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Dolly Gray Awards - Submission Guidelines

Purpose of the Award

The Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) in collaboration with Special Needs Project sponsor the Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award to recognize effective, enlightened portrayals of individuals with developmental disabilities in children's books. Every even year, an award is presented to an author and illustrator (if appropriate) of a children's picture book and/or a children's chapter book.

Submission Procedures

Publishers are asked to donate 12 copies of each book to be considered for the award. Books are distributed to the Review Board be used in the selection procedure and copies are also donated to the host city of the DADD biennial convention. Books to be considered for the award can be sent to the chair of the award:

Tina Taylor Dyches, Dolly Gray Award Chair
340-F McKay Building
Department of Counseling Psychology & Special Education
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602


This award is given biennially in conjunction with the CEC-DADD conference. All books considered for the award must be submitted at least 3 months in advance of the conference. The deadline for the 2012 award is October 1, 2011. The award will be presented in January 2012.


Books eligible for consideration include:

  1. Children's books that include a main or supporting character with developmental disabilities. Developmental Disability is defined as follows: This condition occurs before a person is 22 years of age and limits him/her in at least three of seven major life activities (e.g., receptive and expressive language, self-care, and economic self-sufficiency). Developmental disabilities may include people with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, dyslexia, severe emotional disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and other multiple disabilities; however, for this award, developmental disabilities must align with the mission of the CEC Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (e.g., if the character with a disability would likely be served by DADD rather than another CEC division, then its inclusion is appropriate).
  2. For the picture book award, the book must be recognized as a picture book written for children in story format. Biographies written in story format are included.
  3. For the chapter book award, the book must be recognized as a fictional chapter book (generally a novel divided into chapters) written for children or young adults in story format. This includes easy readers, juvenile fiction, and young adult fiction. Biographies in story format are also included.
  4. The book must be published in English with an initial copyright date within a predetermined two year period prior to the award date (e.g., 2010-2011 awarded in 2012). If a book was published/copyrighted at the end of an award cycle year and therefore not included for review, it may be considered for the current award.

Books that are not eligible for the award include:

  1. Non-fiction books (i.e., books that present factual information not in story format) and books that are intended to primarily teach about a disability (rather than to present a story).
  2. Books published through vanity press.
  3. Books that present the character with developmental disabilities as an inanimate object, animal, or other non-human.

Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria will be used to evaluate the books. The greatest weighting will be given to sensitive portrayal of character(s) with DD. The literary quality of the text and the quality of the illustrations are also considered. (More information regarding these criteria is available.)

  1. Portrayal of Character with DD
    1. Personal Portrayal
    2. Social Interactions
    3. Exemplary Practices
    4. Sibling Relationships (if appropriate)
    5. Point of View
  2. Literary Quality of the Text
  3. Illustrations

Revised 10/4/2010

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