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The Story of the Moonbeam Book Awards
Guest Post by Amy Shamroe
“Celebrating youthful curiosity, discovery and learning through books and reading.” – Moonbeam Awards Motto
Each year in January, booksellers and those in publishing note and celebrate the finest in children’s books. In 1922, the American Library Association began recognizing the contribution of children’s literature makes to society. The Newberry Awards were first, acknowledging the finest written stories. In 1938, the Caldecott Awards were created to honor children’s picture book. They are two of the most recognizable book awards in the world, and certainly for kids’ books. Most booksellers and librarians will probably agree that these awards are of great import to those who try to encourage literacy.
All that having been said, there are major problems with the system.
As the world of publishing has changed, the field for these awards has been uneven, to say the least. A look at the list of winners and honorees for the last couple decades, there is one commonality. All have been backed by one of the major publishing houses. Now, take a walk through the children’s section of your local bookstore (especially if you are lucky enough to have an independent store in your area still). There are all kinds of regional and small presses producing beautiful picture books and creative fiction. These books are expected to compete for two awards with the likes of Penguin and HarperCollins and their publicity departments. This is not to say they do not produce wonderful books worthy of praise, but it is not a fair fight.
That brings up another problem. There are only two awards. Elitism certainly has its place in the world, creating a firm line between quality and mediocre. Times have changed, though. While strolling through the children’s section, look at all the different genres of books. There are fiction and non-fiction in picture books and chapter books. There are hundreds of quality educational activity books and beginning readers. Where is the recognition for these books?
Here in lies the inspiration for the Moonbeam Children’s Books Awards.
After years of running the Independent Publisher Book Awards, the volume of children’s books was more than obvious to the board. It was not a leap to conceive of an awards program that would celebrate the quality and variety of books that exist in today’s market.
It was decided, unlike the Independent Publisher Awards, the Moonbeam Awards would be open to all publishers – corporate and independent. This was to ensure that the best available would be able to compete on a level field. More specific categories and criteria that factor in originality to presentation allow for a different interpretation than other awards programs. There is also a bit of elitism present here that prevents the committees from awarding a slew of winners and honorees for a consideration fee or with the intention of marketing to as many people as possible. All finalists either place gold, silver or bronze or are carefully selected for quality. The results to date seem to indicate the ideal is a reality. There have been independently published winners as well as winners represented by the likes of Simon & Schuster.
There is an even more important point to all of this, though. Librarians and educators are fighting every day to keep our youth reading in the face of an abundance of television and video games. Finding the right book or series to spark or feed curiosity and make reading a thrill and not a chore is imperative. They need quality choices and respectable sources for new ideas. The world of literature offers something for everyone, and that includes children. Let’s help people realize this.
Clandestine by Hannah Rials wins SILVER at 2018 Moonbeam Awards
Imagine our excitement when we received the email that Jump Into a Book long-time intern, Hannah Rials, won a SILVER in the YA Thriller/Mystery category at the 2018 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards!
About Clandestine by Hannah Rials
“Gripping until the very end.” – Scott Reintgen, author of Nyxia
“Dark, surprising, and full of twists, the Ascension series is a delectable addition to vampire canon. Rials paints a rich and engrossing world of vampires, half-vampires witches– each with their own agenda. Cheyenne’s struggle to be free is one that every girl will recognize, and I rooted for her as she bristled against the roles cast for her by society. It’s the story of a girl yearning to come into her own powers, powers both frightening and beautiful.” ~Maggie Thrash, author of L.A. Times Book Prize nominee Honor Girl
Cheyenne Lane never believed it could come to this—imprisoned by her own family, who are plotting to overthrow the vampire Council. Ripped away from the happiness of her summer romance and friendship in New Orleans, Cheyenne is forced to begin her education at Clandestine, the secret Deuxsang University, one year early.
She is guarded constantly, separated from her best friend Anne, and desperate for any word from Eli and the witches. Meanwhile, her cousin Lilith has discovered that Cheyenne possesses all four vampiric abilities—unheard of for a Deuxsang—and intends to use her in the Ascending’s rebellious scheme.
At 17, Cheyenne finds herself the center of a centuries-old conspiracy involving the vampires, Deuxsang, and witches, and everyone is telling her who she should trust and what she should do. Her head is too full of voices and opinions, and it’s time for Cheyenne to make up her own mind.
Is she ready to step into the role she was made for? Who can she trust? Who is her friend and who is her enemy? Is she really a born leader? All questions that only she can answer. As the information and scenario gets more confusing, she knows she must listen to her intuition if she is going to shift the truth from all the lies.
Grab your copy of the #YAThriller Clandestine HERE and get sucked in…