About the Golden Sower Program

The History of the Golden Sower Program

On top of the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln, stands a 19,000 pound, bronze statue known as the Sower. He stands barefoot and without hat, sowing seeds in the most primitive manner. He is symbolic of the state of Nebraska as a major agricultural state. He is not merely sowing seeds of grain, but something much greater. He is the symbol of sowing the seeds of agriculture, life, hope and prosperity.

The Sower, sculpted by Lee Lawrie, was chosen as the symbol of the Nebraska children's choice literary award for similar reasons.

The award's sponsors, the Nebraska Library Association, hope the program will sow seeds which:

• stimulate children's thinking

• introduce different types of literature

• encourage independent reading

• increase library skills

• foster an appreciation for excellence in writing and illustrating.

Whether readers are seeking information or reading for pleasure, quality literature presented through the Nebraska Golden Sower Award program will enrich the lives of Nebraska's children and sow seeds of the future. You are invited to learn more about the history of the Golden Sower Award program.

Nebraska's young readers are encouraged to visit their local public library or school library to find out how they can participate and vote in the Nebraska Golden Sower Award program.

The Nebraska Golden Sower Award program was initiated by Karla Hawkins Wendelin and Dee Storey at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Three children's choice awards are presented annually:

Picture Book category: titles appropriate for grades kindergarten through 2

Chapter Book Grades category: titles appropriate for grades 3 through 5

Golden Sower Novel category: titles appropriate for grades 6 through 8

First presented in 1981, the award honored Deborah and James Howe for Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery. The single category, Intermediate Grades (now called Chapter Book category), drew 4,185 readers/voters.

The first picture book award in the Primary (now called Picture Book) category, was awarded in 1983 to author Judy Barrett and illustrator Ron Barrett for their book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. With the addition of the Intermediate category, votes grew to 18,238.

The Young Adult (now called Golden Sower Novel) category was added in the fall of 1992. The first Young Adult award was presented to Joan Lowery Nixon in 1993 for Whispers From the Dead. Vote totals reached 59,688!

Thousands of Nebraska's students participate in the Golden Sower Award program each year as evidenced by the program's annual voting records. The 2013-2014 program set a new voting record with more than 75,000 votes.

The winners are announced in May.

The award is presented annually at the Fall Conference sponsored by Nebraska Library Association (NLA) and Nebraska School Librarians Association (formerly NEMA). The Golden Sower Virtual Museum documents winning authors' and illustrators' response to receiving the Golden Sower Award.