STATE LIBRARY ANNOUNCES 2006 LA YOUNG READERS' CHOICE AWARDS -- 03/21/2006
Office of State LibraryFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2006
STATE LIBRARY ANNOUNCES 2006 LA YOUNG READERS' CHOICE AWARDS
Students From Across the State Choose Their Favorites
Baton Rouge, LA -- Over 14,000 students across the state in grades 3-5 and 6-8 have chosen two books as winners of the 2006 Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award. Alligator Sue, written by Sharon Arms Doucet and illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003) was the top choice of third, fourth and fifth graders. Skeleton Key, authored by Anthony Horwitz (Philomel, 2003), received the most votes from youngsters in grades 6, 7 and 8.
The Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award, now in its seventh year, is a reading enrichment program of the State Library of Louisiana underwritten by Hibernia National Bank. It is a model collaborative reading program involving students, teachers and public librarians in all regions of the state. Students in grades three through eight are encouraged to read the high-quality books that are on carefully selected ballots: one for grades 3-5 and another for grades 6-8. Using specially prepared study guides, teachers incorporate the books into the curriculum. Voting day is an exciting time in many schools and libraries throughout Louisiana as the students cast their votes, sometimes using the voting booths supplied by the Secretary of State's Election Division.
"This program clearly illustrates the value of partnerships between state government and private business by leveraging resources to reach youngsters throughout the state," said Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu. Landrieu oversees the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, which includes the State Library. "The goal is to prepare every student in Louisiana for success through education and literacy, and to instill in them a lifelong love of reading," Landrieu said.
A committee of school and public librarians chooses the 15 recent children's titles for each age group that comprise the annual LYRCA ballots. The lists offer a well-balanced array of excellent, enjoyable books in various genres, including fiction, nonfiction, folklore and poetry.
Alligator Sue received 2,558 of 12,339 votes from the elementary division. This rollicking tall tale of a spunky little girl, who is raised by alligators, is set in Louisiana's Atchafalaya Swamp. Sharon Arms Doucet, a nationally known author, lives in Lafayette with her Cajun musician husband Michael Doucet.
"It is wonderful to have a Louisiana author win this award," said Angele Davis, Secretary, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. "Doucet's book captures the essence of an important part of Louisiana culture. The fact that students picked this book as one of the winners tells us they are learning about the state's rich and diverse history."
Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz (Penguin/Putnam, 2003), the award-winning book for the middle school division, received 349 of the 2,014 votes from students in grades six through eight. This exciting adventure story about a teen-aged spy is filled with fast-paced action. Anthony Horowitz, a well-known British children's book author, playwright and screenwriter, lives in London with his wife and children.
Up the Learning Tree written by Marcia Vaughan and illustrated by Derek Blanks (Lee & Low, 2003) and The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John H. Ritter (Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 2003) placed second in this year's voting and are the 2006 Honor Books.
"Studies indicate that children who read for pleasure are more likely to excel at reading and succeed in school," noted state librarian Rebecca Hamilton. "Teachers, librarians and parents recognize that the Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award program is an excellent way to encourage students to read by enabling them to participate in selecting the winning book."
Information about the program is available on the State Library website at www.state.lib.la.us by clicking on Center for the Book, then on Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award. The annual ballots for 2007 are now available on the State Library website.
Previous winners of the award are Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School by Mark Teague (2005. Grades 3-5); Coraline by Neil Gaiman (2005 Grades 6-8); Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood, by Mike Artell (2004); My Dog, My Hero, by Betsy Byars, Laurie Myers and Betsy Duffey (2003); Weslandia, by Paul Fleischman (2002); Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling (2001); and Verdi, by Janell Cannon (2000).