Suvarna Garge (Editor)

California Young Reader Medal

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The California Young Reader Medal is a set of five annual literary awards conferred upon picture books and fiction books selected by vote of California schoolchildren from a ballot prepared by committee. The program was established in 1974 with Intermediate, Primary, and Young Adult Medals that were inaugurated in 1975, 1976, and 1977 and were conferred biennially, and annually beginning in 1983.


The program is intended to encourage recreational reading and is sponsored by four organizations that promote reading and literacy: the California Association of Teachers of English, the California Library Association, the California Reading Association, and the California School Library Association.

There are five medals, last modified for 2002: Primary (grades K-3), Intermediate (grades 3-6), Middle School/Junior High (grades 6-9), Young Adult (grades 9-12), and Picture Books for Older Readers (grades 4 and up)—that is, roughly age 10 and up. Both writer and illustrator receive the Primary and Picture Book Medals, where applicable.

The ballot for each medal comprises 3–5 books published during the preceding four years—two to five years ago when the process concludes. For example, 17 books published from 2010 to 2013 were nominated for 2014–2015.

Rules and process

Young readers, their parents, educators, librarians, and "anyone who works with young people" may recommend books. Candidates must be original works of fiction by living authors, available in English, published during the four preceding years and still in print.

Nominations are made by award category and the books should be "often read or requested" and have "strong appeal for the age group". A committee of the sponsoring organizations selects "a well-balanced list of nominees" (finalists), considering merit and appeal.

Children may vote in all categories where they know all of the candidates by reading or hearing read aloud. They cast a combined paper ballot at once, in a classroom or library monitored by an adult.

Current rendition

The winners of 2016 Medals were announced May 1 and scheduled for presentation separately at the next annual meetings of the sponsoring organizations.

The Day the Crayons Quit, written by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. Philomel, 2013.
A Dog Called Homeless, by Sarah Lean. Katherine Tegen Books, 2012.
Middle School/Junior High
Dogtag Summer, by Elizabeth Partridge. Bloomsbury USA, 2011.
Young Adult
Cinder, by Marissa Meyer. Feiwel & Friends, 2012.
Picture Books for Older Readers
Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller, written by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Matt Tavares. Disney-Hyperion, 2012.

Nominees for 2016–2017 are in effect, ballots for the 2017 medals were announced in February, and voting is open for fourteen months, until April 1, 2017 (the same day recommendations for 2018 medals are due).


The medals in four categories inaugurated in 1975, 1976, 1977, and 1980 were biennial until 1983, and thereafter annual. For each category (now five) CYRM maintains a "Booklist" of finalists (3–5 annually) that provides basic bibliographic data for all, and cover images beginning in 2005 or so.



Intermediate: How to Eat Fried Worms, by Thomas Rockwell


Primary: How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head, by Bill Peet


Intermediate: Freaky Friday, by Mary Rodgers Young Adult: Watership Down, by Richard Adams


Primary: Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth, written by Lucy Bate, illustrated by Diane de Groat


Intermediate: Danny, the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl Young Adult: The Late Great Me, by Sandra Scoppettone



Primary: Big Bad Bruce, by Bill Peet Middle School/Junior High: The Pinballs, by Betsy Byars


Intermediate: Summer of the Monkeys, by Wilson Rawls Young Adult: A Summer to Die, by Lois Lowry


Primary: Miss Nelson is Missing, written by Harry Allard, illustrated by James Marshall Middle School/Junior High: Hail, Hail Camp Timberwood, by Ellen Conford


Primary: Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp, by Mercer Mayer Intermediate: Superfudge, by Judy Blume Middle School/Junior High: Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume Young Adult: Summer of Fear, by Lois Duncan


Primary: Bagdad Ate It, written by Phyllis Green, illustrated by Joel Schick Intermediate: The Trouble with Tuck, by Theodore Taylor Middle School/Junior High: There's a Bat in Bunk Five, by Paula Danziger Young Adult: Stranger with My Face, by Lois Duncan


Primary: Herbie's Troubles, written by Carol Chapman, illustrated by Kelly Oechsli Intermediate: The Indian in the Cupboard, by Lynne Reid Banks Middle School/Junior High: Taking Terri Mueller, by Norma Fox Mazer Young Adult: The Truth Trap, by Frances Miller


Primary: Space Case, written by Edward Marshall, illustrated by James Marshall Intermediate: Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade, by Barthe DeClements Middle School/Junior High: Girl with the Silver Eyes, by Willo Davis Roberts Young Adult: The Darkangel, by Meredith Pierce

Beginning in 1987, the illustrators of Primary Award-winning books have officially received full recognition alongside the writers.


Primary: The Napping House, written by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood Intermediate: The Dollhouse Murders, by Betty Ren Wright Middle School/Junior High: You Shouldn't Have to Say Goodbye, by Patricia Hermes Young Adult: Pursuit, by Michael French


Primary: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, written by Laura Joffe Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond Intermediate: Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days, by Stephen Manes Middle School/Junior High: The Root Cellar, by Janet Lunn Young Adult, Interstellar Pig, by William Sleator


Primary: What Happened to Patrick's Dinosaurs?, written by Carol Carrick, illustrated by Donald Carrick Intermediate: The Castle in the Attic, by Elizabeth Winthrop Middle School/Junior High: The Stalker, by Joan Lowery Nixon Young Adult: The Face at the Edge of the World, by Eve Bunting



Primary: Eyes of the Dragon, written by Margaret Leaf, illustrated by Ed Young Intermediate: The War with Grandpa, by Robert Kimmel Smith Middle School/Junior High: The Other Side of Dark, by Joan Lowery Nixon Young Adult: Izzy, Willy Nilly, by Cynthia Voigt


Primary: Tacky the Penguin, written by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn M. Munsinger Intermediate: Harry's Mad, by Dick King-Smith Middle School/Junior High: December Stillness, by Mary Downing Hahn Young Adult: Night Kites, by M.E. Kerr


Primary: Never Spit on Your Shoes, by Denys Cazet Intermediate: All About Sam, by Lois Lowry Middle School/Junior High: Sniper, by Theodore Taylor Young Adult: A Sudden Silence, by Eve Bunting


Primary: Julius, the Baby of the World, by Kevin Henkes Intermediate: Fudge-a-Mania, by Judy Blume Middle School/Junior High: Something Upstairs, by Avi Young Adult: The Silver Kiss, by Annette Curtis Klause


Primary: High-Wire Henry, written by Mary Calhoun, illustrated by Erick Ingraham Intermediate: Scared Stiff, by Willo Davis Roberts Middle School/Junior High: There's a Girl in My Hammerlock, by Jerry Spinelli Young Adult: We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier


Primary: Martha Speaks, by Susan Meddaugh Intermediate: Stonewords, by Pam Conrad Middle School/Junior High: Rescue Josh McGuire, by Ben Mikaelsen Young Adult: Downriver, by Will Hobbs


Primary: Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon Intermediate: Time for Andrew, by Mary Downing Hahn Middle School/Junior High: Freak the Mighty, by Rodman Philbrick Young Adult: Shadow of the Dragon, by Sherry Garland


Primary: Don't Fidget a Feather!, written by Erica Silverman, illustrated by S. D. Schindler Intermediate: Jennifer Murdley's Toad, by Bruce Coville Middle School/Junior High: Sparrow Hawk Red, by Ben Mikaelsen Young Adult: Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher


Primary: Dog Breath, by Dav Pilkey Intermediate: The Junkyard Dog, by Erika Tamar Middle School/Junior High: The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis Young Adult: Ironman, by Chris Crutcher


Primary: Livingstone Mouse, written by Pamela Duncan Edwards, illustrated by Henry Cole Intermediate: The 13th Floor, written by Sid Fleischman, illustrated by Peter Sis Middle School/Junior High: Under the Blood Red Sun, by Graham Salisbury Young Adult: The Only Alien on the Planet, by Kristen Randle



Primary: Lost, written by Paul Brett Johnson and Celeste Lewis, illustrated by Johnson Intermediate: Riding Freedom, by Pam Muñoz Ryan Middle School/Junior High: Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine Young Adult: Breaking Bones, by A. M. Jenkins


Primary: Grandpa's Teeth, by Rod Clement Intermediate: Honus & Me, by Dan Gutman Middle School/Junior High: Among the Hidden, by Margaret Peterson Haddix Young Adult: Armageddon Summer, by Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville


Primary: Hooway for Wodney Wat, written by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn M. Munsinger Intermediate: The Million Dollar Shot, by Dan Gutman Middle School/Junior High: Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, by Jack Gantos Young Adult: Bad, by Jean Ferris Picture Books for Older Readers: Weslandia, by Paul Fleischman


Primary: I Will Never, Not Ever, Eat a Tomato, by Lauren Child Intermediate: Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo Middle School/Junior High: Touching Spirit Bear, by Ben Mikaelsen Young Adult: Define "Normal", by Julie Anne Peters Picture Books for Older Readers: The Babe and I, by David A. Adler


Primary: A Fine, Fine School, written by Sharon Creech, illustrated by Harry Bliss Intermediate: The School Story, by Andrew Clements Middle School/Junior High: Flipped, by Wendelin Van Draanen Young Adult: Ties that Bind, Ties that Break, by Lensey Namioka Picture Books for Older Readers: And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon, by Janet Stevens


Primary: Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!, written by Candace Fleming, illustrated by G. Brian Karas Intermediate: Ruby Holler, by Sharon Creech Middle School/Junior High: Things Not Seen, by Andrew Clements Young Adult: Stormbreaker, by Anthony Horowitz Picture Books for Older Readers: Mr. Lincoln's Way, by Patricia Polacco


Primary: Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook, by Michael Garland Intermediate: The Good Dog, by Avi Middle School/Junior High: 12 Again, by Sue Corbett Young Adult: After, by Francine Prose Picture Books for Older Readers: Boxes for Katje, written by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Stacey Dressen-McQueen


Primary: My Lucky Day, by Keiko Kasza Intermediate: Christopher Mouse, by William Wise Middle School/Junior High: Al Capone Does My Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko Young Adult: Shattering Glass, by Gail Giles Picture Books for Older Readers: The Cats in Krasinski Square, written by Karen Hesse, illustrated by Wendy Watson


Primary: Superdog: The Heart of a Hero, written by Caralyn Buehner, illustrated by Mark Buehner Intermediate: Each Little Bird That Sings, by Deborah Wiles Middle School/Junior High: The Schwa Was Here, by Neal Shusterman Young Adult: Private Peaceful, by Michael Morpurgo Picture Books for Older Readers: Mr. Maxwell's Mouse, written by Frank Asch, illustrated by Devin Asch


Primary: Stanley's Wild Ride, written by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Bill Slavin Intermediate: Sheep, by Valerie Hobbs Middle School/Junior High: Heat, by Mike Lupica Young Adult: Sold, by Patricia McCormick Picture Books for Older Readers: Mystery at the Club Sandwich, written and illustrated by Doug Cushman



Primary: Millie Waits for the Mail, by Alexander Steffensmeier Intermediate: No Talking, by Andrew Clements Middle School/Junior High: Alabama Moon, by Watt Key Young Adult: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie Picture Books for Older Readers: Owney: The Mail-Pouch Pooch, written by Mona Kerby, illustrated by Lynne Barasch


Primary: Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, written by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Michael Austin Intermediate: Zorgamazoo, by Robert Paul Weston Middle School/Junior High: Cracker: The Best Dog in Vietnam, by Cynthia Kadohata Young Adult: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins Picture Books for Older Readers: John, Paul, George, and Ben, written and illustrated by Lane Smith


Primary: I Need My Monster, written by Amanda Noll, illustrated by Howard McWilliam Intermediate: Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning, by Danette Haworth Middle School/Junior High: Every Soul a Star, by Wendy Mass. Young Adult: Graceling, by Kristin Cashore Picture Books for Older Readers: Henry's Freedom Box, written by Ellen Levine, illustrated by Kadir Nelson


Primary: We Are in a Book!, written and illustrated by Mo Willems Intermediate: The Giant Slayer, by Iain Lawrence Middle School/Junior High: Out of My Mind, by Sharon Draper Young Adult: Matched, by Ally Condie Picture Books for Older Readers: Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine and a Miracle, written by Major Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson, and Mary Nethery, illustrated with photographs by members of the Marines team


Primary: Press Here, written and illustrated by Herve Tullet Intermediate: The Unwanteds, by Lisa McMann Middle School/Junior High: Wonderstruck, by Brian Selznick Young Adult: Divergent, by Veronica Roth Picture Books for Older Readers: Queen of the Falls, written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg


Primary: Exclamation Mark, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld Intermediate: Wonder, by R. J. Palacio Middle School/Junior High: The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen Young Adult: The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green Picture Books for Older Readers: Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Team, written by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Steven Salerno


Primary: The Day the Crayons Quit, written by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers Intermediate: A Dog Called Homeless, by Sarah Lean Middle School/Junior High: Dogtag Summer, by Elizabeth Partridge Young Adult: Cinder, by Marissa Meyer Picture Books for Older Readers: Helen's Big World: The Life of Helen Keller, written by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Matt Tavares


California Young Reader Medal Wikipedia

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