Frequently Asked Questions

Select from the drop-down boxes below to find the answers to some of ALSC's most frequently asked questions! 

Awards/Notables Lists

How should I submit media (books, recordings, videos, software) for ALSC's awards and notable lists?

To submit works for consideration for ALSC awards and notable lists:
Review the terms and criteria for the award on the award's page, then review the submission process there.

Mail one copy of the work to the award committee chair. 

Standards are in place for the committee members to review and share submissions.

Neither the ALSC office nor the committee chair can confirm receipt of submissions. If you would like to confirm receipt of your submission please use a mailing service with delivery confirmation. Submissions that are dropped off in- person to the ALSC office will not be accepted.

The deadline for submitting works is December 31 of the publication year for ALSC awards and children's notables except the Odyssey Award and Notable Recordings which is October 31.

Which Book and Media Awards does ALSC administrate?

The full list of awards, criteria, and past winners are all accessed here

What books are in contention for the upcoming Newbery/Caldecott, etc. Awards?

The discussions and deliberations of ALSC’s Award Committees are confidential. Therefore, these committees do not share information about which titles they are discussing and do not make public the books that are in contention.

The one exception to the above rule is the Notable Children’s Books Committee. Their discussions at conference are open meetings and they announce the list of books that constitute their “discussion list” before each conference. Upcoming discussion lists are posted before each conference on our Web site.  Click here to visit the ALSC Notables site.

When are the Newbery and Caldecott awards announced?

All of ALSC's Awards, including the Newbery and Caldecott, are announced at the ALA Youth Media Awards during a press conference held during the ALA Midwinter Meeting each year. The Midwinter Meeting typically takes place in mid or late January and the press conference always falls on the Monday morning of the Meeting.

When is the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet?

The Newbery Caldecott awards banquet is scheduled annually during the ALA Annual Conference on Sunday evening from approximately 6:00 – 10:00 PM at a hotel.  It is open to all Annual Conference attendees.  Tickets for the banquet may be purchased through the Annual Conference pre-registration system, or on site at the Registration Desk located in the convention center.  There is a physical limit to the banquet room, so tickets are not always available on site.  Also, for those wishing to hear the award speeches and not attend the banquet, they may do so by arriving at the banquet at approximately 8:45 PM.  Chairs are provided at the back of the banquet room.

How are the Newbery and Caldecott Awards chosen? What is the process?

The Newbery and Caldecott Awards are chosen by committees of the Association for Library Service to Children. During the year, each committee member reads as many of the eligible books as possible, including all books suggested by other committee members and by other members of ALSC. Twice in the autumn, committee members cast preliminary ballots to begin to focus attention on the books likely to be of most interest in the selection discussions. No eligible book that has been suggested before the midwinter selection meetings is excluded from consideration, even if it was not nominated on a preliminary ballot.

During the selection meetings, the committee discusses all nominated and suggested books before beginning balloting. Each committee member votes for three books, with four points assigned to first choice, three points to second choice, and two points to third choice. To win, a book must receive at least eight first place choices and at least eight points more than any other book. Once a winner is chosen, the committee decides whether to name honor books and how many.

Other ALSC Book and Media Awards are chosen using a similar process, though with different award criteria and committee composition. ALSC Staff are not involved with the selection of award-winning books, nor are they present for the confidential deliberations.

Can I listen to the Newbery/Caldecott Award speeches?

The Newbery, Caldecott, Legacy Banquet is held in conjunction with the ALA Annual Meeting each year. At this special event medal winning authors and illustrators are honored and make an acceptance speech for their winning titles. Recordings of the Newbery and Caldecott acceptance speeches given from 1977 to present are available for download using the links on the Newbery, Caldecott, Legacy Recordings page. You will find links for any speech where a recording was created. The Children's Literature Legacy Award acceptance speech is also included for years in which that award is given. Please note: 2018 is the first year of the CLLA speech.  2017-1989 were recorded as Wilder acceptance speeches along with the Newbery and Caldecott speeches. Wilder speeches prior to 1989 are not available as taped recordings. The recordings are housed in ALA's institutional repository with all other past speeches.

Where can I get a paper copy of the Newbery/Caldecott Award speeches?

The Newbery and Caldecott speeches are published each year in the Summer/Fall issue of Children and Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children and in the July/August issue of The Horn Book Magazine. Check your local library for copies of these publications.

How can someone participate on the Newbery and Caldecott awards committee?

Newbery and Caldecott Award Selection Committee members must be members of the American Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children. Each Newbery and Caldecott committee is made up of fifteen members. ALSC members elect eight members to each committee on the ALA spring ballot. The ALSC President appoints the chair and six members to each Newbery and Caldecott committee. 

How can I purchase award/notable seals?

Foil seals depicting the ALA/ALSC Newbery, Caldecott, Sibert, Belpré, and Children’s Notable Media medals are available in packages of 24 seals (gold or silver) through the ALA Store. For more information on the seals,  visit the ALA Store. Seals are also available in bulk; they are pressure sensitive, packaged 1,000 to a roll, and sold only in multiple units of one thousand (1,000).  For more information on bulk seal orders, visit the ALA seals sales and permissions page.

Where can I get a poster that has all of the Newbery or Caldecott awards listed?

ALSC does not offer a poster with all of the Newbery or Caldecott award winners listed.  Baker & Taylor has generously produced posters of this kind. You may contact directly for more information. The ALA online store does offer posters  that feature the awards click here to order posters featuring the awards in general.

Book Lists

Do you have a list of recommended books for children?

ALSC offers many different lists of recommended books for children. Each year ALSC committees choose deserving books for the Newbery, Caldecott, Batchelder, Belpré, Geisel, and Sibert Awards, along with a list of Notable Children’s Books. Current and past winners for each of these awards can be found on  ALSC's Awards Web pages (use the links in the left-hand navigation menu to find past winner lists for each individual award) and  Notable Children's Book Web pages.

To find other ALSC recommended book lists based on specific themes or topics,  visit the Recommended Book Lists page of our website

What do you mean when you list books as "younger" "middle" and "older" readers?

According to the ALSC Notable Children’s Books Committee manual, these categories loosely represent the following:
Younger Readers – Preschool-grade 2 (age 7), including easy-to-read books
Middle Readers – Grades 3-5, ages 8-10
Older Readers – Grades 6-8, ages 11-14
All Ages – Has appeal and interest for children in all of the above ages ranges

Libraries/Literacy Awareness Campaigns

Does ALSC offer any support to me in promoting my library locally?

Yes!  Visit Kids! @ your library pages for free, fun resources.

Also, please click here to find out more about Children's Day/Book Day (El día de los niños/El día de los libros).

When is National Library Week?

National Library Week is held in April each year. To learn more,  visit ALA's National Library Week Web site.

When is Library Card Sign up Month?

September is Library Card Sign up Month. To learn more,  visit ALA's fact sheet on Library Card Sign Up Month.

When is National KidsDay?

National KidsDay (NKD) is annually scheduled for the first Sunday in August.  It is sponsored by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  ALSC works with its members to promote the day by distributing an NKD Making Memories Guide to those members willing to distribute the Guide in their library.  Also, several members conduct an NKD celebration in their libraries.  The list of participating members varies each year, so it is best to check the ALSC Web site for a current list of libraries.

When is Children's Book Week?

Children’s Book Week is held annually in May and is sponsored by the Children’s Book Council (CBC). Prior to 2008, it has traditionally been held in November. To learn more,  visit the CBC website.

What is National "Drop Everything and Read" Day?

April 12 has been proclaimed  National "Drop Everything and Read" (D.E.A.R.) Day. It is an initiative to encourage families to designate at least 30 minutes to put aside all distractions and enjoy books together…to make it a special time to "drop everything and read." The birthday of Newbery Award-winning author Beverly Clearly is the official national D.E.A.R. day, and Cleary's most popular book character, Ramona Quimby, is the program's official spokesperson.

What is Children's Day/Book Day (El día de los niños/El día de los libros)?

Children's Day/Book Day (Día) brings together children, books, languages, and cultures. Día's vision is to spread "bookjoy" every day by linking children from all languages and cultures with books, and celebrating together across the country on April 30. The Día mission is for every community to celebrate El día de los niños/El día de los libros. Its goals are to honor children, their languages and culture; to encourage reading and literacy; and to promote library collections and programs that reflect our plurality. For more information, visit the Dia website

How can I apply for ALSC Scholarships? 

There are two ALSC scholarships for which you may apply:  the Bound to Stay Bound Books scholarship ($8,000 for each of four awards), and the Frederic G. Melcher scholarship ($8,000 for each of two awards).  These scholarships are for individuals pursuing a master’s or advanced degree in children’s librarianship.  Each year, the application is made available around October 1 at  ALA's Scholarship Web site. The application is online only, with a March 1 deadline for submission, no exceptions.  For further information,  visit ALSC's Scholarships Web page.   

Other FAQs

I'm interested in becoming a children's librarian. Where can I find more information?

For more information on becoming a librarian who serves youth,  visit ALA's Human Resource Development and Recruitment Office Web site.

When is the next ALA conference?

 Future ALA Annual Conference and Midwinter Meeting dates are available on the ALA website under "Conferences and Events."

I'm doing a research project and need information about ALA and/or ALSC. Who should I contact?

ALSC is not a research library. The best (and most efficient!) way of obtaining this type of information is to contact the ALA Library or ALA archives.

When are the ALA elections held?

The election polls open in mid-March and close around the third week in April. Election results are announced the first week in May. For more ALA election information, visit ALA's Election website.

How can I order a READ poster?

READ posters are available through the ALA Store. For more information,  visit the ALA Store.

Are there any other awards for youth media I should know about?

Absolutely! Here are some other ALA awards that celebrate books for children and teens.

Questions about the Content in Award-Winning Books

Why did a certain book receive an award over another?

It's often pointed out that decision-making by a committee is challenging and that on any particular day, a different group might make some other choice, and that even the same group on another day might make a different choice. Though our awards represent a mark of distinction and exemplify the qualities found in the award’s criteria, they are not the only way to choose quality books for children. Just because a book you enjoy does not receive an award, does not mean it isn’t great!

I do not think a certain award-winning book is appropriate for children. How did it win?

Not every book is appropriate for every child, and we respect and encourage parents, caregivers, teachers, and librarians who take care when selecting books for children to read. While some may object to certain books, the committee ultimately found that the title met the criteria required to receive an award.

Does every Newbery winner look like a traditional chapter book?

No. The Newbery committee’s charge is to consider the most distinguished books for children, illustrated or not. In addition, the committee considers works published for a wide age range of young people, from birth to age 14. Recent examples of picture books receiving a Newbery citation include The Undefeated, a 2020 Honor illustrated poem about Black life in the USA, and 2016 Medal Last Stop on Market Street about a bus ride, the questions it raises, and a young boy and his grandmother.

Does every Caldecott winner look like a traditional picture book?

No. The Caldecott committee’s charge is to consider the best illustrated book for children in which there is a clear, collective story-line that runs through the book’s pictures. In addition, the committee considers works published for a wide age range of young people, from birth to age14. Recent examples of Caldecott winners for older children include Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the 2008 Caldecott Medal winner, and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer, a 2015 Honor Book about a girl entering adolescence.

Is every award winner a good choice for my child?

Parents and caregivers have the best insight into what books are appropriate choices for their children. Because ALSC Award-winning titles represent titles intended for a wide age range, we suggest that you consult your local librarian to help guide you. Not every winner will be the right choice for every child! Your librarian is trained to help you find age-appropriate books to fit your child’s interests. And, if you’re looking for professional reviews of the award-winners, your librarian can provide you with those, too.

Are some of those professional reviews available online?

Yes. You can find many award-winners on the web page for Booklist magazine, the review journal of the American Library Association. This is one of the primary resources that librarians use to guide them as they recommend and purchase books for the young readers in their communities. Other journals include Kirkus, The Horn Book, and School Library Journal.