“The Wild Robot,” the tale of a vending machine’s struggle for survival on an island inhabited by animals, was selected 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-class books for the 2021-22 award. The award is decided by votes from students in grades 4-6 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’m thrilled and honored that young readers around Massachusetts chose ‘The Wild Robot,'” Brown said in a statement. “I hope the book triggers many interesting conversations in classrooms and libraries and homes across the state.”
The Massachusetts Children’s Book Award, sponsored by Salem State University, has been running since 1975. In addition to voting on which book to win during the month of April, it helps students choose the nominated titles.
“Students’ enthusiasm and passion for reading is contagious,” Amy-Jo Conant, librarian at Fishing 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 they would never have chosen 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 this year’s winner to the festival to receive the award, to get to talk to some of these kids,” said Boston Book Festival’s new CEO, 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, among others, Adrianna Cuevas with a winner to be announced next spring.
The winner of the 2020-21 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 firstname.lastname@example.org