Gryphon Award

 2017 Winners | About the Gryphon AwardTerms, Criteria, and Entry | Archive

2017 Winners

2017 Gryphon Award Winner

Urban, Linda. Weekends with Max and His Dad; illus. by Katie Kath. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. Gr. 2-4.

“Urban’s book is an absolutely classic chapter book, yet it’s also completely contemporary,” said Stevenson. “Third-grader Max is adjusting to the new reality of his parents’ divorce in this story focused on the time he spends with his father, and Urban deftly employs small details and pays careful attention to Max’s emotions as father and son forge their relationship on new grounds. The prose is inviting and cozy, humorous and respectful, with a smooth flow and careful pacing that will give transitional readers plenty of momentum and frequent rewards.”




2017 Honor Books

Dowell, Frances O’Roark.
Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan; illus. by Amy June Bates. Dlouhy/Atheneum, 2016. Gr. 2-3.

Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan (Dlouhy/Atheneum), written by Frances O’Roark Dowell and illustrated by Amy June, features young Sam and his efforts to become a “chicken expert” with his acquisition of Helga, a hen reputed to lay blue eggs. Brief chapters and a spirited cast of characters lend a simple ease to this story.


Raczka, Bob.
Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems. Roaring Brook, 2016. Gr. 2-5.

Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems (Roaring Brook), by Bob Raczka, offers poetry that packs a double punch—first with the deft shaping of the verses themselves, and secondly with visual twists built into each piece, using pictographic clues to help young readers along.



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, 2017 and December 31, 2017 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, 2017.

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