“The Wild Robot,” the tale of an automaton’s struggle for survival on an island inhabited by animals, was 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 middle grade books for the 2021-22 prize. The award is decided by votes from students in grades 4-6 at schools throughout 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’m thrilled and honored that young readers around Massachusetts chose ‘The Wild Robot,'” Brown said in a statement. “I hope the book sparks many interesting conversations in classrooms and libraries and homes across the state.”
The Massachusetts Children’s Book Award, sponsored by Salem State University, has run since 1975. In addition to voting on which book should win during the month of April, students help to pick the nominated titles.
“Students’ excitement and passion for reading are contagious,” said Amy-Jo Conant, librarian for Fiske Elementary School in Lexington, in a statement. “One of the best parts of the program is that many students end up branching out and reading books they never would have chosen for themselves.”
Young readers will have a chance to hear from Brown at this fall’s Boston Book Festival in Copley Square. “We have a partnership with them to bring the winner of this year’s award to the festival to receive the award, to get to talk to some of these kids,” said the Boston Book Festival’s new 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 Will Not 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 reached at [email protected]