'Since its inauguration in 1945, the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBC) has recorded its process with an attention to detail that derives from the professional practices of its members, most of whom are librarians or teachers, and from a desire to construct its own historical importance. Its Book of the Year Award remains the only literary award with a significant impact on Australian book sales. However, the conversation within the Children's Book Council about the judging process has been the subject of increasing protest, but not of research or detailed examination. This is due to restrictions placed on access to its records until 2008 and to the CBC's naturalization of its criteria, formerly widespread in the field of literary aesthetics, as described by Bourdieu in The Rules of Art.
Modeled on the Newbery Medal in the United States(US) and the United Kingdom's (UK) Carnegie Medal, the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award was intended both to encourage children to read “literature of quality” and publishers to produce “worthwhile literature for children.” Stated in the CBC's constitution, those aims proved to be not entirely compatible, since many of the books that children consider “worthwhile”—and which make publishing commercially viable—are ruled ineligible.
This article results from research into those records of the CBC that are now publicly available. It compares the criteria used for the Australian award and its US and UK models and places them in the context of the organization‘s concern with its own cultural capital.'