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The Bluestem Award Nominees 2018

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The Bluestem Award: Illinois' Grades 3-5 Readers' Choice Award is a relatively new book award that had its first winner in 2011. The award winner is chosen out of a list of 20 nominees. The books can be classics or new titles, but in order to be eligible to vote, students have to read at least four from the nominee list.

Online voting takes place between February 15th and March 15th. If your school is registered with the program, and you have read (or listened to) at least four of the nominated books, you can vote for your favorite during that time! The winner for 2017 has been announced and it was El Deafo by Cece Bell.

Looking for a place to talk about the Bluestem books and complete activities based on the books all while eating delicious snacks? Sign up for Beyond the Book at the Dundee Library! It meets every second Tuesday of the month. In April, we're reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.

The Nominees for 2018

11 Birthdays
by Wendy Mass

Cover of 11 Birthdays; a large bunch of balloons held in front of a girl's face

After celebrating their first nine same-day birthdays together, Amanda and Leo, having fallen out on their tenth and not speaking to each other for the last year, prepare to celebrate their eleventh birthday separately but peculiar things begin to happen as the day of their birthday begins to repeat itself over and over again.

A Blind Guide to Stinkville
by Beth Vrabel

Cover of A Blind Guide to Stinkville; Braille dots shaping the letters of the title, silhouette of a pug underneath

Leaving her best friend and the familiarity of Seattle for the paper mill town of "Stinkville, " South Carolina, twelve-year-old Alice, who lives with albinism and blindness, takes on the additional challenge of entering the Stinkville Success Stories essay contest.

Among the Hidden
by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Cover of Among the Hidden; a boy looking over his left shoulder towards an open window where shadowy figures can be seen

In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family's farm, until another "third" convinces him that the government is wrong.

Book Scavenger
by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Cover of Book Scavenger; old house with bay windows lit up with silhouettes of a girl and a boy

Just after twelve-year-old Emily and her family move to San Francisco, she teams up with new friend James to follow clues in an odd book they find, hoping to figure out its secrets before the men who attacked Emily's hero, publisher Garrison Griswold, solve the mystery or come after the friends.

by Katherine Applegate

Cover of Crenshaw; the backs of a larger than human cat and a boy sitting on a bench

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope Adventures of the Great Blondin
by Matt Tavares

Cover of Crossing Niagara; ship in foreground, Niagara Falls behind, with a man balancing on a tightrope above the Falls

When the Great Blondin announced that he was going to walk from America to Canada across the Niagara River on a rope more than eleven hundred feet long and just three inches wide, hanging one hundred and sixty feet above the raging waters, people came from everywhere. Some people came to watch him cross. Some to watch him fall. Some thought he wouldn't show up at all. But he did show up. And he did walk across the river. And then he did it again. And again. And again.

by Kirby Larson

Cover of Dash; back of a girl with two long braids holding a curly-haired dog that is looking over her shoulder

When her family is forced into an internment camp, Mitsi Kashino is separated from her home, her classmates, and her beloved dog Dash; and as her family begins to come apart around her, Mitsi clings to her one connection to the outer world - the letters from the kindly neighbor who is caring for Dash.

Fuzzy Mud
by Louis Sachar

Cover of Fuzzy Mud; dark, creepy woods with two children entering them way off in the distance

Tamaya is on a scholarship to the prestigious Woodridge Academy and every day she and Marshall walk to school together. They never go through the woods. But today, hoping to avoid Chad the bully, Marshall and Tamaya head into the woods. The next day, Chad doesn't turn up at school. And Tamaya's arm is covered in a horribly, burning, itchy wound. As two unlikely heroes set out to rescue their bully, the town is about to be turned upside down by the mysterious Fuzzy Mud...

Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth
by Judd Winick

Cover of Hilo; a boy holding up two glowing fists while two kids in the background watch him

D.J. and his friend Gina are totally normal kids. But Hilo isn't! Hilo doesn't know where he came from, or what he's doing on Earth. (Or why going to school in only your underwear is a BAD idea! But UH-OH, what if Hilo wasn't the only thing to fall to our planet? Can the trio unlock the secrets of Hilo's past? Can Hilo SURVIVE a day at school?

Roller Girl
by Victoria Jamieson

Cover of Roller Girl; a girl with blue braids on roller skates

Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But when Astrid signs up for roller derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid's life. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle short, strong enough to be a roller girl.

Save Me a Seat
by Sara Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Cover of Save Me a Seat; one lunch tray filled with cafeteria food, one lunch tray filled with Indian food

Ravi has just moved to the United States from India and has always been at the top of his class; Joe has lived in the same town his whole life and has learning problems - but when their lives intersect in the first week of fifth grade they are brought together by a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and the need to take control of their lives.

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation
by Duncan Tonatiuh

Cover of Separate Is Never Equal; three white children with their backs to three Latino children as they walk towards different schools

Years before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez, an eight-year-old girl of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage, played an instrumental role in Mendez v. Westminster, the landmark desegregation case of 1946 in California.

by Joan Bauer

Cover of Soar; boy wearing a baseball mitt and holding a baseball

Jeremiah is the world's biggest baseball fan. So when he's told he can't play baseball following a heart operation, Jeremiah decides he'll become a coach instead of a player. His new town, Hillcrest, is known for its championship baseball team. But Jeremiah finds the town about ready to give up on baseball, leaving it up to him to get them back in the game.

Stick Dog
by Tom Watson

Cover of Stick Dog; pencil drawing of a dog

Stick Dog and his four friends - Stripes, Mutt, Poo-Poo, and Karen - are prepared to go on an epic quest to steal some sweet-smelling hamburgers from a family at Picasso Park! Stick Dog will make you laugh, he'll make you cry, but above all, he'll make you hungry.

The House That Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams
by Tanya Lee Stone

Cover of The House That Jane Built; a woman in profile

This is the story of Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, who transformed a poor neighborhood in Chicago by opening up her house as a community center. Addams's efforts transformed neighborhoods and lives, and by 1907, Hull House had grown into 13 community buildings.

The Most Amazing Creature in the Sea
by Brenda Z. Guiberson

Cover of The Most Amazing Creature in the Sea


Which sea creature is the greatest? Is it the one with the most venom, the greatest diver, the one with blue blood, or the best rotating eyes? Or is it the master of disguise, the one with the best light, the most slime, or the most eggs? Fascinating facts and spectacular illustrations will inspire you to choose your own favorite sea creatures!

The Terrible Two
by Mac Barnett

Cover of The Terrible Two

When master prankster Miles Murphy moves to sleepy Yawnee Valley, he challenges the local mystery prankster in an epic battle of tricks, but soon the two join forces to pull off the biggest prank ever seen.

The Wild Robot
by Peter Brown

Cover of The Wild Robot

When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. Why is she there? Where did she come from? Most important, how will she survive in her harsh surroundings? Roz's only hope is to learn from the island's hostile animal inhabitants. When she tries to care for an orphaned gosling, the other animals finally decide to help, and the island starts to feel like home. Until one day, the robot's mysterious past comes back to haunt her.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin

Cover of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.

Who Was Louis Braille?
by Margaret Frith

Cover of Who Was Louis Braille?

Louis Braille certainly wasn't your average teenager. Blind from the age of four, he was only fifteen when in 1824 he invented a reading system that converted printed words into columns of raised dots. Through touch, Braille opened the world of books to the sightless, and almost two hundred years later, no one has ever improved upon his simple, brilliant idea.