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ILA Choices Reading Lists Live on With New Name, New Home

By Lara Deloza
 | Feb 14, 2023

In June 2020, conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic caused ILA to pause the popular Choices reading program. When it was clear that the ongoing disruptions to in-person schooling and necessary safety precautions once buildings reopened would make it near impossible to resume the project, the International Literacy Association (ILA) made the difficult decision to let it go.

Retiring Choices, however, was not an option. ILA was determined to rehome the reading lists—which launched in 1974 with Children’s Choices and later expanded to include Young Adults’ Choices and Teachers’ Choices—with an organization that would honor the spirit of the program and produce lists with the respect and care they deserved. The obvious choice: The Children’s Book Council (CBC). For years, CBC cosponsored the Children’s Choices list, and in 2019 it also began cosponsoring its counterpart for young adults.

In June 2021, a year after announcing the COVID pause, ILA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) granting CBC full permission to give the Choices project a second life.

CBC Executive Director Carl Lennertz said his organization’s top goal was “to maintain the success and qualities of ILA’s Choices programs and build on the reach of the programs by expanding participation while developing sustainable processes.”

Fast forward to May 2022, when—after months of gathering feedback from the Choices volunteer network and other key stakeholders—CBC relaunched the project as the Favorites Lists.

Like Choices, the Favorites Lists are curated by readers themselves. CBC recruited 80 review teams spanning schools, public libraries, and independent bookstores across the United States. Through a revamped process, the organization was able to put 1,500 books—roughly 100 copies of each publisher-submitted title—into the hands of readers across the country.

The first annotated collection of Children’s Favorites, Young Adult Favorites, and Teacher Favorites Lists are set to publish in May 2023. 

Lennertz says that CBC feels “a great debt of gratitude” for ILA and the decades invested in the three Choices lists, which Lennertz characterizes as a “go-to resource for educators, librarians, and caregivers.”

The feeling is mutual. “We are thrilled that the Children’s Book Council will carry on the Choices tradition,” says ILA Executive Director Nicola Wedderburn. “We feel confident that the new Favorites Lists will continue to identify high-quality, engaging books that foster a love of reading in people of all ages.”

To learn more about the CBC’s Favorites Lists, visit

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