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Monday, October 10, 2011

Mississippi's Kids And The Need To Read

Saturday, I spent some time at the Mississippi Library Commission's booth at the Mississippi State Fair. Along with my coworker, we talked to many of our fellow Mississippians about library services in our fair state. We saw a lot of younger library users, too, who were eager to grab our offerings of finger puppets, library activity books, and crayons. Let me tell you--these kids are reading! They love books and they love to talk about them. Some of the favorite authors and books we heard about were the Captain Underpants books by Dav Pilkey, the Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park, and the Heroes of Olympus books by Rick Riordan. It's simply wonderful to listen to a fourth-grader stumble over his words because he's so terribly excited to tell you about a book he just read. This is exactly why the Magnolia Award has been created.

The Magnolia Award's purpose is "to introduce the children of Mississippi to current children's literature and instill a love of reading." At this time, children in grades 3, 4, and 5 can vote for their favorite book out of a list of ten nominees. (Each year, any adult can nominate children's books for the award. There are some basic criteria; you can read about them here.) Starting in 2013, children in kindergarten through 8th grade will be able to weigh in with their choices.

This is the list of nominees for 2012:

  1. Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Lee
  2. Calvin Coconut: Zoo Breath by Graham Salisbury
  3. Dying to Meet You: 43 Cemetery Road Book by Kate Klise
  4. Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell
  5. Hallelujah Flight by Phil Blinder
  6. Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco
  7. Small Adventures of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O’Connor
  8. Tango: The Tale of an Island Dog by Eileen Beha
  9. A Whole Nother Story by Cuthbert Soup
  10. Wild Card by Tiki Barber
Voting is in February of 2012 and the winner will be announced in April at the Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival. Children need to have exposure to at least half the books on the list in order to vote. (They can either read the books themselves or listen to them.) Luckily, the Mississippi Library Commission has ordered all ten books! Boy, I wish I could vote!

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