Charlie May Simon Book Award

Charlie May Simon medal

The Charlie May Simon Children’s Book Award for children’s literature has been presented annually since 1971 to an author whose book has been selected through a vote taken by Arkansas school children in grades four, five and six. The purpose of the award is to promote better reading for children and to recognize Mrs. John Gould Fletcher, an outstanding Arkansas author who wrote under the pen name Charlie May Simon.


2019-2020 Award Delayed

Due to the pandemic, voting on the 2020 reading list is postponed until this fall to allow more students to participate.

All schools and public libraries will be notified once schools are back in session and plans for the new vote are in place. Online ballots and school tabulation sheets will be available at that time.

Schools may direct questions about the voting process to Cassandra Barnett at the Arkansas Department of Education.


Reading Selection & Awards Process

The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), the Arkansas State Library, and the Arkansas Reading Association are pleased to announce the annual selection process for the Charlie May Simon Book Award.

Titles are selected by the reading committee per established guidelines. Anyone interested in serving on the reading committee can contact Ruth Hyatt at ruth.hyatt@arkansas.gov for more information.

Voting

The Charlie May Simon Award winner is selected by an annual vote. Children in Grades 4-6 must have read or been read at least three of the titles from the annual reading list and may vote for one title. Student voting takes place in May each year.

Teachers and library media specialists have an opportunity to engage children with reading by choosing selected books from this year’s list to read aloud in class.

This year the votes for both awards will be submitted electronically. Online ballots may be reproduced by the schools and used onsite for student voting. Votes should then be tallied in each school and total votes for each title entered electronically on the tally sheets. Compiled results can be submitted online according to established schedule.


About Charlie May Simon

Charlie May Simon was born August 17, 1897, at Monticello, Arkansas, but moved to Memphis at an early age. She attended Memphis State University, Stanford University and the Chicago Art Institute. She returned to Arkansas after she married John Gould Fletcher in 1936. Throughout her lifetime, Mrs. Fletcher traveled extensively, gathering information for her many prize winning biographies. She lived at Johnswood, her home in Little Rock, until her death in 1977.

During her distinguished career, Charlie May Simon wrote over 27 books for children and young adults. Her first work, Robin on the Mountain, was published in 1934 and is considered a classic in children’s literature. Other works include Straw in the Sun, All Men are Brothers, and Faith has Need of All the Truth.

For more information about the program, contact: