In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
Thought I’d share about the development of a new Children’s Choice Book Award here in Hong Kong for international schools. This isn’t the first time I’ve been on an intial committee beginning a program that I’m excited about. Years ago, I headed up the Oregon Battle of the Books committee and was the chairperson for six years. I absolutely loved that program and was so proud of how many students participated through the years. I’m also thrilled that the program is still running smoothly each year with even more participants, a sign of successfully passing the baton on.
When I moved to Hong Kong, there were many activities that I let go of pretty quickly from my past practices as a teacher librarian in Oregon. Some were: bookfairs, student choice book competitions, US based book celebrations, and Dr. Seuss Week. I embraced international life with two large book club mailings a year, literacy book character day, World Book Day and World Read Aloud Day, Hong Kong Battle of the Books, and more… But I missed the children’s choice book program that I used to celebrate books with all age groups in the US.
I tried out the Panda Book Award Program this past year that is for International schools in China. This was open to those who wanted to participate and I loved the book selections that were celebrated this year. My students loved the selections, embraced the program, and really enjoyed having a voice in which book was the winner at Bradbury School and also with collective votes in China.
At an ALESS meeting in the fall, we gathered with fresh energy and one wonderful teacher librarian spoke up with a statement, “I would like to see Hong Kong develop a children’s choice book award program.” I immediately shot up my hand as a volunteer. It was fun to meet with my colleagues on a monthly basis, develop the basic rules and conditions of the program, seek feedback for the naming of the program, work collaboratively on logos and website projects, and also seek nominations from our colleagues for the 2015 book selections. We had so many nominations and it was quite fun reading through new books nominated, soliciting feedback about titles online and then eventually meeting as a committee to identify eight books per division.
Here were our agreements about the program:
Golden Dragon Book Awards was founded in 2014. The award is intended to be a fun and exciting way for Hong Kong youth ages 4 to 18 years to become enthusiastic and discriminating readers. This program will provide students with internationally-minded balanced book selections with appropriate, appealing, quality literature at appropriate reading levels.
How are the books chosen?
Books must be nominated for inclusion on the Golden Dragon Book Award ballot. Books will be distributed in four age-based categories with eight titles in each. In order to be considered, the book needs to have a copyright date of two years prior to when the ballots are announced. The nominations are reviewed by a committee created by ALESS, Association of Librarians in English Speaking Schools in Hong Kong. The committee creates the final ballots based upon a number of criteria, including student interests, literary quality, creativity, reading enjoyment, reading level, and internationally balanced books.
We voted and decided upon “Golden Dragon Book Awards” for the name. We took time discussing our logo and how we wanted to share Hong Kong through the image and honor tradition and include Chinese as well.
There are four divisions of books, here are the selections:
Young Reader Nominees- 4-6
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown
Oliver by Birgitta Sif
The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins
The Frank Show by David Mackintosh
This is not my hat by Jon Klassen
This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers
Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear
Middle Reader Nominees – 7-10
The Herd Boy by Niki Daly
Recipe for a Perfect Planet Pie by Kim Michelle Toft
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Emily Haynes
Tom Gates: Genius Ideas by L. Pichon
The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Alvin Ho Allergic to Burglars, Babies and Bumps in the Night by Lenore Look
Older Reader Nominees- 11-14
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Paperboy by Vince Vawter
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead
The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Mature Reader Nominees- 15-18
Son by Lois Lowry
Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman
Here are the videos we have for promotion presently:
We plan to roll out publicity this fall celebrating our inaugural year. We already had a wonderful time alerting the amazing creators of these books and it was quite special to communicate with them and possibly connect with some that might be willing to Skype visit with schools here across Hong Kong.
I love that I’m involved in another program that celebrates books, provides children with their own voice in what they identify as a fantastic book, and cannot wait to see what students pick in the Spring!
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