‘The Wild Robot,’ the story of an automaton’s struggle for survival on an animal-inhabited island, has been chosen by young readers to win this year’s Massachusetts Children’s Book Award.
The science fiction book, written and illustrated by Peter Brown, competed with 24 other mid-level books for the 2021-22 prize. The award is decided by the votes of students in grades 4 through 6 at schools across the state. “The Wild Robot” was published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in 2016, and was released in paperback in April 2020, along with a sequel, “The Wild Robot Escapes.”
“I am thrilled and honored that young Massachusetts readers have chosen ‘The Wild Robot,'” Brown said in a statement. “I hope the book sparks many great conversations in classrooms, libraries, and homes across the state.”
The Massachusetts Children’s Book Award, sponsored by Salem State University, has been held since 1975. In addition to voting on which book should win during the month of April, students help choose the nominated titles.
“Students’ enthusiasm and passion for reading is infectious,” Amy-Jo Conant, librarian at Fiske Elementary School in Lexington, said in a statement. “One of the best parts of the program is that many students end up branching out and reading books that they would never have chosen on their own.”
Young readers will have the chance to hear Brown at the Boston Book Festival this fall in Copley Square. “We have a partnership with them to bring this year’s award winner to the festival to receive the award, to speak to some of these kids,” said new Boston Book Festival executive director Gina Gagliano. “We’re really excited about it.”
The 2022-23 nominees, announced this week, include “Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids” by Cynthia Leitich Smith; “The List of Things That Won’t Change” by Rebecca Stead; and “The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez” by Adrianna Cuevas, among others, with a winner to be announced next spring.
The 2020-21 winner of the award was “Front Desk” by Kelly Yang. A list of previous winners can be found at minlib.net/booklists/kids-and-teens/mass-book-winners.
Dana Gerber can be contacted at email@example.com