Skip to content

Monday – Thursday: 9 am – 9 pm
Friday: 9 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm
Sunday: 1 – 5 pm

Monday, July 22, 2024  |  9 am – 9 pm

Monday – Thursday: 9 am – 9 pm
Friday: 9 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm
Sunday: 1 – 5 pm

Youth Reading Recommendations: Award Nominee Staff Favorites

By: Alexa Moffat, School Liaison

Each year, committees of Illinois teachers and librarians select the nominees for the following year’s Monarch, Bluestem, and Caudill Award lists. Preparation for the meetings begins months in advance, with members responsible for reading 50 titles that will be winnowed down to the final lists of 20 books. Youth Department staff members Melissa Hilt, Alexa Moffat, and Beth Kirchenberg are on the Monarch, Bluestem, and Caudill committees, respectively. Here are the Best of the Best, our favorite titles on the new lists:


Lou by Breanna Carzoo
As the neighborhood dog toilet, Lou knows there must be more to life than this! When Lou saves the day, his true purpose is revealed.

Norman Didn’t Do It!: (Yes, He Did) by Ryan T. Higgins
In this exploration of friendship, a grumpy porcupine learns an important lesson when his best friend makes a new friend.

Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots by Michael Rex
Learn the difference between facts and opinions in this fun robot romp.


Not If I Can Help It by Carolyn Mackler
When she learns her dad is dating her best friend’s mom (ew!), Willa’s life is thrown into chaos.

Weird Kid by Greg Van Eekhout
When mysterious goop-filled sinkholes start popping up around town as undercover shapeshifting alien Jake starts middle school, it’s up to him and his new best friend to save the day.


Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega
Marlene hates straightening her hair, but her mom makes her. With the help of her aunt and BFF, she begins to love and appreciate her curls.


Starfish by Lisa Fipps
Fat-shamed for her entire life, Ellie gains the confidence to stand up for herself and to take up space in a big way.

A First Time for Everything: A True Story by Dan Santat
In this autobiographical graphic novel, author Dan Santat shares the story of his life-changing Europe trip with his middle school class that opened his eyes to all the world has to offer—Fanta, fondue, and first love.

chat loading...

Accessibility Toolbar