Arkansas Teen Book Award Committee

Arkansas Teen Book Award Committee
Posted on 01/11/2019
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HSWCHS Librarian Mrs. Shipman has been selected to serve on the Arkansas Teen Book Award Steering Committee by the Arkansas State Library. An honor for Mrs. Shipman and the HSSD, this four-year position allows her to contribute input and call attention to leading books for 7th-12th grade students across the state. She will also gain valuable insight about books, authors, opportunities, and more for the HSWCHS Library offerings and book collection. Begun in 2009, the Arkansas Teen Book Award is a cooperative effort between public and school libraries across the state that encourages reading by all students and targets young adult grade readers.

“For many years, good children’s literature had a strong acknowledgement system in place through the Charlie May Simon and Arkansas Diamond Awards, but young adult literature was left out. The Arkansas Teen Book Award allows librarians to strictly focus on genres for 12-19 year olds,” said Mrs. Shipman. “It is a passion of mine to explore the growing number of authors dedicated to writing material for our teens that inspire them. Serving on the Arkansas Teen Book Award Steering Committee will allow me to apply that interest in a way that leads our school district and state in a great direction for growth in teen reading.”

Arkansas Teen Book Awards are entirely based on the opinions of students. To determine which books make it to the final list of nominations, the Steering Committee and dozens of volunteer readers working with teens across Arkansas read nominated titles. Anyone can become a volunteer reader, learn more about how, here.  The steering committee is composed of seven members including: three public librarians, three school librarians, and one representative of the Arkansas State Library. Books nominated are voted on by teachers and librarians to narrow the final nominees to a manageable reading list. For books to be eligible for inclusion in the awards, they must meet three criteria as follows:  1) The book must be a first in a series; 2) Copyright date will be determined by the first date of publication in hardback unless the title was published in paperback. Currently, titles are being accepted with a 2018 or 2019 copyright; 3) Translations go by the U.S. copyright date.

A reading list of the final nominees, which includes 5-6 books for the 7th-9th grade category and 5-6 books for the 10th - 12th grade category, are then included in a reading list that is distributed across Arkansas. The final list is provided alongside a full packet of promotion materials. Teens have from September - the next August to read books and vote. Students may vote in one or both award levels. Voting is completed online, here.  

“The entire purpose of the reading list and the awards program in general is to make reading engaging and fun for young adults. Feeling part of something, like they do in somewhat of a contest where their opinions matter, makes all the difference in motivating many teens to read. They feel part of something,” said Mrs. Shipman.

Winners of the Arkansas Teen Book Awards are announced late each Fall. Authors are brought in to present in person or via Skype during one of the two main library conferences in the state - the Arkansas Library Association Conference, or the Arkansas Instructional Media Conference.  Find a list of all previous winners, here.

It is Mrs. Shipman’s second year as the HSWCHS Librarian. She manages a collection of 9,000+ books, which is around 8 books per student. In the 2017-2018 school year, she added 500 books. She hopes to add 1,000 in the 2018-2019 school year. She also organizes the Trojans Read Book Club, which is open to all HSSD students and staff. She currently has 25 members, evenly distributed between guys and ladies, who read and discuss together three books per year. All members who join and commit to a book receive a free book copy. This is the first time that a HSWCHS Librarian will serve on the Arkansas Teen Book Award Steering Committee.

“Our students come from varied backgrounds. As a librarian, my job is to find books with stories that reflect what they’re going through across situations. Whether that is the latest contemporary novel from Angie Thomas and Jason Reynolds, or we are looking at dystopian tales like Harry Potter and Hunger Games, I work to have a varied collection that our kids can directly relate to. We need tales of empowerment, action, adventure, drama, and everything in between,” she said.

Find all details about the Arkansas Teen Book Award program, including information about the current book nominees, information about becoming a reading volunteer, and a link for student voting, here. Learn more about the HSSD Hot Springs World Class High School, here.

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