TAMARA NATASHA SPENC
Children are not just casual participants, but are the final judges in the Utah Children’s Picture Book Award (UCPBA) competition.
Founded in 1995, the UCPBA was designed to encourage children from kindergarten through 3rd grade to read or have read to them picture books, an organization representative said. A committee composed of parents, book sellers, educators and librarians nominate a group of books covering various themes.
The chosen books are submitted to the Children’s Literature Association of Utah Executive Committee for final approval. The list of books are narrowed down to 10 titles and are then distributed to schools and public libraries. Ballots are available at these locations for children to vote on their favorite book, said Marsha Broadway, chair of the Utah Young Adult Book Award Committee.
Rick Walton, of Provo, writer and house-husband, is one of the current nominees for the UCPBA for his book “Once There Was A Bull … Frog”.
“I’m very excited to be nominated for this award, its a great honor,” Walton said.
Broadway was instantly impressed with Walton’s humor and wit in his current book. “‘Once There Was A Bull … Frog’ has very clever word play and nice unity between text and illustrations. Both of these were successfully utilized to contribute to the humor of the book,” Broadway said.
Books for the UCPBA that are originally nominated are evaluated on their originality, artistic worth, reader appeal, literary quality and imagination. Suitability of vocabulary, content, characterization, and comprehension for the intended age levels are also considered stated a committee member.
Already a Christmas pick on “CBS This Morning,” “Once There Was A Bull … Frog” is one of Walton’s most successful books to date.
“Its doing quite well in sales; it is my best selling book in the first 6-month block,” Walton said. The book is popular among educators for teaching kids compound words in the 1st and 2nd grade; this has probably contributed to the texts’ success, Walton said.