Book Award

Awarded annually by the Children's Literature Association to recognize outstanding book-length contributions to children's literature scholarship and criticism. 

(Awards are given for books published two years prior to the award year. accepting nominations for books published in 2022.)

Submission Period:

Nominations may be submitted through Friday, September 29, 2023. 

Submission Guidelines:

  • Nominations should be submitted electronically via the "Nomination Form" button above.
  • Eligible titles must be published, book-length works that make a distinct or significant contribution to the scholarly and/or theoretical understanding of children’s literature from a literary, cultural, historical, or theoretical perspective, at the committee chair’s discretion. They must be written in English exclusively by the author(s) or translator(s) whose name(s) appear on the title page and must bear a copyright date of the year under consideration. Translations published in the year under review may be considered regardless of what year the book was published in its first language. Reprints or new editions of previously published books are not eligible.
  • The focus of the study should be a literary, historical, theoretical, or cultural examination of children’s literature, children’s texts, and/or children’s culture. Critical biographies and studies of children’s films and other media texts are included in this criteria, as are studies that include to a minor degree texts primarily intended for adults or which extend beyond an exclusively children-oriented cultural or historical context. Texts with a primarily pedagogical focus are not included, nor are anthologies or festschriften, reference works, textbooks; honors papers, masters theses, or doctoral dissertations, unless reworked as a book.
  • The book should be well written and engaging.

Past Book Award Winners:

2023 (awarded for a book published in 2021)

Winner:  Marilisa Jiménez García for Side by Side: US Empire, Puerto Rico, and the Roots of American Youth Literature and Culture, University Press of Mississippi, 2021

Honor:  Derritt Mason for Queer Anxieties of Young Adult Literature and Culture, University Press of Mississippi, 2021

2022 (awarded for a book published in 2020)

Winner: Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas for The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to The Hunger Games, NYU Press, 2020

Honor: Dr. Gabrielle Owen for A Queer History of Adolescence: Developmental Pasts, Relational Futures, UGA Press, 2020

2019 (awarded 2021)

Winner: Hannah Field for Playing with the Book:  Victorian Movable Picture Books and the Child Reader, University of Minnesota Press, 2019

Honor: Megan Norcia for Gaming Empire in Children’s British Board Games 1836-1860, Routledge, 2019

Recommended Books:
Melanie Ramdarshan Bold, Inclusive Young Adult Fiction: Authors of Colour in the United Kingdom, Palgrave, 2019

Claudia Nelson and Anne Morey, Topologies of the Classical World in Children’s Fiction, Oxford, 2019

2018 (awarded 2020)

Winner: Jules Gill-Peterson for Histories of the Transgender ChildThe University of Minnesota Press, 2018

Honor: Susan E. Honeyman for Perils of Protection:  Shipwrecks, Orphans, and Children’s RightsUniversity Press of Mississippi, 2018

2017 (awarded 2019)

Winner: Victoria Ford Smith for Between Generations:  Collaborative Authorship in the Golden Age of Children's Literature, University Press of Mississippi, 2017

Honor: Philip Nel for Was the Cat in the Hat Black?:  The Hidden Racism of Children's Literature and the Need for Diverse Books, Oxford University Press, 2017

2016 (awarded 2018)

Winner: Kimberley Reynolds for Left Out:  The Forgotten Tradition of Radical Publishing for Children in Britain, 1910-1949, Oxford UP, 2016

Honor: Nazera Sadiq Wright for Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century, University of Illinois Press, 2016

2015 (awarded 2017)

Winner: Clare Bradford for The Middle Ages in Children's Literature, Palgrave, 2015

Honor book: Paul Ringel for Commercializing Childhoood, U Mass, 2015.

2014 (awarded 2016)

Winner: Katharine Capshaw for Civil Rights Childhood: Picturing Liberation in African American Photobooks, University of Minnesota Press, 2014.

Honor book: Teresa Michals for Books for Children, Books for Adults: Age and the Novel from Defoe to James, Cambridge University Press, 2014.

2013 (awarded 2015)
Winner: Anastasia Ulanowicz for Second-Generation Memory and Contemporary Children's Literature, Routledge, 2013.

Honor book: Courtney Weikle-Mills for Imaginary Citizens: Child Readers and the Limits of American Independence, 1640-1868, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.

2012 (awarded 2014)
Winner: Christopher Parkes for Children's Literature and Capitalism: Fictions of Social Mobility in Britain, 1850-1914, Palgrave, 2012.

Honor book: Phil Nel for Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children's Literature, University Press of Mississippi, 2012.

Recommended Books:
Bart Beaty, Comics versus Art , University of Toronto Press, 2012.

Claudia Nelson, Precocious Children and Childish Adults: Age Inversion in Victorian Literature, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012.

2011 (awarded 2013)
Winner: Robin Bernstein for Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood and Race from Slavery to Civil RightsNew York University Press, 2011.

Honor book: Freud in Oz: At the Intersections of Psychoanalysis and Children's Literature, by Kenneth B. Kidd, University of Minnesota Press, 2011.

Recommended Book: Jackie Horne, History & Construction of the Child in Early British Children's Literature, Ashgate, 2011.

2010 (awarded 2012)
Winner: Nathalie op de Beeck, for Suspended Animation: Children's Picture Books and the Fairy Tale of Modernity, University of Minnesota Press, 2010.

Honor Book: Megan A. Norcia, for X Marks the Spot: Women Writers Map the Empire for Children, 1790-1885, University of Ohio Press, 2010.

Recommended Book: Jan Susina, The Place of Lewis Carroll in Children's Literature, Routledge, 2010.

2009 (awarded 2011)
Winner: Marah Gubar for Artful Dodgers: Reconceiving the Golden Age of Children’s Literature, Oxford University Press, 2009.

Honor Book: Anja Mueller for Framing Childhood in Eighteenth-Century English Periodicals and Prints, 1689-1789, Ashgate, 2009.

Recommended Books:
Farah Mendlesohn and Edward James, A Short History of Fantasy, Middlesex University Press, 2009.

Maria Nikolajeva, Power, Voice and Subjectivity in Literature for Young Readers, Routledge, 2009.

2008 (awarded 2010)

Winner: Leonard Marcus for Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children’s Literature, Houghton-Mifflin, 2008.

Recommended Books:
Penny Brown, A Critical History of French Children’s Literature, Routledge, 2008.

Anita Clair Fellman, Little House, Long Shadow: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Impact on American Culture, University of Missouri Press, 2008.

Perry Nodelman, The Hidden Adult: Defining Children’s Literature, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.

Annette Wannamaker, Boys in Children’s Literature and Popular Culture: Masculinity, Abjection, and the Fictional Child, Routledge, 2008.

Michael Ward, Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis, Oxford University Press, 2007.

2007 (awarded 2009)
Winner: Kimberley Reynolds for Radical Children’s Literature: Future Visions and Aesthetic Transformations in Juvenile Fiction, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

Honor Books:
Clare Bradford for Unsettling Narratives: Postcolonial Readings of Children’s Literature, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007.

Joseph T. Thomas, Jr. for Poetry’s Playground: The Culture of Contemporary American Children’s Poetry, Wayne State University Press, 2007.

Recommended Book: Owen Dudley Edwards, British Children’s Fiction in the Second World War, Edinburgh University Press, 2007.

2006 (awarded 2008)
Winner: Julia Mickenberg for Learning from the Left: Children's Literature, the Cold War, and Radical Politics in the United States, Oxford University Press, 2006.

Recommended Books:
Charles Butler, Four British Fantasists Place and Culture in the Children's Fantasies of Penelope Lively, Alan Garner, Dianne Wynne Jones, and Susan Cooper, Scarecrow, 2006.

Michael Cart and Christine Jenkins, The Heart Has Its Reasons: Young Adult Literature with Gay/Lesbian/Queer Content 1969-2000, Scarecrow, 2006.

Lorinda Cohoon, Serialized Citizenships: Periodicals, Books, and American Boys, 1840-1911, Scarecrow, 2006.

Tess Cosslett, Talking Animals in British Children's Fiction 1786-1914, Ashgate, 2006.

Jacalyn Eddy, Bookwomen: Creating an Empire in Children's Publishing, 1919-1939, University of Wisconsin Press in collaboration with the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America and the University of Wisconsin-Madison General Library System Office of Scholarly Communication, 2006.

Sarah Wadsworth, In the Company of Books: Literature and Its "Classes" in Nineteenth-Century America, University of Massachusetts Press, 2006.

2005 (awarded 2007)
Winner: Emer O'Sullivan for Comparative Children's Literature, Routledge, 2005.

Honor Book: Angela Sorby for Schoolroom Poets: Childhood, Performance, and the Place of American Poetry, 1865-1917. University of New Hampshire Press, 2005.

2004 (awarded 2006)
Winner: Katharine Capshaw Smith for Children's Literature of the Harlem Renaissance, Indiana University Press, 2004.

Honor Book: Karen Coats for Looking Glasses and Neverlands: Lacan, Desire, and Subjectivity in Children's Literature, University of Iowa Press, 2004.

2003 (awarded 2005)
Winner: Claudia Nelson for Little Strangers: Portrayals of Adoption and Foster Care in America, 1850-1929. Indiana University Press, 2003.

Honor Book: Beverly Lyon Clark for Kiddie Lit: The Cultural Construction of Children's Literature in America, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

2002 (awarded 2004)
Winner: Hamida Bosmajian for Sparing the Child: Grief and the Unspeakable in Youth Literature about Nazism and the Holocaust, Routledge, 2002.

Honor Book: Adrienne Kertzer for My Mother's Voice: Children, Literature, and the Holocaust, Broadview Press, 2002.

2001 (awarded 2003)
Winner: Clare Bradford for Reading Race: Aboriginality in Australian Children's Literature, Melbourne UP (Australia), 2001.

Honor Book: Elizabeth Wanning Harries for Twice Upon a Time: Women Writers and the History of the Fairy Tale, Princeton University Press, 2001.

2000 (awarded 2002)
Winner: Roberta Seelinger Trites for Disturbing the Universe: Power and Repression in Adolescent Literature, University of Iowa Press, 2000.

Honor book: Valerie Krips for The Presence of the Past: Memory, Heritage, and Childhood in Postwar Britain, Garland, 2000.

1999 (awarded 2001)
Winner: Mary Farquhar, Children's Literature in China, Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1998.

1998 (awarded 2000)
Winner: Donnarae MacCann, White Supremacy in Children's Literature: Characterizations of African-Americans 1830-1900, New York: Garland, 1998.

Honor book: U.C. Knoepflmacher, Ventures Into Childland: Victorians, Fairy Tales and Femininity, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

1997 (awarded 1999)
Winner: Ann Romines, Constructing the Little House: Gender, Culture, and Laura Ingalls Wilder, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1997.

Honor book: Margery Hourihan, Deconstructing the Hero: Literary Theory and Children's Literature, New York: Routledge, 1997.

1996 (awarded 1998)
Winner: Ruth Bottigheimer, The Bible for Children: From the Age of Gutenberg to the Present, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.

Honor book: John Goldthwaite, The Natural History of Make-Believe, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Honor book: Maria Nikolajeva, Children's Literature Comes of Age: Toward a New Aesthetic, New York: Garland, 1996.

1995 (awarded 1997)
Winner: Morton N. Cohen, Lewis Carroll: A Biography, London: Macmillan; New York: Knopf, 1995.

1994 (awarded 1996)
Winner: Lois Kuznets, When Toys Come Alive: Narratives of Animation, Metamorphosis, and Development, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994.

Honor book: Gillian Avery, Behold the Child: American Children and Their Books, 1621-1922, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.

Honor book: Jack Zipes, Fairy Tale as Myth/Myth as Fairy Tale, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1994.

1993 (awarded 1995)
Winner: Elizabeth Keyser, Whispers in the Dark: The Fiction of Louisa May Alcott, Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1993.

Honor book: Patricia Demers, Heaven Upon Earth: The Form of Moral and Religious Children's Literature to 1850, Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1993.

Honor book: Samuel Pickering, Moral Instruction and Fiction for Children, 1749-1820, Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1993.

1992 (awarded 1994)
Winner: Jerry Griswold, Audacious Kids: Coming of Age in America's Classic Children's Books, New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Honor book: Leonard Marcus, Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon, Boston: Beacon, 1992.

Honorable mention: Lucy Rollins, Cradle and All: A Cultural and Psychoanalytic Study of Nursery Rhymes, Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 1992.

Honorable mention: John Stephens, Language and Ideology in Children's Fiction, London: Longman, 1992.

1991 (awarded 1993)
Winner: Barbara Wall, The Narrator's Voice: The Dilemma of Children's Fiction, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991.

Honor book: Virginia Wolf, Louise Fitzhugh, Boston: G. K. Hall/Twayne, 1991.

Honorable mention: Claudia Nelson, Boys Will Be Girls: The Feminine Ethic and British Children's Fiction, 1857-1917, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1991.

Honorable mention: Patricia Demers, P. L. Travers, Boston: G. K. Hall/Twayne, 1991.

1990 (awarded 1992)
Winner: Millicent Lenz, Nuclear Age Literature for Youth: The Quest for a Life-Affirming Ethic, Chicago: American Library Association, 1990.

Honor book: Dianne Johnson, Telling Tales: The Pedagogy and Promise of African American Literature for Youth, New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.

Honorable mention: Gary D. Schmidt, Robert McCloskey. Boston: G. K. Hall/Twayne, 1990.

1989 (awarded 1991)
Winner: Joel Myerson, Daniel Shealy, and Madeleine Stern, eds., The Journals of Louisa May Alcott. Boston: Little, Brown, 1989.

1988 (awarded 1990)
Winner: Kirsten Drotner, English Children and Their Magazines, 1751-1945. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988.

1987 (awarded 1989)
Winner: Julia Briggs, A Woman of Passion: The Life of E. Nesbit, 1858-1928, London: Hutchinson; New York: New Amsterdam Books, 1987.

Winner: Juliet Dusinberre, Alice to the Lighthouse: Children's Books and Radical Experiments in Art, New York: St. Martin's, 1987.

1985-86 awards
Winner: Iona and Peter Opie, The Singing Game, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985.

1981-84 awards
Winner: Neil Philip, A Fine Anger: A Critical Introduction to the Work of Alan Garner, London: Collins, 1981.