After a month of voting by kids on nominated titles for the all-new awards categories, the finalists have been selected, and voting for this year’s winners is now open for the Kids’ Book Choice Awards (formerly known as the Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards). Launched in 2008 by the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader, the awards are the only national book awards voted on solely by kids and teens and provide young readers with an opportunity to voice their opinions about the books being written for them. Young readers are invited to cast their votes here from now until November 14. The 2021 winners will be announced in early December.
The titles span a variety of topics in 15 different categories, from favorite illustrated character to best fantasy world builder. Each category has six finalists.
The finalists for the Best Picture Book Duo are Beautiful Shades of Brown by Nancy Churnin and Felicia Marshall (Creston); Click Clack Goodnight by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin (Simon & Schuster); How Do Dinosaurs Show Good Manners? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague (Scholastic); The Heart of Mi Familia by Carrie Lara and Christine Battuz (Magination); Lift by Minh Lê and Dan Santat (Little, Brown); The Merry Christmas Mittens by Sarah Janco and Blayne Fox (Brown).
The Best Picture Book Page finalists are All Along the River by Magnus Weightman, illus. by Magnus Weightman (Clavis); All Because You Matter by Tami Charles, illus. by Bryan Collier (Scholastic); The Alphabet’s Alphabet by Chris Harris, illus. by Dan Santat (Little, Brown); Arlo the Lion Who Couldn’t Sleep by Catherine Rayner, illus. by Catherine Rayner (Peachtree); Babbit and Joan, a Rabbit and a Phone by Denise Turu, illus. by Denise Turu (Flyaway); and How to Spot an Artist by Danielle Krysa, illus. by Danielle Krysa (Prestel).
For the Favorite Early Reader Series category, finalists are Billie B. Brown by Sally Rippin, illus. by Aki Fukuoka (Kane Miller); Elephant and Piggie Like Reading! by Mo Willems (Hyperion); Feel Better Books by Leah Bowen and Holly Brochmann, illus. by Shirley Ng (Magination); Little People, Big Dreams by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, illus. by Sophie Beer (Quarto); Little Monster by Helen Ketteman, illus. by Bonnie Leick (Two Lions); and The Magnificent Makers by Theanne Griffith, illus. by Reggie Brown (Random House).
The finalists for Favorite Illustrated Character are Bentley Bee from Bee Heartful by Frank J. Sileo, illus. by Claire Keay (Magination); Little Blue Truck from Little Blue Truck’s Valentine by Alice Schertle, illus. by Jill McElmurry (HMH); Nibbles the Book Monster from Nibbles: Colors by Emma Yarlett, illus. by Emma Yarlett (Kane Miller); Ms. Johnson from The Noisy Classroom by Angela Shanté, illus. by Alison Hawkins (West Margin); Old Dog from This Old Dog by Martha Brockenbrough, illus. by Gabriel Alborozo (Levine Querido); and The Princess in Black from The Princess in Black and the Giant Problem by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illus. by LeUyen Pham (Candlewick).
The Best Book of the Year: K-2nd Grade finalists are Bedtime for Sweet Creatures by Nikki Grimes, illus. by Elizabeth Zunon (Sourcebooks); Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina, illus. by Sonia Sánchez (Candlewick); Every Color of Light by Hiroshi Osada, illus. by Ryoji Arai, trans. by David Boyd (Enchanted Lion); I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, illus. by Gordon C. James (Penguin/Paulsen); I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott, illus. by Sydney Smith (Holiday House/Porter); and We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illus. by Michaela Goade (Roaring Brook).
For the Best Book of Facts category, finalists are 50 Adventures in the 50 States by Kate Siber, illus. by Lydia Hill (Quarto); Brave. Black. First. by Cheryl Hudson, illus. by Erin K. Robinson (Crown); Hop to It: Poems to Get You Moving by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, illus. by Franzi Paetzold (Pomelo); I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast by Michael Holland, illus. by Phillip Giordano (Flying Eye); Kate the Chemist: The Big Book of Experiments by Kate Biberdorf (Philomel); and A Search for the Northern Lights by Elizabeth Rusch and Izzi Rusch, illus. by Cedar Lee (West Margin).
Finalists for the Best Graphic Novel are Big Nate: The Gerbil Ate My Homework by Lincoln Peirce (Andrews McMeel); Class Act by Jerry Craft (Quill Tree); InvestiGators by John Patrick Green (First Second); Max Meow Book 1: Cat Crusader by John Gallagher (Random House); Phoebe: Camping with Unicorns by Dana Simpson (Andrews McMeel); and When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, illus. by Victoria Jamieson and Iman Geddy (Dial).
For the Favorite Author category, finalists are Jacqueline Woodson, author of Before the Ever After (Penguin/Paulsen); Dav Pilkey, author of Cat Kid Comic Club (Graphix); Jeff Kinney, author of The Deep End (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #15) (Amulet); Trudi Trueit, author of Explorer Academy: The Star Dunes (National Geographic); Jason Reynolds, author of Look Both Ways (Simon & Schuster/Dlouhy); Chris Grabenstein, author of The Smartest Kid in the Universe (Random House); and Rick Riordan, author of The Tower of Nero (Disney).
Finalists for the Best Book of the Year: 3rd-4th Grade category are Beetle & the Hollowbones by Aliza Layne, illus. by Aliza Layne (Atheneum); Girl on a Motorcycle by Amy Novesky, illus. by Julie Morstad (Viking); Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming, illus. by Eric Rohmann (Holiday House/Porter); The Paper Boat: A Refugee Story by Thao Lam (Owlkids); Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake, illus. by Jon Klassen (Algonquin); and Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson, illus. by Nina Mata (Bloomsbury).
Best Book of the Year: 5th-6th Grade finalists are All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat (Candlewick); Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros (Quill Tree); Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Dial); Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Brian Pinkney (Little, Brown); Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices, ed. by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed (Abrams); and Twins by Varian Johnson, illus. by Shannon Wright (Graphix).
The finalists for the category of Best Book Creator Digital Presence are Nic Stone, creator of Dear Justyce (Crown) Tw @getnicced; IG @nicstone; Adam Silvera, creator of Infinity Son (QuillTree) Tw @AdamSilvera; IG @adamsilvera; Leigh Bardugo, creator of The Lives of Saints (Macmillan) Tw @LBardugo; IG @lbardugo; Maggie Tokuda-Hall, creator of The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea (Candlewick) Tw @emteehall; IG @maggietokudahall; Sabaa Tahir, creator of A Sky Beyond the Storm (Razorbill) and A Thief Among the Trees: An Ember in the Ashes Graphic Novel (BOOM! Studios) Tw @sabaatahir; IG @sabaatahir; and Traci Chee, creator of We Are Not Free (Clarion) Tw @tracichee; IG @tracicheeauthor.
For the category of Best Fantasy World Builder, finalists are Suzanne Collins, author of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. A Hunger Games Novel (Scholastic); Cassandra Clare, author of Chain of Gold (Simon & Schuster/McElderry); F.C. Yee, author of Avatar, The Last Airbender: The Shadow of Kyoshi (Abrams); Sabaa Tahir, author of A Sky Beyond the Storm (Razorbill); Helena Dahlgren, author of Soul Riders: Jorvik Calling (Andrews McMeel); and Melissa de la Cruz, author of The Queen’s Assassin (Putnam).
Favorite Book Cover finalists are All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson (FSG)—cover illustration by Charly Palmer, design and lettering by Cassie Gonzales; Camper Girl by Glenn Erick Miller (Regal House/Fitzroy)—cover by C.B. Royal; Fangs by Sarah Anderson (Andrews McMeel)—cover by Sarah Anderson; Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)—cover art by Alex Cabal, design by Chris Kwon; Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (Simon & Schuster/McElderry)—cover illustration by Hillary Wilson; and What if…? A Poppenohna Land Adventure by Carrie Turley (Lawley)—cover by Lara Law.
Finalists for the category of Favorite True Story are The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph (Candlewick); Blood and Germs: The Civil War Battle Against Wounds and Disease by Gail Jarrow (Astra/Boyds Mills & Kane); Finish the Fight! by Veronica Chambers and The Staff of the New York Times (HMH); No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History by Lindsay H. Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley, illus. by Jeanette Bradley (Charlesbridge); This Is Your Time by Ruby Bridges (Delacorte); and We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport by Deborah Hopkinson (Scholastic).
Best Book of the Year: Teen finalists are Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang (First Second); Everything Sad Is Untrue (A True Story) by Daniel Nayeri (Levine Querido); Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko (Amulet); The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming (Random House/Schwartz & Wade); Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-Winning ‘Stamped from the Beginning’ by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi (Little, Brown); and We Are Not Free by Traci Chee (Clarion).
Every Child a Reader has created resources to help educators, librarians, booksellers, and other adults create exciting and engaging voting areas whenever able. Resources and activities are also available to help promote the awards and engage kids with this year's finalists.