Gryphon Award

 2019 Winners | About the Gryphon AwardTerms, Criteria, and Entry | Archive

2019 Winners

2019 Gryphon Award Winner

Selznick, Brian. Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin; illus. by Brian Selznick. Scholastic, 2018. Gr. 1-3

“By making a few tweaks to familiar formats, Selznick and Serlin have created something new and irresistible,” said Deborah Stevenson.  “  Playful pages with huge print are paced for maximum momentum as the titular detective solves five different goofy mysteries, stopping along the way to have a snack and put on his pants. It’s a title that will segue neatly from readaloud to readalone and invite savvy older sibs to share reading with kids just getting the hang of narrative literacy.  Selznick’s soft grayscale pencil art, with significant items picked out in red, maximizes the cuteness factor on Baby Monkey but also throws in sophisticated details (identified in a concluding key) that foreshadow each mystery and add seek-and-find entertainment for readers and their grownups.”





2019 Honor Books

Perkins, Lynne Rae. 
Secret Sisters of the Salty Sea; written and illus. by Lynne Rae Perkins. Greenwillow/HarperCollins, 2018. Gr. 2-4

Readers join Alix, her older sister, and their parents on a summer beach vacation for sunny days, yummy sweets, and family time.  Perkins (who also illustrates in homey vignettes) writes with confiding intimacy and thoughtful accessibility; although there’s clear story arc, the chapters are each satisfying adventures in their own right, giving readers plenty of breathing space.







Scanlon, Liz GartonDear Substitute; by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick; illus. by Chris Raschka. Disney Hyperion, 2018. Gr. 1-2

In sixteen short entries written in direct address, our narrator chronicles the various disruptions and oddities that occur when a substitute comes to class, from troubles with the student roster to missed library time to changed class rules. Big print, simple vocabulary, and Raschka’s eye-catching watercolors make this an excellent choice for young readers.






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, 2019 and December 31, 2019. 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, 2019.

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