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Ann Cannon: Picking the best books for children
Interview » Provo City librarian offers insights about the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award — and its winners.


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• There is a minimum of 24 pages but not longer than 96 pages.

• Illustrations demonstrate the story being told.

At a glance

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For more information about the Geisel, Newbery and Caldecott awards, visit www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia.

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• Design of the book includes attention to size of typeface, uncluttered background, appropriate line length, placement of illustrations.

• Plot advances from one page to the next and, together with the illustrations, creates a "page-turning" dynamic.

• The book creates a successful reading experience from start to finish.

• The book is respectful and of interest to children.

• The book shows excellent, engaging and distinctive use of both language and illustration.

What happens after the committee makes its selections?

Authors, illustrators and publishers await "the call," which takes place early Monday morning preceding the official announcements. What does "the call" mean to an author/illustrator’s career? Besides notoriety — big sales. Every school and public library will purchase the award-winning books. The ALA award winners are pretty much guaranteed to stay in-print forever.

What was your personal takeaway from the experience?


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I have been able to make long-lasting friendships and connections. I will always remember the insightful and rich discussions centering around books for children. The insight into the writing process and the chance to meet authors and illustrators has also been a truly unique and rare opportunity. These experiences have forever changed the way I look at picture books and early readers.

What advice would you give parents to help their children become readers?

Parents can encourage their children to read by reading books themselves and by having their children see them read. Children need to see their parents laughing or maybe even crying when reading a book. They need to visually see the impact, joy and satisfaction parents have when they are reading.

Besides reading themselves, parents must read aloud to their children. Provo City Library is kicking off a program for parents of children 1-5 years in January. The program is called "1,000 Books Before Kindergarten." When parents read to their children, they are increasing their literacy skills, vocabulary, which prepares them for kindergarten.

Parents should continue reading to their children, no matter how old they are. I have read to grown children, sitting on the edge of their beds and a reading a few lines just before they drift off to sleep.



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