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
Part of library curriculum for K-2.  
Independent for 3rd grade


Books on the 2022-2023 List

(K - 3rd Grade)

(3rd - 5th Grade)

Amira's Picture Day by Reem Faruqi Above the Rim by Jen Bryant
Are You a Cheeseburger? by Monica Arnaldo Amelia Six by Kristin Gray
Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander
Bodies are Cool by Tyler Feder Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn
Crossings by Katy Duffield Eva Evergreen: Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe
Doggo and Pupper by Katherine Applegate Glitch by Laura Martin
Don't Hug Doug (He Doesn't Like It) by Carrie Finison Great Chicago Fire: Rising from the Ashes by Kate Hannigan
Except Antarctica by Todd Sturgell Last Human by Lee Bacon
Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho Lion of Mars by Jennifer Holm
Friday Night Wrestlefest by J.F. Fox Losers Club by Andrew Clements
How to Apologize by David LaRochelle Mac B. Kid Spy: Mac Undercover by Mac Barnett
I See Sea Food by Jenna Grodzicki Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte
Lift by Minh Lê Shirley Chisholm is a Verb! by Veronica Chambers
Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
Many Colors of Harpreet Singh by Supriya Kelkar Spirit of Springer by Amanda Abler
Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Peña Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi
Saturday by Oge Mora Tune It Out by Jamie Sumner
Swish! by Suzanne Slade Twins by Varian Johnson
What About Worms!? by Ryan T. Higgins Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Weatherford
What If, Pig? by Linzie Hunter

Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor by Ally Carter


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 4... to vote, and for an Eraser
  • Read 8... to vote, and for an eraser, and for five Bookmarks with your picture
  • Read 12... 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


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