Right-winger Rush Limbaugh is better known for his political grandstanding and extremely popular talk-radio show “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” But Limbaugh—along with authors Rick Riordan of the “Percy Jackson” series (Puffin), Veronica Roth of the “Divergent” series (HarperCollins), and Rachel Renee Russell of the “Dork Diaries” series (S&S)—are all amongst this year’s finalists for Author of the Year in the Children’s and Teen’s Choice Book Awards (CCBA), where the winning titles are selected by children and teens.
A complete list of this year’s finalists can be found here.
The politico’s inclusion in the CCBA’s Best Author of the Year category surprised many—and sparked outrage. (Like the outrage expressed in a March 22 Huffington Post article entitled “We Live In A World Where Rush Limbaugh Might Win A Children’s Book Award.”) The CBC moved to quell the reaction of Limbaugh’s inclusion by emphasizing, “Ultimately, kids and teens will decide who wins.”
But, according to the CCBA, the criteria the organization has used in the past seven years of its existence for its finalist selections is based on the titles’s “performances on the bestseller lists.” Limbaugh’s Rush Revere and The Brave Pilgrims: Time Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans (S&S, 2013) has been on the New York Times bestseller list for the past 20 weeks.
“I am completely honored and thrilled to be nominated,” Limbaugh told School Library Journal. “This adventure series is a labor of love, written for younger generations with the hope that they learn more about the history of this amazing country in a fun and positive way.”
The award program was created in 2008 by the Children’s Book Council (CBC) and Every Child a Reader (ECAR), a foundation dedicated toward creating a love of reading in children administered by the CBC. The CCBA winners are selected by children and teens who vote online in each of the six categories: Author of the Year, Illustrator of the Year, Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year, Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year, Fifth to Sixth Grade Book of the Year, and Teen Book of the Year.
Last year over one million votes were cast.
Of the 30 books nominated, there are many names that are familiar to the lovers of children’s books. Jeff Kinney has been a finalist in the Author of the Year category every year since the award’s inception, and he won in both 2012 and 2013. Ellen Hopkins is also no stranger to the award, having been previously nominated. This year, she was nominated for Smoke (S&S, 2013) a sequel to Burned (S&S, 2006), a sequel she never planned to write.
“My readers convinced me I really needed to, and that makes this mean even more,” says Hopkins. “Not only were they right, but they love the way the story now ends.”
First-time finalist, Sergio Ruzzier, was flabbergasted when he learned of the selection of his work Bear and Bee (Disney, 2013) in the Kindergarten to Second Grade category.
“I feel I’ve already won a wonderful award, with my book being chosen directly by the children as one of their favorite five of the year.”
(The finalists in the graded categories are selected by preliminary voting by children conducted by the International Reading Association.)
Ruzzier hopes that this means that kids liked Bear and Bee, and the way the two become friends after a dramatic—and ridiculous—start. Voting for the CCBA starts Tuesday, March 25 and ends Monday, May 12 at ccbookawards.com.