FOCAL      Friends of Children and Literature

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The FOCAL Award was instituted by Janet McOuat, a founding member of the Friends of Children and Literature. The award, which is presented annually to children's books with California content, was first given to Leo Politi whose charming illustration of reading children has become the FOCAL logo.
Annotated FOCAL Award List on LAPL's KidsPath.

Each year a group of teachers, librarians, writers and others interested in children's literature meets to determine the new FOCAL winner. The winning author is presented with the award -- a unique puppet representing a character from their award-winning book which has been created for them by Carol Onofrio and is now being created by Jesse Kingsley.

Also present at the awards luncheon are children who have won the FOCAL essay contest, their teacher, and a parent.

book cover

The 2018 FOCAL Award winner was...
Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh
written by Uma Krishnaswami

View the LAPL catalog page.

Nine-year-old Maria Singh learns to play softball just like her heroes in the All-American Girls' League, while her parents and neighbors are struggling through World War II, working for India's independence, and trying to stay on their farmland

The 39th annual FOCAL award event will be held on Saturday, December 8, 2018 at Smeraldi’s Restaurant in the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.

FOCAL Award Committee 2018

Carol Raby - Chair of the Award Committee Library Events Specialist, Loyola Marymount University; previously LAUSD Magnet School Library Manager
Michele Marot MS Math/Science Teacher, retired; Battle of the Books
Meredith McGowan Children’s Librarian, Pacoima Branch Library, LAPL
Marlin More Teacher Librarian District Supervisor, LAUSD, retired
Laurie Reese Children’s Librarian, Felipe de Neve Branch Library, LAPL
Kadie Seitz Children’s Librarian, Memorial Branch, LAPL
Judy Toebe MLIS Adjunct Librarian Long Beach City College
Brooke Sheets - Ex-officio Committee Participant Senior Librarian, Children’s Literature Department, LAPL Central Library
Caroline Gill, Ex-officio Committee Participant FOCAL President, Venice HS Teacher Librarian, LAUSD