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Georgia Children's Book Awards names winning authors

Kristen B. Morales

March 11, 2015

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The Georgia Children's Book Awards has announced this year's winning picture book and chapter book as part of its annual awards and Conference on Children's Literature on the University of Georgia campus.

The winner in the picture book category is "Ol' Clip Clop," written by Patricia McKissack and illustrated by Eric Velasquez. The chapter book winner is "Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25" by Richard Paul Evans.

"Ol' Clip Clop" is a colonial-era ghost story about a sinister landlord who is followed by a mysterious "clip-clop" after wrongly evicting a widow. "Michael Vey" is the first in a seven-book adolescent adventure series about a group of teens who were born with unique electrical powers and must use their gifts to battle greed and evil.

The winning books were selected by thousands of elementary- and middle school-age children across Georgia during a yearlong voting process. Children in kindergarten through fourth grade chose from a list of 20 picture book nominees, while those in fourth- through eighth-graders voted on chapter (non-illustrated) books.

Each year, nominations come from children themselves as well as the general public, including teachers, media specialists, public librarians and UGA faculty in the College of Education, which sponsors the annual event. Most importantly, said Jennifer Graff, chair of the picture book nominating committee, nominated books are works that nominators believe are stories children will respond to in meaningful ways.

"Through this, we ask, what are some high-quality stories that will encourage children to want to read and enjoy stories?" said Graff, an associate professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education. "One of the top reasons a child picks up a book is because a teacher or another adult read it aloud."

Now entering its 47th year, the Georgia Children's Book Awards and Conference on Children's Literature includes workshops and educational sessions for parents, teachers, media specialists, librarians and other fans of children's literature. For more information on the conference, or for a list of current nominees, visit gcba.coe.uga.edu.