Island libraries, inspired by children’s book awards such as the Lupine Award and Vermont’s Red Clover Award, have launched their own children’s book award. As imagined by Susan Dempster, the Vinalhaven School librarian, the Golden Trap Award will be an opportunity for island children in grades kindergarten through four to voice their opinions on the best children’s picture book.

The purpose of the award, according to Dempster, is “to bring the island schools together in a noncompetitive way, and to involve kids in a fun project in reading through the library.”

Referring to a statewide book award, Dempster notes that “the Maine Student Book Award has taken off with our fourth through eighth graders, and we wanted to find something for the younger kids.” The picture book format was chosen because it allowed even very young children to participate.

Each year a committee of island librarians will nominate ten books for consideration while following a chosen theme. The theme for this first year is “Life by the Ocean.” Books do not have to be about Maine; books from other cultures or parts of the country are encouraged. Each island will take a turn “hosting” the award, which entails organizing and promoting the award and counting votes. Currently, only North Haven, Vinalhaven and Long Island schools are participating. If you are an island library (school or public) and would like to take part in this inaugural award, please contact Susan Dempster at Vinalhaven School at . Libraries who cannot participate this year are encouraged to think about joining next year.

Cherie Gaylean is an Island Institute Fellow working on Vinalhaven