The Cartwheel Book Awards was started locally in 2013 at the Bellingham, MA Public Library, but committee members now are from all around the country. The awards are named after the cartwheel statue that resides outside the library's entrance. The initial purpose of the Cartwheel Book Awards was to connect middle grade readers to good books they might not otherwise have found. In 2020, we expanded to have two different age groups of Cartwheel Book Awards: Middle Grade (ages 8-12) and Middle School (ages 10-14).
We select ten books in a variety of genres each year for consideration - aspiring to find the right mixture between kid appeal and writing quality. Each chosen book is published during the previous year. For example, books published in the U.S. in 2019 will be considered by the Cartwheel Readers in 2020 and the winners will be awarded 2021 Cartwheel Book Awards in early 2021.
Rather than just the typical voting for Favorite Book only, the Cartwheel Book Awards have four different categories for readers to consider: Favorite Book, Best Written, Favorite Character (we award two of these), and Best Ending. After voting is completed, we contact the winning authors and ask them to send in acceptance speeches - either via email or video. The overwhelmingly grateful responses we have received from authors has led to an unexpected second purpose of the Cartwheel Book Awards: connecting readers and authors, and particularly reminding the kids that their opinions matter to the authors. We are always looking for new readers from all over the country. Join now!