Summer Reading: Sunshine State Young Reader Awards

SSYRA blog coverI don’t know about you, but I look forward to May each and every year!  Why, you ask?

Picture this: children standing outside the public library’s automatic sliding doors during the month of May. Sweat beading down their young faces as they grip in their hands the list of all lists, the Sunshine State Young Reader Awards (SSYRA) book list for 2014! Will my book be on the shelf?

The Sunshine State books are coveted and hoarded by children all over the state of Florida each year. These titles literally fly off the shelves of stores and public libraries. Libraries have wait lists 50 students long waiting for the popular titles to come available. Amazon.com stocks up on these books and Barnes & Noble piles these books 10 deep on tables with the title “Sunshine State Award Books” each summer knowing families are looking specifically for these hot titles!

There are two Sunshine State book lists: one for elementary grades and one for middle school grades.  The elementary titles are great for students in grade 3-5 and the middle school novels are selected for readers in grades 6-8. Each list represents the best in young literature and there are typically a dozen titles or more nominated to each list.

How are these books selected? The Florida Association for Media in Education team receives nominations from librarians and teachers from across Florida that must match very specific and clear criteria:

– Be Fiction.

– Have an author who lives in North America.

– Be appropriate for students from all around Florida in grades 3 to 5 and/or 6 to 8.

– Have a Copyright Date of 2010 or Later.

After a voting process, the lists are created.

Florida Virtual School has had the honor of having authors from the Sunshine State Young Reader Award list address our students at the Celebrate Literacy Week event held in January each year, including:

– Tommy Greenwald – Charlie Joe Jackson Guide to Not Reading (2013)

– P.W. Cantanese – Happanstance Found (2013)

– Danette Vigilante – Trouble with a Half Moon (2013)

– Rodman Philbrick – The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg (2013)

– Enrique Flores-Galbis – 90 Miles to Havana (2013)

Click here for the 2014 Sunshine State Young Reader Awards book lists and encourage your children to pick up a few of these titles this summer and extend their love of reading! If you need assistance selecting interesting and grade appropriate titles for your child please reach out to your FLVS Literacy Coaches!


Dr. Jeanne GiardinoDr. Jeanne Giardino, FLVS Parenting Skills instructor, has a true passion for all things literacy. She enjoys the collaborative process in promoting reading in all aspects of virtual education. Having held a variety of positions with FLVS since 2006, she brings a global perspective to her current position. After 20 years in the field of education, she maintains a wealth of literacy knowledge and enthusiasm for student success.



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