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Where do I get the books?

Check your school or local public library. You can find a complete list of books here.

Where can I buy the books?

You can purchase the books from many sources. Check your local bookstores that carry children’s books (independent booksellers, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, etc.) You can also check online sources such as, etc. Ask your school librarian for more sources.

Why don’t all the books come in paperback?

This decision is made by the publishers. The CYRM Committee appraises each publisher of nominated books and asks for their commitment to keep the book in print for at least another year and a half. Other than that, the committee has no way of making a publisher publish the book in paperback.

Can we only read the books nominated in our grade level?

Students can read and vote in one or more categories as long as they read all the books nominated in that category.

Why are there suggested grade levels for each category?

The suggested grade levels for each category are to help guide teachers and students as to the appropriateness of the content of books. These suggested grade levels are not based on reading levels but rather how appropriate a book’s content is for students in certain grades.

Can publishers nominate books?

No, this is a student program and publishers may not nominate books. For more information on recommending titles and nomination criteria, click here.

Who designed the CYRM logo?

The CYRM logo was created by artist Kathleen Womble at the request of Becca Watchman, one of the founders of the California Young Reader Medals. Both women were employed by the Lucia Mar Unified School District in Arroyo Grande, California.

How do I become a member of the CYRM committee?

The CYRM Committee is composed of individuals who are members of one of four different California organizations dedicated to supporting literacy—CATE (California Association of Teachers of English), CLA (California Library Association), CRA (California Reading Association), and CSLA (California School Library Association).  With the exception of CRA, there are three members of each organization on the CYRM board.  There are four CRA members on the CYRM board because CRA acts as the umbrella organization supporting the CYRM Committee.

Individuals wishing to become CYRM Committee members must first belong to CATE, CLA, CRA, or CSLA.  Then, individuals should contact the parent organization of which they are a member or one of the CYRM Committee members belonging to that organization to determine the application procedure.  In general, individuals must complete an application describing

  1. their current position, or if retired, describing their previous experiences,
  2. why they are applying and what strengths they will bring to the Committee, and
  3. their knowledge of and experience with the CYRM program. 

Download the application here.

What are the responsibilities of CYRM Committee members?

Members of the CYRM Committee serve for three years and are responsible for attending 3 face to face meetings and 1 virtual meeting per year. Responsibilities of members include: reading and evaluating approximately 160+ nominated books in the 5 categories; Primary, Picture Books for Older Readers, Intermediate, Middle School/Jr. High and Young Adult, participating in ad hoc committees created by the CYRM Committee to further its mission, serving as a CYRM Committee officer, promoting the CYRM program at their organization’s annual conference and in their place of work. Each sponsoring organization hosts one meeting per year. Travel to meetings is reimbursed at the discretion of each sponsoring organization.

What type of book can be recommended?

Recommended books must have strong appeal for the age group for which the recommendation is made.  In addition, they should be read often or requested by children or young adults.  The book must be a work of fiction that has been published within the previous four years, and it must still be in print.  Finally, a living author must have written the book.

Books may be recommended for the medal in any of the five CYRM categories: Primary (K through 3rd grade), Intermediate (3rd through 6th grades), Middle School/Junior High (6th to 8th grades), Young Adult (9th through 12th grades), and Picture Books for Older Readers (4th grade and up). 

Who can recommend a book?

Recommendations may be made by students, teachers, librarians, parents, or anyone who works with young people and books.  Publishers may not recommend titles.  The recommendation process may take place in the classroom or the library.  Once the recommendation for a book that meets the recommendation criteria (mentioned above) has been received by the Committee, it will be added to the reading list for the Committee members.  Multiple recommendations for the same title are not necessary.

Recommendations may be made online or by mail.

How does the Committee regard books that have been recommended more than once?

Multiple recommendations for the same title are unnecessary.  Whether a book has been recommended once or more than once, the Committee only considers the selection criteria for nominated books.

What are the selection criteria used by Committee members when selecting the Nominated books each year?

When evaluating books being considered for nomination, the Committee members’ overriding concern is child appeal.  Next, the Committee checks to make sure that the book is an original work of fiction written within the last four years that remains in print by a living author.  Holiday books, retellings, ABC books, wordless books, and Newbery, Caldecott, or Printz award winners are not eligible.  Unique retellings are an exception.  The Picture Books for Older Readers category may include fiction and narrative nonfiction (any of a variety of nonfiction accounts that employ a storytelling style).  Graphic novels are acceptable in the Intermediate category.  Books in a series and sequels must stand alone. Translations are allowed; the copyright date for the English translation will be used to determine is the copyright date is within the last four years.  Finally, Committee members consider the following factors:

  1. appeal of the books’ subject matter for that age level,
  2. age and subject matter appropriateness,
  3. non-stereotypical depictions of people and events,
  4. suitability as recreational reading and not necessarily having curriculum orientation,
  5. appeal to a broad spectrum of readers,
  6. illustrations which reflect the content and are deemed suitable for the reader’s age and interests, and
  7. availability.