(Host) For 50 years, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award has been empowering young readers in Vermont. In May, shortly after the winner is announced, teachers and librarians from across the state gather to learn about the titles on the next DCF list.
VPR’s Amy Noyes reports:
(Noyes) It was 1957 when Vermont children were introduced to a kid’s choice book award, named for Arlington author Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Since then, the DCF Award has become a Vermont institution.
Grace Greene is from the Vermont Department of Libraries. She organized this year’s DCF conference, in Fairlee.
(Greene) It is the fiftieth anniversary of the DCF Award and it is the second oldest child-selected award in the country, which I think is pretty cool. And for a long time it has really been very instrumental in helping children, teachers and librarians choose good books for kids to read.
(Noyes) Selecting nominees for the award is a year-long process. Volunteer committee members read through hundreds of recently published books, aimed at children in grades four through eight. They narrow the field to a final list of 30 nominees. Committee Chair Steve Madden explains what happens next:
(Madden) Kids then have a year to read as many of the books on that list as they can. And at the end of that year they vote for their favorite. And this year I counted up over 4,000 votes, and the winner of this year’s DCF Award was Flush by Carl Hiaasen.
(Noyes) Each May, the annual Dorothy Canfield Fisher Conference is held to introduce the new list for the coming year. Librarian Grace Greene says this event is relatively new.
(Greene) We had sort have been resting on our laurels for the DCF Award because it had been around for so long. We assumed that everybody knew about it, and of course that’s not true. There are always new teachers, new librarians coming into the field. There are schools that have never participated. So, as a group, we tried to think of ways to raise awareness with teachers and librarians about the DCF award.
(Noyes) Greene says the conference has been a success.
(Greene) So we started it five years ago and it’s been very popular. We have it every May. We always have an excellent author or two as speakers, and lots of different workshops. And I get incredibly wonderful feedback on everything about the conference, so it’s clearly something that people look forward to and find valuable in their work.”
(Noyes) Now it’s the job of conference-goers to get the books into the hands of young readers, just in time for summer reading.
For VPR News, I’m Amy Noyes.