Program Guidelines and Voting

 Criteria for Book Selections

Titles to be considered are nominated primarily by members of the Book Award Committees, but nominations are sought from anyone interested in encouraging students to read. Students, teachers, media specialists, and parents are encouraged to submit titles for consideration to the Book Awards Board Representative. 

  1. Books may be fiction or nonfiction and must be original works. In order to include the genre of folk and fairy tales, the committees may use their discretion in determining if a retelling is appropriate.
  2. No Newbery or Caldecott Award winners will be considered. Honor books may be considered.
  3. The books should have good literary qualities (plot, characterization, narration, style, etc.).  Titles should reflect a balance in terms of genre.
  4. Only books by authors residing in the United States at the time of nomination are eligible.
  5. Books included on each list should be appropriate for the specified grades and interest level. It is recommended that age of characters be a consideration, especially in regard to the teen years. This age appropriate level generally begins at the high end of the Junior Book category.
  6. Books under consideration must be listed in the most current edition of Books in Print and have a copyright date of the present year, the preceding year, or a forthcoming year.  Books must be available for purchase (or pre-order) by ALA Midwinter of the reveal year.
  7. Each title on the consideration list must have at least NO NEGATIVE REVIEWS from reputable reviewing sources at the time of inclusion on the nomination list.  (Additional Selection reviews are NOT considered negative reviews.)
  8. Only one title by an author will be included each year on each book award final list. There will be a three-year wait for an author’s book to appear on any nominee list after that author has won any two South Carolina Book Awards.
  9. Every book need not be judged appropriate for each grade level, but books will be included for grades 4K-3 (Picture), 3-6 (Children’s), 6-9 (Junior), and 9-12 (Young Adult).
  10. Members should remember that these lists are being endorsed by SCASL as quality reading for that year, keeping in mind the appropriateness for all students in South Carolina.

Guidelines for Voting Participation


Participation in the South Carolina Book Award program is open to all students who are attending public or private schools in grades 4K-12.

Older students may read from early in the school year until the voting date which will be published on the SCASL website and in the SCASL Messenger; younger students do best if reading is done the last few months before voting.

Students should vote only once in each of the categories for which they are eligible (PBA, CBA, JBA, or YABA).


It is suggested that the school media specialist be the sponsor of the book award program in a school; however, any teacher or administrator may act as sponsor.

In order for the program to work best for students, the sponsor should prepare by assuring that the following items are completed: 

  1. The sponsor should secure the support and authorization of the principal.
  2. The sponsor should provide information about participating in the award program to teachers and students.
  3. The sponsor should read the books to determine if each is acceptable by the school’s book selection policy.
  4. The sponsor should encourage reading by selecting the best list or combination of lists to serve his/her school.

Schools must purchase at least 50% of the titles on each list in order to participate.


Students should read a minimum of five books from the Picture Book or Children’s Book list in order to vote for that award. Students in the Picture Book category are encouraged to read at least eight of the titles.

Students should read a minimum of three books from the Junior Book list or Young Adult Book list in order to vote.

Each child has one vote in each of the categories

Sponsors are in charge of voting at their individual schools.  The process is up to the sponsor.  Some schools use paper ballots, some use electronic. For example, an elementary school may choose to use paper lunch bags with a copy of the cover of the picture books displayed on them and give their students a marble to drop in the bag for the book they wish to give their vote.  An elementary or middle school may create a paper form listing all of the titles (or have a picture of the titles) and have their students come in and physically fill out a form and drop it in a voting box.  A high school sponsor may wish to create a Google form (or other online survey tool) and send out the link via email to students and/or place the link on their website.   

Regardless of the method you choose, all votes (not just the school winner) should be submitted by the specified date. At the appropriate time, a collection survey will appear on for you to submit your final votes for your school.  This is a tally of all of the votes received for each title on the nominee list.  For example:

  • Title A = 2 votes
  • Title B = 0 votes
  • Title C = 8 votes
  • and so on for all of the 20 titles on the list.


 2023-2024 SC Picture Book Award Voting

2023-2024 SC Children's Book Award Voting

2023-2024 SC Junior Book Award Voting

2023-2024 SC Young Adult Book Award Voting

Voting Link for Homeschool Students

The voting deadline is Friday, February 23, 2024.


Notice: All media specialists should review all titles and add them to their collection only if the titles meet the criteria established by District Board Policy and Library Media Center Policy & Procedure guidelines. We recommend that others interested in purchasing these titles read reviews and scan materials to determine the appropriateness for their intended reader.

 Updated: 12 January 2024