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

The award is designed forbluestem 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:

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, Written by Susan Hood, Illustrated by Sally Wern Comport

Amina’s Voice, Written by Hena Khan

City of Ember, Written by Jeanne DuPrau

Counting Thyme, Written by Melanie Conklin

Diamond Willow, Written by Helen Frost

Fish in a Tree, Written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Funny Bones: Posada and his Day of the Dead Calaveras, Written and Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh

Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game, Written by John Coy, Illustrated by Randy DuBurke

A Handful of Stars, Written by Cynthia Lord

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, Written by Debbie Levy, Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley

Moo, Written by Sharon Creech

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, Written by John David Anderson

Project Mulberry, Written by Linda Sue Park

The Secret Subway, Written by Shana Corey, Illustrated by Red Nose Studio

The Story of Diva and Flea, Written by Mo Willems, Illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi

A Tangle of Knots, Written by Lisa Graff

Ugly: A Memoir, Written by Robert Hoge, Illustrated by Keith Robinson

What was the Great Chicago Fire? Written by Janet B. Pascal, Illustrated by Tim Foley

Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions, Written by Chris Barton, Illustrated by Don Tate

Wish, Written by Barbara O’Connor