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  • Comstock Read Aloud Book Award Guidelines

    Description of Award

    The Comstock Read Aloud Book Award for children’s literature, sponsored by the Curriculum Materials Center at Minnesota State University Moorhead, is for the best picture book of the year to read aloud to older children. Picture books for children from the age range of 9-12 are considered.

    This annual award reflects the following goals:

    • Recognizing authors and illustrators of outstanding picture books to read aloud.
    • Promoting reading and reading aloud as lifelong activities.
    • Assisting anyone who reads to children with the selection of quality picture books.
    • Providing MSUM students with practice to improve reading aloud skills.
    • Offering children ample opportunities to listen and respond to quality literature.


    Books Seals



    Eligibility requirements include the following:

    • The book must be a picture book for a child audience ranging from age 9 to 12.
    • The picture book may be of any genre.
    • The book must have been published and available for purchase in the year under consideration. Books published in an earlier year outside the United States are eligible if they are published in the United States in the year under consideration. (The award announced in May 2022 will be for a book published in 2021 and the award announced in May 2023 is for a book published in 2022).
    • The format of the book may be hardcover, paperback, spiral bound, or in portfolio. Electronic books, audio books, textbooks, and manuscripts will not be considered.
    • New editions of previously published books or reissued editions are not eligible.
    • The book may be bilingual or multilingual as long as English is one of the languages of the book.
    • Condensations, excerpts, or abridgements of an original book will not be eligible.


     Criteria Related to How the Book Appeals to Children

    The evaluation criteria include:

    • Book stretches a child's imagination
    • Book holds the interest of children
    • Book is memorable for children. The child is interested in repeated readings.
    • Book shows respect for the individual child and the children of the world
    • Book uses a rich vocabulary
    • Book's text and illustrations stimulate children to respond in a variety of ways


     Criteria for the Text

    The evaluation criteria may include:

    • How well the theme or concept is presented
    • How information is presented, including organization, clarity, and accuracy
    • How well plot, setting, characters are developed
    • How appropriate the style of language is to the book's topic/theme and to being read aloud


     Criteria for the Art/Illustrations

    The evaluation criteria used:

    • Book provides children with an excellent visual experience, with consideration for the following
      • Artistic medium
      • Artistic style
      • Elements of art and design principles
      • Picture book design (type face, layout, book jacket/cover, etc.)
    • Book's illustrations enhance the read aloud experience by complementing the text


     Administration of the Award

    The staff of the Curriculum Materials Center of Minnesota State University Moorhead administer the award. The Center with its large collection of children’s books and other educational materials provides resources and materials to pre-service and in-service teachers at the preschool through secondary levels. Each year the committee field-tests picture books and chooses the best read aloud picture book of the year. Committee members are selected based on their experience with children and their knowledge of children’s books. The committee is comprised of the Curriculum Materials Center Librarian, at least one University student and one University faculty or staff member, and at least one member of the community. Normally, the Curriculum Materials Center Librarian will chair the committee. The chair is a voting member, presides at meetings, and facilitates discussion. The chair has sole responsibility for contact with publishers.



    Publishers should nominate books for the award. (Please refer to the eligibility guidelines above). The committee may also nominate books and accept nominations from the public. Please send three copies for committee review to:

     Pam Werre, Chair 

    Comstock-Gág Read Aloud Book Awards

     MSUM – Livingston Lord Library

    1104 7th Avenue South

    Moorhead, MN 56563

    For consideration for the 2022 awards, books must be received by December 1, 2021. Publishers are urged to send their nominations as soon as possible. For more information, contact Pam Werre at the Curriculum Materials Center, 218-477-5818, or

     2021-2022 Committee Members

    • Jeanne Anderson, Collection Development Librarian, Lake Agassiz Regional Libraries, Moorhead, MN
    • Brandon Stursa, Document Control Associate, Noridian, Moorhead, MN
    • Judy Mrsola, Retired Staff, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Moorhead, MN
    • Maddison Melquist, Humanities Librarian, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
    • Kathy Enger, Northern Lights Library Network, Moorhead, MN
    • Stephanie Newland, Library Media Specialist, Fargo Public Schools, Fargo, ND
    • Carol Sibley, Retired Curriculum Materials Center Librarian, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Dilworth, MN
    • Pam Werre, Committee Chair and Curriculum Materials Center Librarian, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Fargo, ND