Bluestem 2021

The Bluestem Award: Illinois’ Grades 3-5 Readers’ Choice Award


The award is designed for students in grades 3-5 who are ready for longer titles than those found on the Monarch list, but not quite ready for the sophistication of some of the Rebecca Caudill titles. Named in honor of Big Bluestem which is the state prairie grass, the award may include both timeless classics and current titles, as well as books that have appeared on Monarch and Rebecca Caudill lists. For more information on this award, visit the AISLE website.

Click on the titles below to view the primary source pairings:

The Ambrose Deception, Written by Emily Ecton, Illustrated by Gilbert Ford

Animals by the Numbers: a book of infographics, Written and Illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Bob, Written by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: a Navajo Talker’s Story, Written by Joseph Bruchac, Illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes

Click, Written and Illustrated by Kayla Miller

Curiosity: the Story of a Mars Rover, Written and Illustrated by Markus Motum

A Dash of Trouble, Written by Anna Meriano, Illustrated by Mirelle Ortega

Finding Langston, Written by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Hope in the Holler, Written by Lisa Lewis Tyre

Lifeboat 12, Written by Susan Hood

Max & the Midknights, Written and Illustrated by Lincoln Peirce

Otis and Will Discover the Deep: the record setting dive of the Bathysphere, Written by Barb Rosenstock and Katherine Roy

Power Forward: Chasing the Dream,Written by Hena Khan and Sally Wern Comport

Sergeant Reckless: The True Story of the Little Horse who became a Hero, Written by Patricia McCormick and Iacopo Bruno

Stef Soto, Taco Queen, Written by Jennifer Torres

Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen, Written by Candace Fleming, Illustrated by Eric Rohmann

The Undefeated, Written by Kwame Alexander, Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

The Van Gogh Deception, Written by Deron R. Hicks

Wedgie & Gizmo, Written by Suzanne Selfors, Illustrated by Barbara Fisinger

A Whole New Ballgame, Written by Phil Bildner, Illustrated by Tim Probert