Children's Book Awards
Rated The Best By The Best


So you can FIND the best

Thank heaven for the various children's book awards! The government estimates that 2500 children's books are published each year. That's a lot of books to sift through.

These prestigious awards help us find the books that are judged tops each year. So think of each of the kids' books below as the best among thousands!


Almost as many awards as there are books!

The truth is, there are a lot of children's book awards out there. I tried to put the best of the best on this page.

Newbery Medal | Caldecott Medal | National Book Award | Carnegie Medal | Laura Ingalls Wilder Award | Golden Kite Awards | Margaret A. Edwards Award | Gryphon Award |

There are some other kids' book awards scattered about this site. These tend to be more specialized awards - awards for science fiction, awards for African-American children's books, etc.

You'll find them in the more specialized sections of the site.

A few of the books below are worthy of particular mention. These are the books that were not only deserving of at least one of the top children's book awards but are also among the Best Selling Children's Books of the 20th Century.

I'll note them accordingly.

So here are the top children's book awards. Click on the link to whichever of the children's book awards you're interested in, or just scroll through them all. Titles and/or authors that appear as links have further information available on the site.

Happy searching!

Top Children's Book Awards:

Newbery Medal | Caldecott Medal | National Book Award | Carnegie Medal | Laura Ingalls Wilder Award | Golden Kite Awards | Margaret A. Edwards Award | Gryphon Award |


Children's Book Awards - The Newbery Medal

Perhaps the most prestigious of the children's book awards, chosen by The American Library Association. The medal is presented annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published in the United States in the preceding year.

Follow this link for a complete list of all Newbery Award winners.

Listed below are Newbery Medal winners and Newbery Honor books that are reviewed on this site.

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Children's Book Awards - The Caldecott Medal

Judged by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, this is the most famous of the children's book awards recognizing the best illustrator of a children's book in a given year.

Follow this link for a complete list of all Caldecott Medal and Honor winners.

Listed below are Caldecott Medal winners reviewed on this site.

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Children's Book Awards - The National Book Award

The National Book Awards have long been considered the United States' preeminent literary prize for adult fiction, nonfiction and poetry. In 1996 they began naming children's book awards as well. This is the Young People's Literature award.

  • 2010 Mockingbird, by Kathryn Erskine
  • 2009 Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, by Phillip Hoose
  • 2008 What I Saw and How I Lied, by Judy Blundell
  • 2007 The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • 2006 The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. I by M.T. Anderson
  • 2005 The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall

  • 2004 Godless by Pete Hautman
  • 2003 The Canning Season by Polly Horvath
  • 2002 The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  • 2001 True Believer by Virginia Euwer Wolff
  • 2000 Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
  • 1999 When Zachary Beaver Came To Town by Kimberly Willis Holt
  • 1998 Holes by Louis Sachar
  • 1997 Dancing on the Edge by Han Nolan
  • 1996 Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida by Victor Martinez
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    Children's Book Awards - The Carnegie Medal

    The reason this is one of my favorite children's book awards is because it's the highest honor for a children's book published in Britain. (Where, rumor has it, they speak the same language as Americans.)

    In other words, here's a whole pile of classic children's books that we in the states have had too little exposure to.

    • 2011 - Patrick Ness, Monsters of Men
    • 2010 - Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book
    • 2009 - Siobhan Dowd, Bog Child
    • 2008 - Philip Reeve, Here Lies Arthur
    • 2007 - Meg Rosoff, Just in Case
    • 2005 - Mal Peet, Tamar
    • 2004 - Frank Cottrell Boyce, Millions
    • 2003 - Jennifer Donnelly, A Gathering Light
    • 2002 - Sharon Creech, Ruby Holler
    • 2001 - Terry Pratchett, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents
    • 2000 - Beverley Naidoo, The Other Side of Truth
    • 1999 - Aidan Chambers, Postcards From No Man's Land
    • 1998 - David Almond, Skellig
    • 1997 - Tim Bowler, River Boy
    • 1996 - Melvin Burgess, Junk
    • 1995 - Philip Pullman, Northern Lights (US title: The Golden Compass)
    • 1994 - Theresa Breslin, Whispers in the Graveyard

  • 1993 - Robert Swindells, Stone Cold
  • 1992 - Anne Fine, Flour Babies
  • 1991 - Berlie Doherty, Dear Nobody
  • 1990 - Gillian Cross, Wolf
  • 1989 - Anne Fine, My War with Goggle Eyes
  • 1988 - Geraldine McCaughrean, Pack of Lies
  • 1987 - Susan Price, The Ghost Drum
  • 1986 - Berlie Doherty, Granny Was a Buffer Girl
  • 1985 - Kevin Crossley-Holland, Storm
  • 1984 - Margaret Mahy, The Changeover
  • 1983 - Jan Mark, Handles
  • 1982 - Margaret Mahy, The Haunting
  • 1981 - Robert Westall, The Scarecrows
  • 1980 - Peter Dickinson, City of Gold
  • 1979 - Peter Dickinson, Tulku
  • 1978 - David Rees, The Exeter Blitz
  • 1977 - Gene Kemp, The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler
  • 1976 - Jan Mark, Thunder and Lightnings
  • 1975 - Robert Westall, The Machine-Gunners
  • 1974 - Mollie Hunter, The Stronghold
  • 1973 - Penelope Lively, The Ghost of Thomas Kempe
  • 1972 - Richard Adams, Watership Down
  • 1971 - Ivan Southall, Josh
  • 1970 - Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen, The God Beneath the Sea
  • 1969 - K. M. Peyton, The Edge of the Cloud
  • 1968 - Rosemary Harris, The Moon in the Cloud
  • 1967 - Alan Garner, The Owl Service
  • 1966 - No award
  • 1965 - Philip Turner, The Grange at High Force
  • 1964 - Sheena Porter, Nordy Bank
  • 1963 - Hester Burton, Time of Trial
  • 1962 - Pauline Clarke, The Twelve and the Genii (US Title: The Return of the Twelve)
  • 1961 - Lucy Boston, A Stranger at Green Knowe
  • 1960 - I. W. Cornwall, The Making of Man
  • 1959 - Rosemary Sutcliff, The Lantern Bearers
  • 1958 - Philippa Pearce, Tom's Midnight Garden
  • 1957 - William Mayne, A Grass Rope
  • 1956 - C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle
  • 1955 - Eleanor Farjeon, The Little Bookroom
  • 1954 - Ronald Welch, Knight Crusader
  • 1953 - Edward Osmond, A Valley Grows Up
  • 1952 - Mary Norton, The Borrowers
  • 1951 - Cynthia Harnett, Nicholas and the Wool-Pack
  • 1950 - Elfrida Vipont Foulds, The Lark on the Wing
  • 1949 - Agnes Allen, The Story of Your Home
  • 1948 - Richard Armstrong, Sea Change
  • 1947 - Walter de la Mare, Collected Stories for Children
  • 1946 - Elizabeth Goudge, The Little White Horse
  • 1945 - No award
  • 1944 - Eric Linklater, The Wind on the Moon
  • 1943 - No award
  • 1942 - BB [Denys Watkins-Pitchford], The Little Grey Men
  • 1941 - Mary Treadgold, We Couldn't Leave Dinah
  • 1940 - Kitty Barne, Visitors from London
  • 1939 - Eleanor Doorly, Radium Woman
  • 1938 - Noel Streatfeild, The Circus Is Coming
  • 1937 - Eve Garnett, The Family from One End Street
  • 1936 - Arthur Ransome, Pigeon Post
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    Children's Book Awards - The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award

    Most children's book awards honor a book. This one honors a body of work. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award "honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children."

    About half of these writers appear on the Best Selling Children's Book of the 20th Century list, and many of their individual books appear among the other children's book awards.

    So the best aspect of this children's book award is that all these writers wrote numerous books. If you can get your child to fall for just one classic children's book by one of these prolific writers, you can then keep putting that writer's books in front of your child.

    That makes your job as a parent promoting reading rather easy!

    • 2011 - Tomie dePaola
    • 2009 - Ashley Bryan
    • 2007 - James Marshall
    • 2005 - Laurence Yep
    • 2003 - Eric Carle (Children's book awards winner AND a best seller of the 20th century)

  • 2001 - Milton Meltzer
  • 1998 - Russell Freedman
  • 1995 - Virginia Hamilton
  • 1992 - Marcia Brown
  • 1989 - Elizabeth George Speare (Children's book awards winner AND a best seller of the 20th century)
  • 1986 - Jean Fritz
  • 1983 - Maurice Sendak (Children's book awards winner AND a best seller of the 20th century)
  • 1980 - Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) (Children's book awards winner AND a best seller of the 20th century)
  • 1975 - Beverly Cleary (Children's book awards winner AND a best seller of the 20th century)
  • 1970 - E.B. White (Children's book awards winner AND a best seller of the 20th century)
  • 1965 - Ruth Sawyer
  • 1960: Clara Ingram Judson
  • 1954: Laura Ingalls Wilder (Children's book awards winner AND a best seller of the 20th century)
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    Children's Book Awards - The Golden Kite Award - Chapter Books

    Most children's book awards are chosen by adult readers. The Golden Kites are chosen by the Society of Children's Book Writers And Illustrators. In other words, this is the only children's book prize awarded by the writer's peers!

    These are the chapter book children's book awards. Page down a bit for the Golden Kite picture book awards.

    • 2011 - Jennifer Holm TURTLE IN PARADISE
    • 2010 - Julia Durango SEA OF THE DEAD
    • 2009 - Steve Watkins DOWN SAND MOUNTAIN
    • 2007 - Katherine Applegate HOME OF THE BRAVE
    • 2006 - Tony Abbott FIREGIRL
    • 2005 - Mary E. Pearson A ROOM ON LORELEI STREET
    • 2004 - Christopher Paul Curtis BUCKING THE SARGE

  • 2003 - Jerry Spinelli MILKWEED
  • 2002 - Jaïra Placide FRESH GIRL
  • 2001 - Virginia Euwer Wolff TRUE BELIEVER
  • 2000 - Kathleen Karr THE BOXER
  • 1999 - Laurie Halse Anderson SPEAK
  • 1998 - Joan Bauer RULES OF THE ROAD
  • 1997 - Donna Jo Napoli STONES IN WATER
  • 1996 - Eloise McGraw THE MOORCHILD
  • 1995 - Christopher Paul Curtis THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM - 1963
  • 1994 - Karen Cushman CATHERINE, CALLED BIRDY
  • 1993 - Virginia Euwer Wolff MAKE LEMONADE
  • 1992 - Mary E. Lyons LETTERS FROM A SLAVE GIRL
  • 1991 - Jean Thesman THE RAINCATCHERS
  • 1990 - Avi THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE
  • 1989 - Kristiana Gregory JENNY OF THE TETONS
  • 1988 - George Ella Lyon BORROWED CHILDREN
  • 1987 - Lois Lowry RABBLE STARKEY
  • 1986 - Margaret Rostkowski AFTER THE DANCING DAYS
  • 1985 - Patricia MacLachlan SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL (Children's Book Awards winner AND a best seller of the 20th century)
  • 1984 - Belinda Hurmence TANCY
  • 1983 - Gloria Skurzynski THE TEMPERING
  • 1982 - Beverly Cleary RALPH S. MOUSE
  • 1981 - M.E. Kerr LITTLE, LITTLE
  • 1980 - Patricia MacLachlan ARTHUR, FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME
  • 1979 - Carole S. Adler THE MAGIC OF THE GLITS
  • 1978 - Stella Pevsner AND YOU GIVE ME A PAIN, ELAINE
  • 1977 - Bernice Rabe THE GIRL WHO HAD NO NAME
  • 1976 - Eve Bunting ONE MORE FLIGHT
  • 1975 - Carol Farley THE GARDEN IS DOING FINE
  • 1974 - Jane Yolen THE GIRL WHO CRIED FLOWERS
  • 1973 - Bette Green SUMMER OF MY GERMAN SOLDIER
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    Children's Book Awards - The Golden Kite Awards - Picture Books

    This is the picture book part of the Golden Kite children's book awards. These are for best picture book text

    • 2011 - Rukhsana Khan BIG RED LOLLIPOP
    • 2010 - Marion Dane Bauer THE LONGEST NIGHT
    • 2008 - Bonnie Becker A VISITOR FOR BEAR
    • 2007 - Sara Pennypacker PIERRE IN LOVE
    • 2006 - Walter Dean Myers JAZZ
    • 2005 - Pat Mora DOÑA FLOR
    • 2004 - Deborah Hopkinson APPLES TO OREGON
    • 2003 - Amy Timberlake THE DIRTY COWBOY
    • 2002 - Sarah Wilson GEORGE HOGGLESBERRY, GRADE SCHOOL ALIEN
    • 2001 - J. Patrick Lewis THE SHOE TREE OF CHAGRIN
    • 2000 - Jane Kurtz RIVER FRIENDLY, RIVER WILD
    • 1999 - Deborah Hopkinson A BAND OF ANGELS
    • 1998 - Kristine O'Connell George OLD ELM SPEAKS: TREE POEMS
    • 1997 - Marguerite W. Davol THE PAPER DRAGON
    • 1996 - Diane Stanley SAVING SWEETNESS

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    Children's Book Awards - The Margaret A. Edwards Award

    This and the Laura Ingalls Wilder award are the top children's book awards honoring children's book authors who have published a large body of work. The Margaret A. Edwards award comes from the Young Adult Library Services Association.

    Get your child hooked on one book by one author and then unearth the whole treasure trove of more books by that author to read.

    The Edwards authors write for adolescents, helping them to become self-aware and think about their role in "relationships, society, and in the world."

    • 2011 - Terry Prachett
    • 2010 - Jim Murphy
    • 2009 - Laurie Halse Anderson
    • 2008 - Orson Scott Card
    • 2007 - Lois Lowry
    • 2006 - Jacqueline Woodson
    • 2005 - Francesca Lia Block
    • 2004 - Ursula K. Le Guin
    • 2003 - Nancy Garden
    • 2002 - Paul Zindel (Children's book awards winner AND a best seller of the 20th century)
    • 2001 - Robert Lipsyte
    • 2000 - Chris Crutcher
    • 1999 - Anne McCaffrey
    • 1998 - Madeleine L'Engle (Children's book awards winner AND a best seller of the 20th century)
    • 1997 - Gary Paulsen (Children's book awards winner AND a best seller of the 20th century)
    • 1996 - Judy Blume (Children's book awards winner AND a best seller of the 20th century)
    • 1995 - Cynthia Voigt
    • 1994 - Walter Dean Myers
    • 1993 - M.E. Kerr
    • 1992 - Lois Duncan
    • 1991 - Robert Cormier (Children's book awards winner AND a best seller of the 20th century)
    • 1990 - Richard Peck
    • 1988 - S.E. Hinton (Children's book awards winner AND a best seller of the 20th century)

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    Children's Book Awards - The Gryphon Award

    Most children's book awards are aimed at either picture books or chapter books.

    This prize honors books intended for an audience from kindergarten through grade 4. Think of them as books intended to bridge the way from books meant to be read aloud to kids to books kids are meant to read on their own.

    They call it "transitional reading," and it's a very new award.

    • 2011 - We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems
    • 2010 - Adventures in Cartooning by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost
    • 2009 - Frogs by Nic Bishop
    • 2008 - Billy Tartle in Say Cheese! by Michael Townsend
    • 2007 - The True Story of Stellina by Matteo Pericoli
    • 2006 - Stinky Stern Forever by Michelle Edwards
    • 2005 - Little Rat Rides by Monika Bang-Campbell
    • 2004 - Bow Wow Meow Meow: It's Rhyming Cats and Dogs by Douglas Florian

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    Remember: this list comprises only a tiny portion of all the children's book awards that are out there.

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