The charge of the seven-member national committee is to select thirty titles each year that best exemplify the criteria established for the Notables Award. Books considered for this annual list are works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry written for children, grades K-8. The books must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- deal explicitly with language, such as plays on words, word origins, or the history of language;
- demonstrate uniqueness in the use of language or style;
- invite child response or participation. In addition, books are to:
- have an appealing format;
- be of enduring quality;
- meet generally accepted criteria of quality for the genre in which they are written.