Award-winning books

for children and young adults

Looking for top-quality literature to enrich your child’s life? Here’s a selection of award-winners. Each one has been honored as a top book for children and young adults by the American Library Association, including winners of the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott Book Awards.

Bear Came Along

By Richard T. Morris (Author), LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)

A cheerful and action-packed adventure about the importance of friendship and community from a successful author and illustrator duo! Once there was a river flowing through a forest. The river didn’t know it was capable of adventures until a big bear came along. But adventures aren’t any fun by yourself, and so enters Froggy, Turtles, Beaver, Racoons, and Duck. These very different animals take off downstream, but they didn’t know they needed one another until thankfully, the river came along. This hilarious picture book and heartfelt message celebrates the joy and fun that’s in store when you embark together on a ride of a lifetime. A Caldecott Honor Book.

Ages: 4-8

New Kid

By Jerry Craft

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds – and not really fitting into either one. Can he learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself? Winner of the Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award, and Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature.

Ages: 8-12

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

By Robert C. O’Brien (Author), Zena Bernstein (Illustrator)

Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, is faced with a terrible problem. She must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with pneumonia and must not be moved. Fortunately, she encounters the rats of NIMH, an extraordinary breed of highly intelligent creatures, who come up with a brilliant solution to her dilemma. And Mrs. Frisby in turn renders them a great service. Newbery Medal award winner.

Ages: 8-12

Beyond the Bright Sea

By Lauren Wolk (Author)

Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar. Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn’t until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger. Winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction.

Ages: 10-13

Flubby is not a good pet!

By J. E. Morris (Author, Illustrator)

Flubby is a large, sleepy cat who refuses to do the things that other pets do. He won’t sing, catch or even jump! But when a scary situation brings Flubby and his owner together, they realize they really do need each other – and that makes Flubby a good pet after all. The charming illustrations, simple text, and comic-like panels make this a unique format with a narrative style perfect for storytime and progressing readers. A Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book.

Ages: 4-8

All in a Drop: How Antony van Leeuwenhoek Discovered an Invisible World

By Lori Alexander (Author), Vivien Mildenberger (Illustrator)

Microbes are everywhere: in the soil and oceans, in snow, and inside our bodies. But in Antony van Leeuwenhoek’s time, people believed that what they saw with their own eyes was all that existed in the world. How did a simple tradesman – who didn’t go to college or speak English or Latin like all the other scientists – change everyone’s minds? This eye-opening chapter book, illustrated with lively full-color art, celebrates the power of curiosity, ingenuity, and persistence. A Sibert Honor Book.

Ages: 9-13

The Undefeated

By Kwame Alexander (Author), Kadir Nelson (Illustrator)

Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Winner of the Caldecott Medal, Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Illustrator awards.

Ages: 6-9

Hey, Water!

By Antoinette Portis (Author)

Join a young girl as she explores her surroundings and sees that water is everywhere. But water doesn’t always look the same, it doesn’t always feel the same, and it shows up in lots of different shapes. Water can be a lake, it can be steam, it can be a tear, or it can even be a snowman. As the girl discovers water in nature, in weather, in her home, and even inside her own body, water comes to life, and kids will find excitement and joy in water and its many forms. A Robert F. Sibert Honor Book.

Ages: 4-8

Roller Girl

By Victoria Jamieson (Author)

For most of her 12 years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid’s life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school… in short, strong enough to be a roller girl. In this graphic novel debut, real-life derby girl Victoria Jamieson has created an inspiring coming-of-age story about friendship, perseverance and girl power! A Newbery Honor Award Winner.

Ages: 9-12

The Book Hog

By Greg Pizzoli (Author, Illustrator)

The Book Hog loves books – the way they look, the way they feel, the way they smell – and he’ll grab whatever he can find. There’s only one problem: he can’t read! But when a kind librarian invites him to join for storytime, this literature-loving pig discovers the treasure that books really are. Geisel Medalist Greg Pizzoli presents a new character who is sure to steal your heart in this picturebook full of humorous charm and vivid illustrations. A Geisel Honor Book.

Ages: 3-5

Sleep Like a Tiger

By Mary Logue (Author), Pamela Zagarenski (Illustrator)

In this magical bedtime story, the lyrical narrative echoes a Runaway Bunny – like cadence: “Does everything in the world go to sleep?” the little girl asks. In sincere and imaginative dialogue between a not-at-all sleepy child and understanding parents, the little girl decides “in a cocoon of sheets, a nest of blankets,” she is ready to sleep, warm and strong, just like a tiger. The rich, luminous mixed-media paintings effervesce with odd, charming details that non-sleepy children could examine for hours. Winner of a Randolph Caldecott Honor Award.

Ages: 4-7

Fox the Tiger

By Corey R. Tabor

Fun-loving, mischievous Fox wishes he were a tiger. Tigers are big and fast and sneaky. So he decides to become one! Soon Turtle and Rabbit are joining in the fun. But will Fox want to be a tiger forever? In Fox the Tiger, this winning trickster character and his animal friends learn that the best thing to be is yourself. Fox the Tiger is a My First I Can Read book, which means it’s perfect for shared reading with a child. Other Fox books include: Fox Is Late, Fox and the Jumping Contest, and Fox and the Bike Ride. Winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book.

Ages: 4-8

The Book of Boy

By Catherine Gilbert Murdock

A young outcast, Boy has always been relegated to the outskirts of his small village. With a large hump on his back, a mysterious past, and a tendency to talk to animals, he is often mocked by others in his town – until the arrival of a shadowy pilgrim named Secondus. Impressed with Boy’s climbing and jumping abilities, Secondus engages Boy as his servant, pulling him into an action-packed and suspenseful expedition across Europe for a thrilling and perilous medieval treasure hunt. Named a Newbery Honor Book.

Ages: 8-12

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science

By Joyce Sidman

Bugs, of all kinds, were considered to be “born of mud” and to be “beasts of the devil.” Why would anyone, let alone a girl, want to study and observe them? One of the first naturalists to observe live insects directly, Maria Sibylla Merian was also one of the first to document the metamorphosis of the butterfly. In this visual nonfiction biography, richly illustrated throughout with full-color original paintings by Merian herself, award-winning author Joyce Sidman paints her own picture of one of the first female entomologists and a woman who flouted convention in the pursuit of knowledge and her passion for insects. Winner of the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children.

Ages: 10-12

Merci SuArez Changes Gears

By Meg Medina

Thoughtful, strong-willed sixth-grader Merci Suarez navigates difficult changes with friends, family and everyone in between in this warmly told coming-of-age story. Full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school – and the steadfast connection that defines family. Winner of Newbery Medal, the highest US award in children’s literature.

Ages: 9-12

The Rough Patch

By Brian Lies

Evan and his dog do everything together, from eating ice cream to caring for their award-winning garden, which grows big and beautiful. One day the unthinkable happens: Evan’s dog dies. Heartbroken, Evan destroys the garden and everything in it. The ground becomes overgrown with prickles and thorns, and Evan embraces the chaos. But beauty grows in the darkest of places, and when a twisting vine turns into an immense pumpkin, Evan is drawn out of his misery and back to the county fair, where friendships – old and new – await. New York Times–bestselling author-illustrator Brian Lies has created a beautiful, accessible and deeply personal story about friendship, loss and recovery. Named a Caldecott Honor Book.

Ages: 4-8

Hello Lighthouse

By Sophie Blackall

Watch the days and seasons pass as the wind blows, the fog rolls in, and icebergs drift by. Outside, there is water all around. Inside, the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family unfolds as the keeper boils water for tea, lights the lamp’s wick, and writes every detail in his logbook. Step back in time and through the door of this iconic lighthouse into a cozy dollhouse-like interior with the extraordinary award-winning artist Sophie Blackall. Awarded the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children.

Ages: 5-8

The Remember Balloons

By Jessie Oliveros

What’s Happening to Grandpa meets Up in this tender picture book that gently explains the memory loss associated with aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s. James’ grandpa has the best balloons filled with the best memories. He has balloons showing Dad when he was young and Grandma when they were married. Grandpa also has a silver balloon filled with the memory of a fishing trip he and James took together. But when Grandpa’s balloons begin to float away, James can’t catch them and is heartbroken. One day, Grandpa lets go of the silver balloon – and he doesn’t even notice! Grandpa no longer has balloons of his own. But James has many more than before. It’s up to him to share those balloons, one by one. Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.

Ages: 5-9

What the Night Sings

By Vesper Stamper

After losing her family and everything she knew in the Nazi concentration camps, Gerta is finally liberated, only to find herself completely alone. Without her papa, her music, or even her true identity, she must move past the task of surviving and on to living her life. In the displaced persons camp where she is staying, Gerta meets Lev, a fellow teen survivor who she just might be falling for, despite her feelings for someone else. With a newfound Jewish identity she never knew she had, and a return to the life of music she thought she lost forever, Gerta must choose how to build a new future. Winner of the William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens.

Ages: 12 and up

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle

By Leslie Connor

Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, his best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family’s orchard. An investigation drags on, and honest Mason can’t understand why Lieutenant Baird won’t believe the story he has told about that day. Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other neighbor boys, so they create an underground club space for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He’s desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin, and eventually, Benny. But will anyone believe him? Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for middle grades.

Ages: 11-13