Children's department pictures

FOCAL      Friends of Children and Literature

boy reading


girl reading

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.
History of the FOCAL Award
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.
This year's winners have been notified and will be attending the luncheon. (See below for links to the contest rules and application.)

book cover

The 2020 FOCAL Award winner is...
Todos Iguales: Un Corrido de Lemon Grove = All Equal: A Ballad of Lemon Grove
Author/Illustrator: Christy Hale

View the LAPL catalog page.

Summary:   "The story of the 1931 Lemon Grove incident, in which Mexican families in southern California won the first school desegregation case in United States history. Told in Spanish and English. Includes a corrido (ballad), and information about the people involved and events leading up to and after the court case ruling"

Contest Information: PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGES. Essays will be due August 3, winners will be notified by August 17, 2020

The FOCAL Award Luncheon will be September 5, 2020 at 12 noon at LAPL Central in the auditorium with buffet luncheon in the adjoining patio.

2020 Essay Contest information

Flyer to share with friends

FOCAL Award Committee 2020

Michele Marot - Chair of the Award Committee FOCAL Board Member at Large; LAUSD MS Math/Science Teacher, retired; Battle of the Books
Kate Aaronson Children's Librarian, Valley Plaza Branch Library, LAPL
Stacey May Lower School Librarian, Chandler School
Carolyn McWilliams Playa Vista Branch, LAPL Volunteer; Educational Support Services, LLC
Kristin Peers Children's Librarian, West Valley Regional Branch Library, LAPL
Carol Raby FOCAL Board Member at Large; Library Events Manager, Loyola Marymount University
Sara Rebman Children's Librarian, LAPL Central
Meredith McGowan - Ex-officio Committee Participant Acting Senior Librarian, Sherman Oaks Branch, LAPL
Caroline Gill - Ex-officio Committee Participant FOCAL President; LAUSD Teacher Librarian, retired

Current "Fun for Kids"
Current Newsletter


Membership Application
History of FOCAL Award
Teacher Guide to Award Book (if available)
Essay Contest
Essay Entry form

Newsletters 2009 - present
and one from 2005

Membership Application


Current "Fun for Kids"; LAPL; Award Author's Websites; Authors and Illustrators Involved with FOCAL; Literature Connections; California History Connections