Skip to main content

Children's Literature: Book Awards

Selected Awards

There are numerous awards in the field of children's literature. On this page you will find some of the more famous awards that are most familiar to schools, educators, and parents. Each box in this section will provide information about the award as well as links to previous winners and/or nominees.

Illinois Awards

Monarch Award

The Monarch Award is a K-3 readers' choice award, awarded by the Illinois School Library Media Association. Children grades K-3 vote of their favorite book from the list of nominees.  The first year the Monarch Award was awarded was in 2005.  A complete list of nominated titles can be found here.

Bluestem Award

First awarded in 2011, the Bluestem Award is a readers' choice award for those students who have advanced beyond reading books included on the Monarch Award list, but are not yet ready for those on the Rebecca Caudill reading list.  This award, chosen by those in grades 3-5, is also awarded by the Illinois School Library Media Association. A complete list of nominated titles and winners can be found here. 

Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award 

Rebecca Caudill award winners are chosen by Illinois students in grades 4-8 each year.  Students from participating schools who have read or heard at least three of the selected titles vote for their favorite book.  The Rebecca Caudill was first awarded in 1988.  A complete list of nominated titles and winners can be found here.

 

Lincoln Award

This Teen Reader's Choice is chosen from a yearly master list. Teens, librarians, and teachers vote to pick the winner of the Lincoln Award. This award focuses on young adult and adult fiction and non-fiction, and promotes a lifelong love of reading for enjoyment. A complete list of nominated titles and winners can be found here. 

Caldecott Medal

The Caldecott Medal, first awarded in 1938, is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children by the Association for Library Service to Children (a division of the American Library Association). It was named in honor of the 19th-century English illustrator, Randolph Caldecott. Each year, several books also worthy of attention are named as Caldecott Honor Books. Click here for a list of past medal and honor award books.

Children's Choice Awards

The Children’s Choice Book Awards is the only national book awards program where the winners are selected by kids and teens of all ages. The awards are grouped by grade level: K-2, 3-4, 5-6, and teen choice. There are also awards for the best author and illustrator of the year. Click here for a list of past winners.

Newberry Medal Books

The Newbery Medal, first awarded in 1922, is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. It was named for 18th-century British bookseller John Newbery. Each year, several books also worthy of attention are named as Newbery Honor Books. Click here for a full list of Newbery Medal and Honor Books.

Coretta Scott King

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards, first awarded in 1970, are given to African American authors and illustrators for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions. Winning titles promote understanding and appreciation of the cultures of all peoples and they contribute to the realization of the American dream of a pluralistic society. Click here for a full list of award winners and honor books.

Pura Belpre

This annual award is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in a work of literature for children and youth. The award is named after the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library and was established in 1996.  Click here for a list of Belpre Medal winners.

Scott O'Dell Award

In 1982, Scott O'Dell established The Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. It has been awarded annually since 1984 and is given to an author who has written outstanding historical fiction for children or young adults during the past year.  Click here for a complete list of winners.

Children's Literature Legacy Award

The Children's Literature Legacy Award was renamed in 2018. Previously, it was known as the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and was first given to its namesake in 1954. The award, a bronze medal, honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. It is awarded by the American Library Association's Association for Library Service to Children (ALSCA).

Between 1960 and 1980, the Wilder Award was given every five years. From 1980 to 2001, it was awarded every three years. Beginning in 2001, it has been awarded every two years.

Click here for a list of past award winners.

Geisel Award

The Geisel Award is given annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers, published in English in the United States. Named in honor of Theodore Geisel (Dr. Suess), author of many children's books using controlled vocabulary.

The winner(s), recognized for their literary and artistic achievements that demonstrate creativity and imagination to engage children in reading, receives a bronze medal. Honor Book authors and illustrators receive certificates. The award was established in 2004 and first presented in 2006.

Click here for a complete list of Medal Winners and Honor Books.