GSF Book Award : Mission and Selection Criteria

Mission Statement

To encourage children to value the importance of recreational reading and to promote a life-long love of reading.

Nomination Criteria

The Great Stone Face (GSF) Committee has the primary responsibility of nominating titles to be considered.  However, nominations will be accepted from teachers, public/school librarians, students, and publishers, as long as they are within the following requirements:

  • Only titles published within 3 years of the current school year are eligible
  • Titles shall be appropriate for grades 4 to 6
  • An author may be a resident of any country
  • More than one title by the same author can be nominated
  • A title in a series must stand alone
  • Newbery Award and other award winners can be nominated for the list
  • Non-fiction titles (informational, biographical, and poetry) can be nominated
  • A title originally published outside of the United States can be nominated based on its US publication date

Selection Criteria

The GSF Committee prepares a list of twenty-five (25) books that represents the diverse reading abilities and interests of children in grades 4 to 6 for their recreational reading.

The two major criteria used are:

  • Child appeal (i.e., will the child be interested in reading the book, and would the child find the book satisfying)
  • Quality of writing (i.e., has the author written a story that has a well-developed plot, interesting characters, and a good theme or concept)

Child appeal and quality of writing are measured by a rating system of 1 to 4, with 1 being the worst and 4 being the best.  Titles that earn a 3, 3.5, or 4 rating are included in the consideration list that the committee uses.  The committee reads every title on the consideration list.  A 2/3 majority is required for the title to be put on the final list.

Other criteria are:

  • Originality of text and illustration
  • Style of language
  • Subject matter of interest and value to a child
  • Amusing and entertaining
  • Suitability of vocabulary, content, and comprehension for the intended grade levels
  • Relevance to today’s societal issues
  • Reflection of children’s experiences, interests, and concerns

Creating the Great Stone Face Book Award List

The GSF Committee votes in April to choose the 25 books for the final list from the consideration list.  The final list attempts to provide a balance in reading levels, genres, subject areas, reader interest, and appeal.  While the committee understand that some of the books on the final list may not appeal to every child, the committee tries to select books that they feel will be of interest to as many children as possible.

The final list of 25 books is presented at the Great Stone Face Tea program that is held during the annual New Hampshire Library Association (NHLA) conference in May.  Every effort is made to let school librarians know what books are on the list so that they can order the titles in a timely manner.

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