Gryphon Award

 2018 Winners | About the Gryphon AwardTerms, Criteria, and Entry | Archive

2018 Winners

2018 Gryphon Award Winner

Wechsler, Doug. The Hidden Life of a Toad; written and illus. with photographs by Doug Wechsler. Charlesbridge, 2017. 4-8 yrs.

“We’re big fans of nonfiction for transitional reading, and Wechsler’s beautiful book exemplifies that genre’s advantages,” said Stevenson.  “This outstanding early reader follows the lives of toads all the way from the embryonic state to their adult life with accessibility and enthusiasm. The text varies in length and vocabulary difficulty from page to page, giving new readers a chance to stretch their skills while offering places to hone what they have already mastered; stunning close-up photos of toads and their milieu support the text and encourage kids to correlate image elements with words.”


2018 Honor Books

Gray, Kes. 
Dog on a Frog?; by Kes and Claire Gray; illus. by Jim Field. Scholastic, 2017. 3-6 yrs.

When the basset hound decides to park his rear on the frog, the annoyed amphibian presents a series of increasingly silly seating arrangements, giving every creature a rhyming object (or another animal) to perch upon: bears will sit on stairs, cheetahs on fajitas, and gnus on canoes. Rhyme, repetition, and absurd comedy will have readers giggling as they gain essential literacy skills.




Riley, Andy.
King Flashypants and the Evil Emperor; written and illus. by Andy Riley. Holt, 2017. Gr. 2-4.

Sure to please fans of the Captain Underpants and Lunch Lady graphic novels, this goofy royal romp features nine-year-old Edwin, a.k.a King Flashypants, whose kingdom is threatened by villainous Emperor Nurbison and his fearsome dragon (well, his cow with wings and other accoutrements).







Dowell, Frances O’Roark. Sam the Man & the Rutabaga Plan; illus. by Amy June Bates. Dlouhy/Atheneum, 2017. Gr. 2-3.

Sam gets stuck with the seemingly boring rutabaga for a science class project but bonds fiercely with the vegetable after his sister draws a smiley face on it; kid logic, kid humor, and a sympathetic if strange friendship make this a standout among chapter books.






See our Gryphon Award Archive page for all past award winners and honor books since the award was first granted in 2004.


About the Gryphon Award

Origin and Purpose

The Gryphon Award of $1,000 is given annually in recognition of an English language work of fiction or non-fiction for which the primary audience is children in Kindergarten through Grade 4. The title chosen best exemplifies those qualities that successfully bridge the gap in difficulty between books for reading aloud to children and books for practiced readers.

The Gryphon Award was conceived as a way to focus attention on an area of literature for youth that, despite being crucial to the successful transition of new readers to independent lifelong readers, does not get the critical recognition it deserves.

The award is sponsored by the Center for Children’s Books at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Award Committee

The award committee consists of 4-6 members drawn from the youth services faculty of the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the editorial staff of the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, local public and school librarians, and the library and education community at large.

Announcement of the Gryphon Award

The award winner and honor books are announced each year on February 1 or the closest Monday following.


Terms, Criteria, and Entry

Award Criteria

Selection criteria for the Gryphon Award include but are not limited to:

  • excellence of presentation for target audience
  • distinctive literary quality and appropriateness of style
  • for non-fiction, the presentation of information including accuracy, clarity and organization
  • exceptional integration of text, illustration, and design

Eligibility and Terms

  • Books to be considered for this award must be published in the calendar year preceding the presentation of the award.
  • The award is given for a single publication, not for the body of an author/illustrator’s work.
  • The work must be notable and contribute to the world of children’s literature.
  • Only original works written for children will be considered.
  • Textbooks will not be considered.
  • Books should be written for an audience of children grades K-4.
  • English language works of fiction and non-fiction are eligible.
  • The book must be a self-contained entity, not dependent on other media (i.e., sound or film equipment) for its enjoyment.
  • In the event of a dispute as to eligibility, the committee will decide whether a book is eligible.

Entry Guidelines

Publishers may submit English language books with scheduled first-run publication dates between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018 Entries may be submitted as finished proofs, bound galleys, and bound manuscripts.

Please send 2 copies of each submission to:

The Center for Children’s Books
501 E. Daniel Street
Champaign, IL 61820
Attn: Gryphon Award Committee

Submissions must be postmarked by December 1, 2018.

Additional titles may be nominated for consideration by members of the Gryphon Award Committee.