenter
Margaret K. McElderry1994 - Presenter
Virginia Hamilton1993 - Presenter
Charlotte S. Huck1992 - Presenter
Iona Opie1991 - Presenter
Ashley Bryan1990 - Presenter
Margaret Mahy1989 - Presenter
John Bierhorst1988 - Presenter
James Houston1987 - Presenter
Aidan Chambers1986 - Presenter
Patricia Wrightson1985 - Presenter
Fritz Eichenberg1984 - Presenter
Leland B. Jacobs1983 - Presenter
Dorothy Butler1982 - Presenter
Virginia Betancourt1981 - Presenter
Horst Kunze1980 - Presenter
Sheila Egoff1979 - Presenter
Uriel Ofek1978 - Presenter
Shigeo Watanabe1977 - Presenter
Jean Fritz1976 - Presenter
Mollie Hunter1975 - Presenter
Ivan Southall1974 - Presenter
Bettina Hürlimann1973 - Presenter
Mary Ørvig1972 - Presenter
John Rowe Townsend1971 - Presenter
Margery Fisher1970 - Presenter