The Virginia Hamilton Conference Advisory Board offers several awards to recognize those who make contributions to the field of multicultural literature for youth.

The Virginia Hamilton Literary Award

Established in 1998 by the Advisory Board of Kent State University’s Virginia Hamilton Conference, this award recognizes an American author or illustrator whose books demonstrate artistic excellence and make a significant contribution to the field of multicultural literature for children and adolescents. The award is conferred at the Virginia Hamilton Conference.

The Virginia Hamilton Literary Award is sponsored by the Cleveland Public Library, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Hamilton Arts Inc., NEO Regional Library System,and the Cleveland Public Library.

For further information, contact conference co-director Meghan Harper, Ph.D.

Previous Literary Award winners

The Virginia Hamilton Essay Award

Established in 1991, the Virginia Hamilton Essay Award recognizes a journal article published in a given year which makes a significant contribution to professional literature concerning multicultural literary experiences for youth. Members of the Virginia Hamilton Conference Advisory Board select the winning essay from among those which were nominated.

For more information or nominations, contact conference co-director Meghan Harper, Ph.D.

Previous Essay Award winners

The Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff Creative Outreach Grants for Teachers and Librarians

The Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff Creative Outreach Grants for Teachers and Librarians awards two grants of up to $1,000 each. One grant is given to a teacher and another to a librarian for proposals to develop new classroom or library programs that raise awareness of multicultural literature among young people; particularly but not exclusively through the works of Virginia Hamilton.

The application deadline for the 2020 awards is February 28, 2020. Complete instructions and proposal guidelines are available on the Grant Application. For more information, contact conference co-director Meghan Harper, Ph.D.

Creative Outreach Grant information and application (pdf)   Previous Creative Outreach Grant winners

The Arnold Adoff Poetry Awards

First awarded in 2016, the Arnold Adoff Poetry Awards seek to recognize excellence in multicultural poetry for youth, for readers at the primary level, middle level, and teens. The awards also hope to inspire a poet early in his or her career with the “New Voices” award. The purpose of the awards is to highlight the power of poetry, encourage publishers to publish works of poetry from a variety of perspectives, commend poets for various student populations, and encourage the reading of poetry. Four awards are announced yearly at the Virginia Hamilton Conference.

Award winners each receive a check for $500, a certificate, and an award, affectionately named the “Rudini” to honor Rudine Sims Bishop, professor emerita from The Ohio State University.  An author, historian, and foremost expert on African American youth literature, she has been a tireless activist for more than 50 years in the struggles for diversity and excellence. Honor Award recipients receive a certificate.

The Arnold Adoff Poetry Awards will resume in 2020, after a one-year hiatus. For the 2020 awards, books published in 2017, 2018, AND 2019 will be eligible. Books published in any of these years may be submitted at any time. To be considered for the 2020 awards, books must be sent/postmarked by December 1, 2019. The 2020 awards will be announced at the conference on Thursday, April 30, 2020.

For more information, contact conference co-director Alexa Sandmann, Ph.D.

Arnold Adoff Poetry Awards submission form (pdf)   Previous Arnold Adoff Poetry Award winners