In the library, we have begun reading and discussing books that have been nominated for the California Young Reader Medal. This highly-regarded literary award program was established in 1974 to encourage recreational reading of popular literature among the young people of our state. It introduces readers to a variety of book genres and gives them the opportunity to honor their favorite books and authors. A growing body of research has found that reading from a wide range of genres and perspectives helps to build empathy, compassion, and critical thinking skills in young readers. The medal categories encompass both picture books for older and younger readers as well as chapter books for a wide range of age groups. We will be reading all the picture book nominees aloud in library class, and in the upper grades, we will be sharing book trailers and author interviews for the middle-grade chapter book nominees. 
The special thing about this award that sets it apart from many others is that students both nominate the contenders and decide the winners, unlike most other children's book awards, which parents, teachers, and/or librarians choose. Crestview students will vote for their favorites at the end of the month. These votes will be sent to the state committee, where they will be tallied with votes from students across California. The winners will be announced in May. Many of the past winning books continue to be favorites in our library! Ask your reader to talk to you about their favorite nominee so far and why!