The Georgia Children's Book Award was established in 1968 by Sheldon Root, Professor of the Department of Language Education in the College of Education at the University of Georgia in Athens. The purpose of the award is to foster a love of reading in the children of Georgia, and to introduce them to books of literary excellence. The award is given in two categories – picture books and children's novels. Books are nominated for the awards by teachers and media specialists from around the state of Georgia. The final lists of 20 nominees are selected by a committee of teachers and media specialists which also is chaired by a member of the faculty from the Department of Language and Literacy Education.
Teachers and librarians are encouraged to present the books in appealing and meaningful ways, to read the books aloud, and to develop activities that will connect the literature to the curriculum.
Media specialists have the opportunity to register their school library as a voting site. Throughout the year, the media specialists and teachers are asked to present the books from the list of nominees to their students. In March, the students will vote on which books they think should win for the individual categories.
The books receiving the most votes from children in grades K-4 (picture book category) and 4-8 (novel category) are the winners. The authors and illustrators of the winning books are often featured speakers at the annual Conference on Children’s Literature held at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education in Athens, Georgia.