Books for Kids

As a parent, you know your child best. Getting them to read can be tricky, but it is easier when you pick books that are about their interests or the type of books they like. Use the links below to see PDFs of curated lists of books, with title and authors.

Find picture books by subject

Find books for specific age groups

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion booklists

Rudine Sims Bishop wrote "Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books." 

To expand your child's viewpoints, take a look at our #Representation Matters booklists to find books on a variety of topics.

State and national book awards

State awards

State of Illinois' Awards include the Monarch Award for Kindergarten to 3rd grade, the Bluestem Award for 3rd to 5th grades, the Rebecca Caudill Award for 4th to 8th grades, and the Abraham Lincoln Award for high school literature.

Learn about how your kids can participate in our reading clubs for these awards.  Read 5 Monarch titles, and you can vote for your favorite here:  Front and Back of 2022 Monarch Brochure.  Be sure to email your complete brochure to Cheryl Gladfelter (see picture with email link in upper right corner of this page) by March 6th.  

National Awards

National Awards vary in purpose, from excellence in illustration to books that honor the best and brightest authors of specific heritages. You can find more about each of these awards and their winners by clicking on the links below.

  • Coretta Scott King Award: Presented annually to African American authors and illustrators whose books promote an understanding and appreciation of the “American Dream.”
  • John Newberry Award: Awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
  • Children's Literature Legacy Award: Awarded every two years to an author or illustrator whose books have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature.  Formerly Laura Ingalls Wilder Metal.
  • Michael L. Printz Award: Given to a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature.
  • Odyssey Award: Honors the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults.
  • Pura Belpre Award: Honors Latinx writers and illustrators whose works best exemplify authentic cultural experiences in children's works of literature.
  • Randolph Caldecott Medal: Awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
  • Theordore Geisel Seuss Award: Given annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished contribution to beginning reader books published in the United States during the preceding year.