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 ISLMA website.



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

Absolutely Almost, written by Lisa Graff

Becoming Babe Ruth, written and illustrated by Matt Tavares

The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z., written by Kate Messner

Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile, written by Marcia Wells, illustrated by Marcos Callo

El Deafo, written and illustrated by CeCe Bell

The Fourteenth Goldfish, written by Jennifer Holm

The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable, written by Dan Gutman

Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse, written by Tamera Will Wissinger, illustrated by Matthew Cordell

The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey, written by Louise Borden, illustrated by Allan Drummond

Justin Case: School, Drool, and other Daily Disasters, written by Rachel Vail, illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Lulu’s Mysterious Mission, written by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Kevin Cornell

The Misadventures of Family Fletcher, written by Dana Alison Levy

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, written by Robert C. O’Brien, illustrated by Zena Bernstein

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands, written and illustrated by Katherine Roy

Rain Reign, written by Ann M. Martin

Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914, written and illustrated by John Hendrix

Sit In: How Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down, written by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Spirit Animals: Wild Born, written by Brandon Mull

Tuck Everlasting, written by Natalie Babbitt

The War that Saved My Life, written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley