The California Young Reader Medal program encourages recreational reading of popular literature among the young people of California. Since its inception in 1974, millions of California children have nominated, read, and voted for the winners of the California Young Reader Medal.
Young people recommend the titles of their favorite books for nomination, or teachers and librarians note repeatedly read or requested titles, and these are submitted to the California Young Reader Medal Committee. Members of the committee read the suggested books, discuss their merits and appeal to children, and then decide upon a well-balanced list of nominees.
To be considered for nomination, a book must be an original work of fiction published within the last four years by a living author. Recommendations for nomination are due each year by April 1 for consideration as a nominee the following year. It is a two-year cycle from the time of nomination by students to the presentation of the California Young Reader medal to the winning authors and illustrators.