Common Questions About Judging Books


What year am I supposed to be reading?

You are reading books published two years before the year you are judging for.
For example:

  • 2010– 2011 Master Lists: Read books published in 2008
  • 2011– 2012 Master Lists: Read books published in 2009
  • 2012– 2013 Master Lists: Read books published in 2010
  • 2013– 2014 Master Lists: Read books published in 2011

What kind of criteria should I use?

Only the very best titles should be nominated for the William Allen White Awards Master Lists. To be eligible for inclusion, a book must meet the following criteria:

1) Published two years prior to current year (i.e. 2011 for the 2013-2014 titles)
2) Published in the United States, Canada or Mexico.
3) Written in the English language.
4) Written by an author who resides in the United States, Canada, or Mexico.
5) Fiction, non-fiction and poetry are eligible for inclusion.
6) Books under consideration should by judged by the following criteria:

• Qualities of originality and vitality.
• Clarity.
• Factual accuracy when historical or informational.
• Sincerity of author and respect for reader.
• Acceptance by children.
• Age appropriate for third through eighth grade children.

7) Titles by authors whose books have received previous WAW Award are eligible for inclusion.
8) Picture books, whose main emphasis is more with illustrations than with written text are not eligible for inclusion.
9) Edited works, compilations, previously published works, and works first published in foreign countries then translated and/or reprinted in U.S. are not eligible.

How do I judge age appropriateness?

It is important to remember that the William Allen White Children’s Book Awards focus on books for children in 3rd through 5th grade and for children in 6th through 8th grade. As a result, it is important to be aware of content and writing style in order to avoid books that are really intended for a younger or older audience. You may want to use age recommendations in published reviews, on publisher websites, and on websites like to gage the age of the intended audience. If you are still having difficulty deciding if a book is age appropriate, talk to your local children’s librarian or school media specialist.