State Library Announces 2008 Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Awards -- 03/20/2008
Office of State LibraryFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2008
STATE LIBRARY ANNOUNCES 2008 LOUISIANA YOUNG READERS' CHOICE AWARDS
Students From Across the State Choose Their Favorites
BATON ROUGE - More than 20,000 students across the state in grades 3-5 and 6-8 have chosen two books as winners of the 2008 Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award. Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude, written and illustrated by Keven O'Malley and illustrated by Carol Heyer and Scott Goto (Walker Publishing Company, 2005) was the top choice of third, fourth and fifth graders. The Lightning Thief, written by Rick Riordan (Miramax Books, Hyperion Books for Children, 2005), received the most votes from youngsters in grades 6, 7 and 8.
The Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award, now in its ninth year, is a reading enrichment program of the State Library of Louisiana underwritten by Capitol One. 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.
"We're working to promote literacy across Louisiana," said Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu, who oversees the State Library. "The Young Readers' Choice Awards is made possible through a public private partnership with Capitol One. Thanks to the hard work of teachers and public libraries in every region of the state, we're helping our kids develop a love of reading."
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.
"We know that 80% of Louisiana 4th and 8th graders read below a proficient level. We also know that 25% of the Louisiana population over age 25 is a high school dropout," said Dawn Romero Watson, Secretary, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. "Though these numbers may seem overwhelming, programs such as the Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award give our kids a stronger likelihood of overcoming these odds."
"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 list of nominees for 2008 is now available on the State Library's website.
Previous winners of the award are Gator Gumbo by Candace Fleming (2007 Grades 3-5); So B. It: A Novel by Sarah Weeks (2007 Grades 6-8); Alligator Sue by Sharon Arms Doucet (2006 Grades 3-5); Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz (2006 Grades 6-8); 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).