The Garden State Children's Book Awards were established in 1977 to honor books for younger readers. The Children's Services Section (CSS) of the New Jersey Library Association felt that books for the early and middle grades seldom received proper recognition. Yet it is at this age, more than any other, that the potential reader needs to be encouraged, stimulated and captivated by the printed work and good illustration. The winners are chosen by a committee of the Children's Services Section of the New Jersey Library Association on the basis of literary merit and popularity with readers. The awards are given to both author and illustrator in four categories: "Easy to Read" as specifically designated by the publisher, "Easy to Read Series", Fiction and Nonfiction for younger children in grades 2-5.