Award Winning Books

Award Winning Books

February 1, 2017 Caldecott, KBA, Newbery 0

Since the Children’s Literature Awards have just been announced, I thought it might be a good time to talk about award winning books. What better way to promote children’s literature than to promote a book that has won an award. We all love winners. What about that Hamilton musical? I just love the music from it !  Who can resist that popular animated feature film that won awards, Inside Out? And how about that Grammy award winner, Adele? Boy does she have a set of pipes on her.
Let’s look at some of the award winners in children’s literature.
The Caldecott Medal
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. (
The 2017 winner is Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, illustrated and written by Javaka Steptoe and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

You may want to check out all of the Honor books as well on the ALA web site. 2017 Caldecott Winner and Honor Books

The Newbery Medal 

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. (

The 2017 winner is The Girl Who Drank the Moon, written by Kelly Barnhill and published by Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing.

You may want to check out all of the Honor books as well on the ALA web site.
2017 Newbery Winner and Honor Books

The Kentucky Bluegrass Awards

Which leads me to our own award winners, The Kentucky Bluegrass Award books. These books are chosen by a committee, but voted on my actual students. If you remember in March of last year, I wrote about the Bluegrass Awards and how KASL has taken over the awards. Now is the time to be promoting the titles nominated in each KBA category.  The final votes are due April 1st, 2017.

Check out the KASL web site for more detailed information about titles on the lists.

Also make sure you check out the KBAsource WordPress for a lot of great ideas on how to promote the books in your library.

I have read most of the titles in the high school division, and there are some great nominees this year.

2017 High School KBA Nominees

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (listening to the audio version now)

Jackaby by William Ritter

Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Need by Joelle Charbonneau  (one to make teens think)

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

Not After Everything by Michelle Levy

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard   (lovers of Fantasy are ready for the sequel)                           

The Rig by Joe Ducie

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys  (first read this one last year, it was recommended by a student )



2017 Grades 6-8 KBA Nominees

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown

Echo byPam Munoz Ryan

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead                        

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

Losers Take All : A Novel  by David Klass

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff

Masterminds by Gordon Korman

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel                             

Popular: A Memoir: How a Geek in Pearls Discovered the Secret to Confidence by Maya Van Wagenen

Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt

2017 Grades 3-5  KBA Nominees

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

A Handful of Stars byCynthia Lord

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno    

Old Wolf by Avi

Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Tucky Jo and Little Heart by Patricia Polacco

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley    

2017 Grades K-2 KBA Nominees

The Bear Report  by Thyra Heder

I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton (Something I need to read)

If You Plant a Seed  by Kadir Nelson

Little Tree by Loren Long

The Night World  by Modaicai Gerstein

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry

Sing a Season Song by Jane Yolen

Two Friends:  Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass  by Dean Robbins

The Way to School  by Rosemary McCarney

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman  

Be as creative as you can be in getting kids to vote for their favorites. Some librarians make bookmarks out of the titles and have kids vote when they turn the book in on the bookmark. Some librarians that work with primary students use smiley and sad faces to pick their favorites. This year I did a KBA display with a QR code for students to scan once they have read the book. They can vote on a Google form.

Why not use the KBA books as your read aloud then have students vote on them afterwards. Some librarians go from classroom to classroom doing book talks to promote the KBA books. Many do a special bulletin board display or special KBA book display in their library. Why not share how you have promoted the KBA nominees in your library?

What a great way to empower students and to teach them that their voice can be heard. Encourage them to vote for their favorites. All votes are due April 1st.



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