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Book awards: Nene Award

Book awards by cover

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Works (52)

TitlesOrder
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell1964
Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers1965
Old Yeller by Fred Gipson1966
Ribsy by Beverly Cleary1968
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary1969
Henry Reed's Babysitting Service (Puffin Book) by Keith Robertson1970
Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary1971
Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary1972
Sounder by William H. Armstrong1973
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach1974
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume1975
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell1976
Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers1977
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl1978
Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary1979
The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger1980
My Robot Buddy by Alfred Slote1981
Superfudge by Judy Blume1982
Bunnicula by Deborah Howe1983
Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements1984
Jelly Belly by Robert Kimmel Smith1985
Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days! by Stephen Manes1986
Karen Kepplewhite Is the World's Best Kisser by Eve Bunting1987
You Shouldn't Have to Say Good-Bye by Patricia Hermes1988
Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary1989
Fudge by Charlotte Towner Graeber1990
There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom by Louis Sachar1991
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman1992
Fudge-a-mania by Judy Blume1993
Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor1994
My Teacher Is an Alien by Bruce Coville1995
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli1996
Ghosts In The Fourth Grade by Constance Hiser1997
Under the Blood-Red Sun by Graham Salisbury1998
The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson1999
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling2000
Holes by Louis Sachar2001
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis2002
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket2003
Double Fudge by Judy Blume2004
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo2005
Eragon by Christopher Paolini2006
A Boy at War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Harry Mazer2007
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan2008
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke2009
Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix2010
NERDS: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society by Michael Buckley2011
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick2012
The Lemonade War (The Lemonade War Series) by Jacqueline Davies2012
Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson2013
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger2014
Wonder by R. J. Palacio2015

Award description

History of the Hawai'i State Reading Award

Each year, Hawaii's elementary and middle school children vote for their favorite fiction book and present the author with the prized Nēnē Award. This is an exciting time filled with reading and sharing, and voting for the best.

The award began in 1959 when third graders at the University Elementary Lab School decided to create a book award. The Nēnē Goose, Hawaii's State Bird, was chosen for the award's motif. That year, the children selected The Blue Mountain by Beth Lewis as the first winner of the fledgling Nēnē Award.

The guidelines for nominated titles were designed by the children themselves:

What is the best book you have read?
Would many children enjoy reading this book?
Does the book have an interesting story (plot), good writing (style) to help in the enjoyment of the reading and memorable characters (people or animals)?
Does the book have something important to say (theme)?
Is the author living?

By 1963, the idea had spread to other schools throughout Hawai'i and the first state-wide Nēnē Award was presented in 1964 to author Scott O'Dell for Island of the Blue Dolphins. Ever since that time more children participate each year. Children in public and private schools and in public libraries read and vote. The award is sponsored by the Hawai'i Library Association's Children and Youth Section, the Hawai'i Association of School Librarians, the Hawai'i State Public Library System, and the Department of Education.

The winning authors have been visiting Hawai'i since 1994 -- Phyllis Naylor (Shiloh), Bruce Coville (My Teacher is an Alien), Jerry Spinelli (Maniac Magee), Constance Hiser (Ghosts in Fourth Grade), Graham Salisbury (Under the Blood-Red Sun) and Barbara Robinson (Best School Year Ever). The authors meet with the children who voted for their books and announce the next year's Nēnē Award winner. In 2003, Christopher Paul Curtis entertained the children of Hawai'i by sharing stories about his 2002 Nēnē Award winner, Bud not Buddy. Kate DiCamillo, 2005 Nēnē winner, delighted the audience with her witty banter at the Award Ceremony honoring her book Because of Winn-Dixie. 2009 Nēnē winner Cornelia Funke, author of Inkheart, made an appearance, as did 2010 Nēnē winner, Margaret Peterson Haddix, author of the book Found. The 2011 Nēnē winner, Michael Buckley, author of NERDS, entertained with a lengthy question and answer session. Both the 2012 winners, Brian Selznick and Jacqueline Davies, (an unprecedented tie!) bid fair to follow the trend, as they have tentatively agreed to speak at the 2013 Nēnē Award Ceremony in April 2013.

From 1964-1966, the Nene Nominee list was chosen by children in schools, using a variety of methods. Each school submitted one title, these titles were compiled into a ballot, and children voted on the ballot.

From 1967-1972, there was no recommended list. Children were encouraged to vote directly, on any book they chose that met the established criteria. However, a significant number (about one-third) of votes cast were ineligible according to the criteria.

In 1972, the Nene committee approved the idea of committee members compiling a recommended reading list, but reiterated that this list was not exclusive and children should NOT be limited to voting only for books on the list.

Since then, a recommended list has been compiled each year. In recent years, it has gone back and forth between "write-ins allowed" to "write-ins welcome" (with a very high rate of ineligible votes) to "students are encouraged to recommend titles for next year's Suggested Reading List" since the major use of the write-in votes was to find eligible titles suitable to put on the next list. Nene Award-winning books have been selected after being added to the list because they received significant numbers of write-in votes.

Selection now consists of the top "votegetters," and write-ins from the previous voting, and additional titles suggested by public and school librarians. Approximately 30 titles comprise the Suggested Reading List printed each year.

For more information, email neneaward@gmail.com, write the Nēnē Award Committee c/o Hawai'i State Library, Children's Section at 478 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawai'i 96813 or call 808-586-3510.

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