The Center for Children's Books

Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Gryphon Award

About the Gryphon Award

Origin and purpose of the award:

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 Graduate School of Library and Information Science 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 Graduate School of Library and Information Science 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.


2015 Winners

Choose another award year to view past winners:

2015 Gryphon Award Book:

Cover image from Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett

English, Karen. Skateboard Party; illus. by Laura Freeman. Clarion, 2014 (The Carver Chronicles). Gr. 3-5.

English not only knows her grade-school kids but also her grade-school classrooms, and the result is a school and family story that contemporary kids will instantly recognize; the appealing protagonist’s struggle with procrastination is matter-of-factly but sympathetically treated, and it will strike a chord with many readers.


2015 Honor Books:

Cover image of Year of the Jungle by Suzanne Collins

Chin, Jason. Gravity; written and illus. by Jason Chin. Porter/Roaring Brook, 2014. 4-7 yrs.

Chin’s straightforward scientific text is clear and accessible to novice readers, and they’ll be supported and intrigued by the complementary narrative in the illustrations that turns the simple facts of gravity into a kid’s dramatic adventure when gravity suddenly fails.

Cover image for Like Bug Juice on a Burger by Julie Sternberg
Gravel, Elise. The Slug; written and illus. by Elise Gravel. Tundra, 2014 (Disgusting Critters). Gr. 1-4.

The Disgusting Critters series is a triumphant blend of grossness, information, and goofy humor in text and art; our choice for its best representative is The Slug, whose starring mollusc offers animatedly commentary in the illustrations as the main text cheerfully explains slug habits, slug biology, and, of course, slug slime.

Cover image of Lulu and the Dog from the Sea by Hilary McKay

Orchard, Eric. Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch; written and illus. by Eric Orchard. Top Shelf, 2014. Gr. 2-4.

This galloping fantasy adventure in graphic novel form provides a level of action unusual in a book for early readers; the sophisticated and atmospheric visuals will especially draw movie-loving kids, and they effectively partner the accessible, dialogue-only text.