There has never been a better time to be an emerging reader in Washington. Why?
Because the OTTER Award – Our Time To Enjoy Reading – is here, officially recognized as a WLMA state book award by the Washington Library Association!
This award is designed for children ages 6-9 who are transitioning from picture books to longer chapter books. The words “Our Time” are important: they value the time of the child. As my daughter once said, she wanted “books kids like, not books adults think kids should like”. The annual OTTER nominees strive to meet that request.
OTTER nominees also aim to aid parents and teachers whose children need access to new, quality, kid-friendly reading material. There are a handful of books commonly recommended to for children ages 6-9…but this award anticipates expanding young reading horizons and building bridges to longer, more complex chapter books.
The 2015-2016 school year an OTTER pilot project was undertaken, with colleague Monica Hodges running a version in Mt Vernon while my colleagues and I ran a similar pilot in Bellevue.
2015-2016 BSD OTTER Pilot Nominees
2015-2016 Mt Vernon OTTER Pilot Nominees
WLMA found our pilots successful, and we are now thrilled (along with 3 new committee members from across the state) to work toward April 23, when we will meet and announce the 2016-2017 OTTER Nominees.
Our selection criteria:
- copyright year 2014-2015 (the 2 years prior to the upcoming school years)
- reading level suitable for grades 1,2,3
- multiple kid-friendly specs (including, but not limited to: white space, font size, line spacing, illustrations)
- read and positively reviewed by a student (“books kids like, not books adults think kids like”)
- representation of genres/gender/diversity/series
We are diligent in finding new books to both read and obtain student response, with over 20 titles on our reading list. Please COMMENT with any beginner chapter books (similar to the ones above) that would fit the criteria for the OTTER Award.
Thanks for your thoughtful consideration. It is truly an honor and dream to bring this much-needed book award to life!