The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy announces the winners for the fourth year
of the Bell Picture Book Awards.
The winning titles are:
READ: The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley;
illustrated by Kate Berube (New York: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman
Nick loves spending time with his cats, except when he wants to read:
his cats lay on the pages of the books and make nuisances of themselves!
Nick decides to teach his cats to read, so they can all enjoy books
together. Just like Nick’s cats, some children will be enthusiastic
learners and others will struggle. This book describes a wonderful
variety of activities that will support all children on their learning
WRITE: Alphonse, That is Not OK to Do! by Daisy Hirst (Somerville,
Massachusetts: Candlewick, 2016)
Natalie loves to create art with her little brother, Alphonse. When she
catches him eating her book, however, Natalie is mad and channels her
anger into her art, drawing beasts and a tornado chasing Alphonse!
Drawing and scribbling allows children to tell stories and express their
feelings before they learn how to write words and sentences.
SING: Rock-a-Bye Romp by Linda Ashman; illustrated by Simona Mulazzani
(New York: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2016)
This bedtime romp starts with the familiar lines of "Rock-a-Bye, baby,
in the treetop" only to head off on an adventure, taking baby into a
bird's nest, through a farmyard, over a waterfall, and onto the back of
a flying hawk. All the words of the book can be sung to the tune of
Rock-a-Bye Baby. Changing the words to a familiar song is a fun way
introduce a child to new vocabulary and to make children laugh.
TALK: Puddle by Hyewon Yum (New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016)
Stuck inside on a rainy day, a mother coaxes her son to enjoy the day
inside by drawing a picture of the rainy day together. After drawing and
talking, they decide to go outside and splash in the puddles. The entire
story is told through the conversation between mother and son and models
how to engage children in the rich conversations that develop language
PLAY: Box by Min Flye (on order, coming soon); illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw (New York:
Abrams Appleseed, 2015)
A box can contain a fun new toy, but even more fun is what you can do
with the box after you open it! With lift-the-flaps and fold-out pages,
this book is just as much fun to play with as it is to read. The
dramatic play and imagination that an ordinary box inspires develops
language, vocabulary, and narrative skills as children act out their own
The Bell Awards were created in 2012 to recognize picture books that
provide excellent support of early literacy development in young
The five winning books consist of one title in each of five categories
representing an early literacy practice: Read, Write, Sing, Talk, and
Play. The books, in their content, theme, or design, support caregivers’
interaction with their children through early literacy practices.
Research has shown that engaging children in these practices builds
language skills and prepares children to become successful readers.
“Every year I am so excited and curious to see the announcement of the
Bells,” states Carol Edwards, SPELL Project Coordinator - Supporting
Parents in Early Literacy through Libraries. “I have seen the short
lists and have my favorites, but I seldom guess the winners. Any of the
books on the short list are great titles for families to share with
their children. It looks like all the books are winners!”
The five award winners were selected from short lists announced in
December 2016. The winning titles have been released with support
materials that describe how each title supports early literacy
development, and with suggestions for ways in which parents, caregivers,
and librarians can extend the reading experience with children, through
shared activities appropriate for home, childcare settings, and library
storytime. The shortlists can be accessed and the information sheets can
be downloaded for free at the CLEL website: http://www.clel.org/.
To be eligible for the 2017 Bell Awards, a book must have been published
for the first time in the United States between November 16, 2015 and
November 15, 2016. Nominations for the 2018 Bell Awards, for books
published between November 16, 2016 and November 15, 2017, will open in