Annually, a committee of the CL/R SIG (Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group) of the International Reading Association selects 25 outstanding trade books for enhancing student understanding of people and cultures throughout the world. The committee reviews books representing all genres intended for students K-12.
To be eligible for NBGS annual list, a book must have been published in the United States the previous year. For example, the books on the 2012 list were published in 2011.
A Brief History of the NBGS
The Children's Literature and Reading Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association formed the Notable Books for a Global Society Committee in 1995. Under the guidance of Yvonne Siu-Runyan, who originated and spearheaded the project, the committee undertook to identify outstanding trade books that it felt would help promote understanding across lines of culture, race, sexual orientation, values, and ethnicity.
The Notable Books for a Global Society (NBGS) list was developed to help students, teachers, and families identify books that promote understanding of and appreciation for the world's full range of diverse cultures and ethnic and racial groups. Although advances in technology allow us to communicate quickly with people around the world and the growth of world trade brings us increasingly into contact with far-flung members of the "global village," today's society is rife with tension, conflict and ignorance of others different from us. If we hope to meet the many challenges that face us in the 21st century, we must recognize the similarities and celebrate the differences among all races, cultures, religions, and sexual orientations, and appreciate that people can hold a wide range of equally legitimate values.
Each year, the Committee selects twenty-five outstanding books for grades K-12 that reflect a pluralistic view of world society. These twenty-five titles represent the year’s best in fiction, nonfiction and poetry.
Criteria for selection of NBGS titles:
Selection and Criteria
Accuracy and authenticity of the people depicted in terms of physical characteristics, social and economic status, intellectual and problem-solving abilities, and displays of leadership and cooperation
Richness of detail concerning the group or groups depicted
An approach that honors and celebrates diversity as well as the common bonds of humanity
In-depth treatment of issues
Depiction of substantive and authentic interaction among characters within and across groups
Inclusion of members of a "minority" group for purposes other than tokenism or fulfillment of any type of "quota"
Thought-provoking content that invites reflection, critical analysis, and response
Uniqueness of language or style
High quality as determined by evaluation in terms of generally accepted criteria for the genre
Each year’s final list is presented at the CL/R-SIG’s session at the annual convention of the International Reading Association (IRA).