On March 13, the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader announced the slate of finalists for their seventh annual Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards. Soon after, a bit of a kerfuffle erupted on Twitter and some additional comments cropped up on industry listservs: a number of parents and people in the children’s book community voiced concern and “shock” over controversial conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh being named a finalist in the Author of the Year category, for his novel Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans (Simon & Schuster/Threshold, 2013). The chatter became significant enough that the CBC and ECAR were compelled to post a letter over the weekend, to address the concerns.
In the note, the CBC and ECAR reference the existing CCBA awards criteria and finalist selection process. Though the majority of category finalists are chosen by a procedure that involves children reading and voting on submitted titles provided by International Reading Association-affiliated teachers, the Author and Illustrator of the Year finalists are culled from books’ performances on bestseller lists “with an emphasis on BookScan.” Since its release last October, Brave Pilgrims has ranked high on such national bestseller lists as the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon.com, and Publishers Weekly. A second book in the series, Rush Revere and the Brave Patriots, was released on March 11, and at press time ranked #4 on the Amazon bestseller list. For now, there are no plans to change the criteria or procedure, though the CBC and ECAR have said that they will take the various concerns expressed to them “into consideration going forward.”
Children and teens will be able to vote for this year’s CCBA finalists beginning March 25 through May 12, 2014 at the dedicated awards site. The announcement of winners will take place at a charity gala on May 14 at 6 p.m. at the Capitale in New York City. The evening is part of the festivities celebrating Children’s Book Week (May 12–18, 2014) and can be viewed via a live video broadcast.