Garden State Book Awards

Children's Book Awards

The Garden State Children's Book Awards were established in 1977 to honor books for younger readers. The Children's Services Section (CSS) of the New Jersey Library Association felt that books for the early and middle grades seldom received proper recognition. Yet it is at this age, more than any other, that the potential reader needs to be encouraged, stimulated and captivated by the printed work and good illustration.

The winners are chosen by a committee of the Children's Services Section of the New Jersey Library Association on the basis of literary merit and popularity with readers. The awards are given to both author and illustrator in four categories: "Easy to Read" as specifically designated by the publisher, "Easy to Read Series", Fiction and Non-fiction for younger children in grades 2-5. Because children vote for their favorite books, the committee works with titles published three years before the award.

A volunteer committee of CSS members meets three times a year to draw up a ballot. Eligible books are American hardcover titles. Reprints, re-issues and newly illustrated versions of older titles are not considered. The ballot is examined for literary merit and appeal to readers. A list of 20 books in each category is selected and distributed to New Jersey school and public libraries for voting by children.

The committee then meets to tabulate results and to write original citations for all winning authors and illustrators. Presentation of the awards is made at the Spring Conference of NJLA.

The Garden State Children's Book Award Committee wishes to thank the children of New Jersey for their participation and to thank all those schools and public libraries across the state who with their support have made this award happen.


Teen Book Awards

  1. The GSTBA nominees will be chosen from books that have appeared on at least one Best Books list (these may include, but are not limited to, lists compiled by the American Library Association, School Library Journal, and VOYA) three years prior to its appearance on the GSTBA ballot.
  2. The GSTBA nominees will also reflect books nominated by committee members throughout the state of New Jersey.
  3. The GSTBA ballot will include a maximum of twenty nonfiction books for grades 6-12, a maximum of twenty fiction books for grades 6-8, and a maximum of twenty fiction books for grades 9-12.
  4. The GSTBA committee seeks to expose teens to books that are both appealing and well written. The committee may choose to exclude by majority vote certain titles of overwhelming exposure. The GSTBA ballot should be representative of the diversity found in the state of New Jersey.

Process for Selecting GSTBA Ballot:

  1. Members of the NJLA Young Adult Section who have elected to read for the ballot will read the titles they have been assigned.
  2. Readers will convene to determine the ballot at three meetings, each dedicated to one ballot category (Middle School Fiction, High School Fiction, and Nonfiction Grades 6 – 12).
  3. At each meeting, a listing of all titles under consideration for the category to be discussed will be distributed.
  4. Readers will begin the process by nominating titles for removal from consideration. Titles will be removed if a clear consensus is reached, otherwise titles will remain on the ballot for further consideration.
  5. Readers will then nominate titles to the final ballot based on the GSTBA criteria.
  6. If more than 20 titles are nominated for a category, readers will eliminate titles by vote.