Since 1982, the Nebraska Golden Sower Award has sought to sow seeds which stimulate children's thinking, introduce different types of literature, encourage independent reading, increase library skills, and foster an appreciation for excellence in writing and illustrating.
In 2016, the committee revised the categories of books in order to better describe the generally intended reading levels of the program. The three categories are now: Picture Books: (formerly Primary) generally appropriate for K-2 children; Chapter Books: (formerly Intermediate) intended to be appropriate for grades 3-5; Novel: (formerly young adult) appropriate for grades 6-8.
The list of winning Golden Sower Award titles includes some of the best in children’s literature. Some authors have won more than once; many who have travelled to Nebraska have also conducted author visits to schools and libraries and signing engagements in bookstores as part of their itinerary. Winners include: Judy Blume, Gary Paulsen, Mary Downing Hahn, Jane Yolen, Carl Deuker, Helen Lester, Ann Jonas, Rosemary Wells, Joanna Cole, Stephen Gammell, Ivy Ruckman, Tom Birdseye, Lois Lowry, Bill Wallace, Joan Lowery Nixon, James Howe, Neal Shusterman, Lynn Munsinger, and Jerry Pinkney, to name a few.
Committee members, teachers, and librarians have wonderful stories to share about how participation in the program or having visits from these authors and illustrators have enhanced and influenced the lives of children and adults across the state. The positive impact of the Golden Sower Award over the past 40-plus years of its existence is immeasurable.
The 2023-24 nominees for all three categories are listed below.