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Child-choice state book awards are a double-edged sword. On one hand they are popular with children and librarians and they provide an invitation to reading. (Jordan, 1979) On the other hand, they are criticized for being popularity contests with lists of nominees that often overlook the better books. Detractors feel that titles in state book award programs are assumed to be of lesser quality than the national winners such as Newbery or Caldecott books. Opponents also believe that children are incapable of making decisions/judgments regarding literary quality when voting for a state book award winner. (Kaye, 1984) One critic noted that "if the matter were food and the children selected 'Twinkies' over fresh fruit, no nutritionist would be asked to kowtow to the choice." (Gerhardt, 1982) However, inasmuch as there are some 23 state and one regional child-choice award programs, the issue gains importance.

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