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Central Washington University

CWU Professor Selected for National Children’s Book Awards Committee

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A CWU professor recently joined some elite company when she was named to the selection committee for the annual Notable Books for a Global Society Award contest.

Literacy professor Sharryn Larsen Walker learned in early March that she had been selected to serve a three-year term on the prestigious committee, a children’s literature and reading special interest group through the International Literacy Association. 

Walker has always been passionate about children’s literature and has been a member of the organization for many years. She feels honored to be chosen for such a crucial endeavor.

“This contest really represents the upper tier list of children’s books in the U.S., and it’s a big deal for the authors and illustrators to be selected,” said Walker, a CWU alumna who has been teaching at the university since 2007. “Being on the selection committee is also a pretty big deal, and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.”

The Notable Books for a Global Society Award was introduced in 1996 and has become one of the most highly regarded children’s book contests in North America. Every year, 10 to 14 committee members from around the country are chosen to develop a list of 25 award winners.

The committee selections are based on multiple factors, including prior experience with reviewing diverse, multicultural, and global literature and ensuring that committee members represent different professions related to literature and literacy and regions of the U.S.  

The committee members will evaluate 200-300 children’s books and novels between now and the end of summer, and the 2021 winners will be announced at the annual conference in Columbus, Ohio, in October. 

Walker received her first shipment of books in mid-March and started perusing them right away. 

“I will be doing a lot of reading this year, that’s for sure,” she said, adding that the nominations range from picture books to young adult novels. “I probably won’t have time for any other committees because this is such a big commitment.”

Books that are considered for the award are nominated by publishers, and they are selected because they raise awareness about issues that are important to children around the world. Walker said many of last year’s books were centered around immigration, while in previous years, the books have focused on LGBTQ issues, the effects of war, and other topics that influence the lives of young people.

“The books usually focus on everyday life in different parts of the world, and how we are all connected,” she said. 

Read more about the International Literacy Association at

Media contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs,

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