Award Winning Titles

Ellen’s Broom, by Kelly Starling Lyons, and Coretta Scott King Book Award winning illustrations by Daniel Minter, was inspired by a document she saw while researching family history in Rockingham County, N.C., and Henry County, Va. According to the biography on Lyons’ website, she grew up in a family that encouraged creativity. Her mother inspired her children to express themselves through the arts.


The story is a graceful look back at the family lives of former slaves and their right to be legally married. The illustrations are so bright and beautiful. I feel that any age of elementary students would enjoy this. The additional classroom activities are well planned.



Maria tenia una llama pequena! Do you know what I just said? Do you speak Spanish? Now try to guess if I sing it!


Maria Had a Little Llama by Angela Dominguez, is so sweet, your students will just eat it up! It is a winner of the Pura Belpre Award.


The story takes us to South America with a twist on the familiar “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Many people are raising llamas in our area now. Surely some of your students knows someone who does!


Even if your students do not speak Spanish, they will enjoy the bilingual translations in this book. It is easy to translate and makes it twice as much fun to read!


My Geisel Award winner choice was Ball, written and illustrated by Mary Sullivan.


I don’t usually read out loud to the young elementary kids, but this one would be fun. One word…. ball. And the many ways that word is interpreted within the dog’s imagination. Great fun for all.


Wouldn’t it be fun to be on the Award Committee for this category?




My darker choice, The Mad Potter, George Ohr, Eccentric Genius, by Jan Greenburg and Sandra Jordan, was the winner of the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal.


The cover of this book caught my eye immediately. I love the old photos and history of this book.


This was probably my favorite category because I enjoy reading non-fiction books which teach something real. I will definitely be sharing this book, and the website information with my classes.



These books were very hard for me to locate, with Amazon being my last hope in some cases, but my budget doesn’t always allow for extras. That being the case, I had to substitute a selection for the Schneider Family Award.


Sandy’s Song by Barbara Brooks Simons is a small book that is in our school library, as part of a reading series. It features a young musician who wins a prize for her piano performance. However, when she gets to the big theater, she is not able to get up the stairs, because she is in a wheel chair.

The initial problem is solved with the help of some strong men, but where will she sit? The theater was not made for wheelchairs at the time.


The solution was a good one. She watched the performance from the stage!





Wonder by R.J. Palacio, is a Golden Sower Award winner.


I searched the online libraries for this book, and five minutes later, as I was visiting with my students in their “Book Club,” there it was! It was one that they had on their shelf. I stole it and took it home.


It is much longer than the other selections, and I’m not finished with it yet, but it is one of those books that is difficult to put down.


The book is written through the eyes of its main character, “Auggie,” whose face has been deformed since birth. He struggles with many of the same issues that other kids do, along with the challenge of being different.


I’m suggesting it to the club members!




2 thoughts on “Award Winning Titles

  1. I really like books that have Spanish in them that teach little kids. I would have loved that kind of a book as a child. I think they would be great to have in the classroom. I also am drawn to books that have a history vibe to them. I have always been really interested in history so I think that I would really like The Mad Potter, George Ohr, Eccentric Genius.


  2. Wonder is one of the most popular books I’ve recommended to students in the past year. Everyone who reads it just loves it. There is a companion ebook story available for Kindle called “Julian’s Story.” I think it’s just a couple of dollars. You might also really like Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff.


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