Judging Info


Who’s eligible: Anyone who contributes regularly to a blog (including Goodreads, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, and TikTok) about any aspect of children’s or young adult literature. Regularly pretty much means at least once a month or so, but there are always exceptions. Ask us if you’re not sure.

You must also be at least 16 years old before Oct. 1st. If you’re under 18, we’ll likely ask for an email from a parent saying that you understand the work involved.

How to sign up: Just fill out this form, but first read below. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

Oh, and don’t email us to apply. The form is all you need.

There are two rounds of judging, and two types of judges. Please read the instructions below before signing up.



  1. Panelists are first-round judges. You start work when nominations open on October 1st, sifting through scores of nominated books in your chosen genre.
  2. You’ll join a Google Group or similar email-based list and use a database to keep track of what you’ve read.
  3. Although we make every effort to obtain review copies for you, you will be expected to befriend your local librarian. This may mean working the interlibrary loan system to nab a copy. You may also have to stake out a cozy spot on the floor of your local bookstore (though we can’t reimburse you for purchases).
  4. One word: ebooks. Get used to them! Publishers are getting stingy with the dead tree kind.
  5. We no longer have a 50-page rule. Each panel commits only to making sure every nominated book is read at least partway in by at least one person. You can set the book aside if it clearly isn’t competitive with other nominated titles. This prevents wasting time on marginal books.
  6. All panelists are expected to completely read all serious shortlist contenders unless they just can’t find a copy. This may mean that you’ll have to read and impartially judge books that don’t fit with your worldview.
  7. You turn in a shortlist of 5-7 titles in late December and then collapse in an exhausted heap. This isn’t an exaggeration!



  1. Judges pick up where panelists leave off. You start work on Jan. 1 and will present us with a winner before Feb. 14th.
  2. While we make a Herculean effort to get review copies to you extra speedy fast, it is UP TO YOU to make sure you read EVERY SINGLE BOOK ON THE SHORTLIST in a timely fashion. We have plenty of librarian volunteers who can familiarize you with interlibrary loans, and there’s always that cozy spot on the floor of your bookstore of choice. Sorry for the harsh tone, but it’s been an issue, y’know?
  3. You don’t need to be Super Extrovert Blabbermouth, but you should be willing to engage the other judges as soon as you’ve read 2 or 3 of the finalists. Jump in there. Go ahead. Please.

Getting rejected:

Please don’t stop the love if we cannot find a place for you on a panel. We’re not judging your looks. It doesn’t mean all your blogging efforts have come to naught.

But, yes, it’s ultimately a subjective decision who to take on and where to place them. We wish we could place everyone, but sometimes we just can’t. 

One final note: This is a TON of work. Honest.

But loads of fun too.