This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software.

Reader's Choice


When thinking about award winning literature for children, the Newbery and Caldecott are the first ones that come to mind. While they are excellent awards and excellent books, the winners are chosen by adults. Why shouldn't kids get to choose the best books for kids? Illinois has two Reader's Choice Award programs for our students: the Monarch for grades K-3, and the Bluestem for 3-5.

Monarch Award Bluestem Award
K-3 3-5
Part of library curriculum for K-2.  
Independent for 3rd grade


Books on the 2019-20 List

(K - 3rd Grade)

(3rd - 5th Grade)

Aflie: The Turtle That Disappeared by Thyra Heder Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey
Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
Baby Monkey Private Eye by Brian Selznick Beauty and the Beak by Deborah Lee Rose
Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace
Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold
Crown:  An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick D. Barnes Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion by Chris Barton
Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson Grace Hopper, Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark
Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak Great Tree House War by Lisa Graff
Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers
Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier
Malala's Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai Lesser Spotted Animals: The Coolest Creatures You've Never Heard Of by Martin Brown
Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability by Shane Burcaw Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess by Shari Green
Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris
Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability by Shane Burcaw
Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky One Dead Spy: Life, Times and the Last Words of Nathan Hale, America's Most Famous Spy by Nathan Hale
Saving Fiona: The Story of the World's Most Famous Baby Hippo by Thane Maynard Real Friends by Shannon Hale
Truth About Bears: Seriously Funny Facts About Your Favorite Animals by Maxwell Eaton III Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka

We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
Yasmin the Explorer by Saadia Faruqi

You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly


Important Dates

  • June - new lists announced 
  • Summer & Fall - students may read and report books using the Google Form
  • March - voting
  • May - deadline for rewards



To vote for the Bluestem, students in grades 3 through 5 must read at least 3 books from the Bluestem list. Students who are eligible to vote will receive an invitation with the date and time.

Voting for the Monarch will take place during K-2 library time.



The following rewards can be earned by 3rd through 5th graders for reading and reporting books on the current Reader's Choice list.

  • Read 3... to vote, and for an Eraser
  • Read 5... to vote, and for an eraser, and for five Bookmarks with your picture
  • Read 10... to vote, and for an eraser, and for five bookmarks with your picture, and for an Invitation to the Make-Your-Own-Bookmark Party!



Participating in the Reader's Choice program is optional.  Students in 3rd through 5th grades who are interested in earning rewards must report on the books they've read using the Google Form.  To get their report approved, the student must:

  1. Share their opinion
  2. Use text evidence from the book to support their opinion

CAN'T SEE THE QUESTIONS?  Watch this video to learn how to fix it!