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The Guild was founded in 1945 as a professional organization to serve the community by promoting high standards in children's literature and to encourage the love of good books. Today's active Guild members include established authors, illustrators, and specialists in the field as well as representatives of public and school library systems, bookstores, and educational and government organizations.

Over the years the Guild has initiated a number of projects, including Book Fairs (1950s) and the establishment of libraries in the District of Columbia's elementary schools (early 1960s.) The Guild, in connection with Montgomery College, sponsored seminars on children's literature for many years, and its Speakers Bureau recommends authors and illustrators for appearances at schools and book-related events. The Guild has sponsored seminars on writing and illustrating children's books with the Smithsonian Resident Associates and collaborated with the National Museum of Women in the Arts on an annual Festival of Books for families.

The Children's Book Guild History

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desks in the Library of Congress reading room. The new friends lunched together in the cafeteria on Fridays (lemon pie day) to discuss their work. Before long they invited other writers and children's book specialists to join them, and . . .

It all started with the lemon pie, or so the story goes. The Guild's founders were three authors of children's books who met while working at adjoining


The Guild also established the Children's Book Guild Award for Nonfiction. This had its origins in 1977 when the Guild inaugurated an annual award "honoring an author or author-illustrator whose total work has contributed significantly to the quality of nonfiction for children." From 1983 - 2009, The Washington Post co-sponsored the award.

Detailed History


The following Guild history was compiled and edited by the late Mary Childs
and Pat Strickland in 1985.

The late Esther Douty compiled our first history in 1975, "It All Started with the Lemon Pie," and we believe she would have been pleased with a revised edition, for the Guild meant a great deal to her. We have used much of her information, and some of her articles appear again, for they are too good to lose.
-M.C. and P.S.

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