Literary Award Programs
Charlie May Simon Children's Book Award
The Charlie May Simon Book Award was created to promote reading, discussion of books and quality children's literature for students in Grades 4-6. Charlie May Hogue Fletcher (Charlie May Simon/Mrs. John Gould Fletcher) was born in Monticello, Arkansas, August 18, 1897. Ms. Simon spent her childhood in Memphis, Tennessee, and attended Memphis State University, Stanford University, Chicago Art Institute and Le Grand Chaumiere in Paris. She traveled extensively in her earlier years, teaching English literature, American poetry, and English composition for three years at a university in Japan. After 1941 she and her husband lived at Johnswood, a secluded house on Cantrell Road in Little Rock. Honors bestowed to Charlie May Simon have included the Albert Schweitzer Book Prize for A Seed Shall Serve, honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Arkansas in 1960, and Charles and Bertie G. Schwartz Award of the Jewish Book Council of America in 1970 for Martin Buber.
Each year, intermediate grade students read from a list of recommended titles and cast a ballot for their favorite book. Ballots are distributed in early spring by a Commissioner's Memo posted on the Web. The winning author receives the Charlie May Simon Medallion during an annual fall celebration.
Arkansas Diamond Book Award
The Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award made its debut in 1998. The award was established to encourage reading for students in Grades K-3. In its first year, more than 52,000 Arkansas primary students participated in the voting process. This award follows the same procedures used in selecting the Charlie May Simon Award.
Arkansas Teen Book Award
The Arkansas Teen Book award recognizes books in two divisions: Level 1, grades 7-9 and Level 2, grades 10-12. The books chosen for the final teen reading lists were read and voted on by teachers and librarians across Arkansas. Students vote at their school library or a local public library for their favorite book from the list of nominated titles.