I first heard about the Sasquatch Award this past school year when my son had the opportunity to earn a special pizza party if he read, and passed an AR test for, each book nominated for the award. These are all middle grade books targeted for grades three through six. There were a couple titles in the mix that he had no interest in reading so he didn't complete the challenge. Maybe he would have tried harder if the prize had been more enticing? Maybe this year I will put up my own prize if he finishes. Maybe this year I will read them right along with him! This is such a great way to introduce kids to a wider variety of books, and who knows, they might actually love a few of them.
Okay. I asked my son what would motivate him to read all the Sasquatch award nominees and he said $100. I will have to run this one by my husband.
The Sasquatch Award comes from a group of books selected by the Sasquatch committee of the Washington Library Media Association (WLMA). Children vote for the winner, and are required to read or have read to them at least two titles in order to vote.
Here is an excerpt by Joanne L. Hjort, from the WLMA website, that explains the process for coming up with the nominees:
committee meets in the early spring, in Ellensburg. We each bring our pile of
book nominations with us. We solicit nominations from teachers, students, a few
book shop owners and other librarians. We constantly try to focus on titles that
children like and want to read while continually discussing the merits of
individual titles in a series such as Redwall, American Girl, etc.
actual process is a round robin in which each member presents their best title.
We do this about three times around or until everyone feels that have presented
the titles that have been most favored in their region. At this point we start
discussing various titles, balance of male and female focus, ethnic diversity,
and a variety of reading levels ranging from the earliest chapter book reader on
up. One year we decided to include one picture book for older students (Passage
to Freedom) as well as an autobiographical title (Basher Five-Two). I guess we
then trust our instincts and negotiate the final list."
Here are the 2013 Sasquatch Award Nominees (in A-Z order by author). All were published in 2009 and 2010.
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
The PS Brothers by Maribeth Boelts
Crunch by Leslie Conner
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
The Popularity Papers (#1) by Amy Ignatow
Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur
The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
Masters of Disaster by Gary Paulsen
The Books of Elsewhere v.1: The Shadows by Jacqueline West
Does your state have a similar award program for middle grade books?