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(ROBERT F.) SIBERT INFORMATIONAL BOOK AWARD
Terms and Criteria

PURPOSE

The Sibert Award honors the most distinguished informational book published in English in the preceding year for its significant contribution to children’s literature.  The award is presented to the author, author/illustrator, co-authors, or author and illustrator named on the title page of that book. Honor Books may be named with recognition again going to the author, author/illustrator, co-authors, or author and illustrator named on the title page of that book. 

TERMS

The Sibert Award is presented annually to the author, author/illustrator, co-authors, or author and illustrator named on the title page of the most distinguished informational book for children published in the United States during the preceding year. Terms include:
  • Poetry and traditional literature (e.g., folktales) are not eligible.  There are no other limitations as to the character of the book providing it is an original work.
  • Honor Books may be named. They are books that are also truly distinguished.
  • The award is restricted to authors, author/illustrator, co-authors, or author and illustrator named on the title page who are citizens or residents of the United States.
  • The award is restricted to original work first published in the United States.
  • The committee is to consider in its deliberations only books eligible for the award as specified in the terms.
  • The award may be given posthumously.

DEFINITIONS

Informational books are defined as those written and illustrated to present, organize, and interpret documentable, factual material.

Significant contribution is gauged by how well the work elucidates, clarifies and enlivens its subject. The committee considers overall accuracy, documentation and organization.

Children's literature is defined as the body of books published for a potential child audience. Such books display respect for children's understanding, abilities, and appreciation. Children range from birth through age fourteen. Books for the entire range are to be considered.

Distinguished is defined as noted for significant achievement; marked by quality, excellence, or eminence; distinctive.

Author may include co-authors or author-illustrators. Illustrator may include persons credited on the title page for visual material.

Original work means that books reprinted or compiled from other sources are not eligible.

First published in the United States means that books originally published in other countries are not eligible.

In English means that the committee considers only books published in English. This requirement DOES NOT limit the use of words or phrases in another language where appropriate in context.

Published in the preceding year means that the book has a publication date in the year under consideration, was available for purchase in that year, and has a copyright date no later than that year. An eligible book may have a copyright date prior to the year under consideration if it was not published until the year under consideration. The intent: that every eligible book be considered, but that no book be considered in more than one year.

Resident is defined as someone who maintains a home in the United States rather than someone who just visits.

The phrase only the books eligible for the award specifies that the committee is to consider only eligible books, not an author's body of work or previous accolades.

CRITERIA

1. In identifying the most distinguished informational book for children from the preceding year, committee members consider important elements and qualities:
   a. Excellent, engaging, and distinctive use of language.
   b. Excellent, engaging, and distinctive visual presentation.
   c. Appropriate organization and documentation.
   d. Clear, accurate, and stimulating presentation of facts, concepts, and ideas.
   e. Visual material and book design.
   f. Appropriate style of presentation for subject and for intended audience.
   g. Supportive features (index, table of contents, maps, timelines, etc).
   h. Respectful and of interest to children.

2. Not every book relies equally on every element. The committee need not find excellence in every element listed above but only in those relevant to the book.

3. The book must be a self-contained entity, not dependent on other media for enjoyment.

4. The Sibert Award is presented to honor distinguished informational books for children. The award is not presented for didactic intent or for popularity.

Adopted by the ALSC Board, January 2000; revised January 2002; January 2005.

submission instructions
The terms and criteria for submitting books for the ALSC Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal.