Fifty-five Plainview ISD elementary students were among 150,094 Texas students in third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades to cast a vote to determine which children's book would receive the coveted 2017 Texas Bluebonnet Award (TBA).
The winning book is selected from a Texas Bluebonnet Award master list of 20 books chosen by the TBA selection committee and released at the Texas Book Festival each October.
The nominated books, fiction and nonfiction, must have been written in the last three years by an author who resides and publishes in the United States. The committee also considers student interests, relevant content, reputable reviews, and literary quality when selecting books to place on the nominating list.
Once the books are selected, school librarians across Texas register to participate in the voting process and place the books in the campus libraries for students to access.
According to Plainview ISD district librarian Susan Flippin, the award is a way to encourage reading for pleasure. Flippin adds that many students seem enthusiastic about participating in the voting and she hopes to see the program grow.
“I would love to see more voters as I believe these books represent a wide range of genres and there is interest for all. I am always looking for ways to challenge more to take up the Bluebonnet challenge and hope for the number of voters to climb each year in our schools,” said Flippin. “These books are for students in grades 3-6. I believe we could and should have 100 percent voting. That's the goal.”
Students qualify to cast individual votes by reading at least five books. The students have almost a year to read the nominated books and most students choose to read more than the required number.
“Each student keeps a reading map of the books they have read,” said Flippin. “They also either write a summary, take a reading quiz over the book, or answer questions asked by the library assistant at each campus.”
Voting for the Plainview students took place the week of January 23-27.
“All voting has to take place by January 31 so we wait until the last week of January to vote to give the students as much time as we can to read,” explains Flippin.
Votes are then submitted to the state committee for tabulation. Local students who participated in voting received certificates, a bluebonnet pencil, and a Texas-shaped bookmark at post-voting parties. These parties take place either at the time of voting or when the winner is announced depending upon the campus.
“Texas has many reading lists for different age groups, and there are programs planned for other grade levels, but the Bluebonnet Award is the oldest and the only one that students select the winner,” Flippin said. “Any author you talk to will tell you it is a coveted award because the kids chose, not the adults. Every author wants to win a Texas Bluebonnet Award.”
The title of the winning book, “Roller Girl”, was announced on February 15. The Bluebonnet Award will be presented to the author, Victoria Jamieson, during the Texas Library Association Annual Conference each April.
Flippin says some of the Plainview students this year voted for “Roller Girl” but more of the local students had voted for various other titles. State-wide there were 18,841 votes for “Roller Girl”. Second place went to “The Chicken Squad” by Doreen Cronin and third place went to “The Terrible Two” by Mac Barnett and John Jory.
“I am thrilled with the students who participated in this year’s voting,” said Flippin. “I thank each one of them for their commitment to reading the Bluebonnet nominees.”
Those interested in reading this year’s nominated books can find a complete list of the books on the Texas Library Association website under the Reading List section.
Flippin says the process of selecting next year’s winner is already under way. The 2017-2018 nominated books are ready for student consideration and students will begin reading as soon as reading maps are published by the state Bluebonnet Committee.