Bluestem Readers’ Choice AwardList of Nominees2010-11
The Bluestem Award Reader’s Choice award selected by Illinois students in grades 3 through 5 Twenty books on the list Students who read at least four books can vote for their favorite title in the Spring This is the first time the award will be given!
Designated as Illinois’ Official Prairie Grass in 1989
Grows to a height of 3 to 10 feet; stem turns bluish-purple as plant matures
Large sections of Illinois prairie were once composed almost entirely of Bluestem
Why Bluestem? Deep roots = older, beloved titles on the list New yearly growth = list’s newer favorites Changing colors = many types of literature found on the list Three seed spikes = grades eligible to vote for winner (Grades 3, 4, & 5)
What You Need to Do… Read four (or more!) of the books from the list If your teacher reads some of the books to the class, you can count one of these, but you will still need to read three books on your own (You can do it!) Take the AR test for the books that you have read so that Mrs. Newell will know who is eligible to vote in the Spring. Attend the voting party (probably after spring break) and vote for your favorite book.
2011 Bluestem Nominees(Bold indicates titles included in this presentation) Ivy and Bean Frogs No Talking BFG Kenny and the Dragon Sky Boys Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat Henry’s Freedom Box The Year of the Dog Being Teddy Roosevelt Hachiko Waits Boys of Steel How to Steal a Dog Houdini Box Dodger and Me Where I Live Stand Tall, Abe Lincoln Shredderman: Secret Identity OggieCooder The Aurora County All-Stars
Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building (2006)Deborah Hopkinson &James E. Ransome (illus.) A look at how one of the world’s greatest feats of building design and engineering is built during the world’s worst economic crisis—The Great Depression.
Kenny & the Dragon(2008)Tony DiTerlizzi What do you do when one of your best friends is a dragon that your other best friend, a retired knight (and bookstore owner) has been ordered to slay? Little Kenny rabbit must solve this problem to save a life and keep his two closest friends.
How to Steal a Dog(2007)Barbara O’Connor Georgiana and her brother, Toby, suddenly find themselves homeless, living with their mother in a car after their dad leaves. But Georgiana has a plan to improve their situation by claiming the $500 reward for the return of a missing dog… Simple, right? Or maybe it’s not…
The BFG(1982)Roald DahlQuentin Blake (illus.) Sophie, with the help of the BFG (or Big Friendly Giant) join forces to defeat the mean giants who are eating children! They can’t do this alone, though, so they get help from the Queen of England, King of Sweden, the Army and the Air Force to help them, but will it be enough?
No Talking(2007)Andrew Clements How long could you go without saying a single word? What if you had to keep silent to help win the boys versus girls bet made by two of your classmates? What would your teachers think if a class nicknamed “The Unshushables” suddenly fell completely silent?
OggieCooder(2008)Sarah Weeks Oggie is a little different than the other kids at his school. He wears mismatched clothes, makes his own shoelaces and has a special talent: sculpting pieces of cheese into shapes using only his teeth, or “charving”. When the “Hidden Talent” TV show comes to town, Oggie suddenly finds himself in the spotlight. How will he handle his new-found popularity?
The Year of the Dog(2006)Grace Lin Pacy’s mom said that during the Chinese Year of the Dog, people try to “find themselves,” so that’s what Pacysets out to do: learn about her Taiwanese heritage while maintaining her identity as an American. Is it possible, though, for Pacy to be two things at once? Over the course of the year, Pacy struggles to find her talent, make a new best friend and discover whether the Year of the Dog is a lucky one for her. Based on the author’s childhood experiences, this novel will appeal to any reader who has ever worried about making friends or asked the question, “Who am I anyway?”
Being Teddy Roosevelt(2007)Claudia Mills When things get tough, sometimes you just need to ask yourself, “What would Teddy do?” Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, that is. Riley O’Rourke may as well be known as “The Boy Who Forgets” because he’s always losing things, especially his homework. He could also be “The Boy Who Will Never Get to Play the Saxophone” because his mom can’t afford the instrument rental fee. But when Riley is assigned to play Teddy Roosevelt at the 4th-grade biography tea, he begins to copy the former president’s can-do attitude and suddenly lost report notes and not much money don’t seem to be such big problems after all!
Ivy and Bean(2007)Annie Barrows Can two girls who seem so different ever become best friends? Bean, who is constantly getting into trouble, tells her mom that there is no way that she will ever be friends with such a nice (boring!) girl like Ivy. But Bean starts to change her mind when she discovers that Ivy might not be as nice as she appears. A special hideout, magic wand and trick played on Bean’s bossy sister may be the start of a beautiful friendship!
Dodger and Me(2008)Jordan Sonnenblick Willie has three big problems: he’s terrible at baseball and lost the big game for his team, his mother is over-protective and there’s a girl that won’t leave him alone. But all that’s about to change because Dodger, the blue chimpanzee with magical powers, has promised to grant Willie’s wishes and solve all his problems. Things are bound to get better! It turns out, though, that Dodger may not be the most capable genie and that Willie may not always understand his true problems. Can they work together to bring about a happy ending?
Frogs(2008)Nic Bishop Frogs are amazing, fascinating creatures, but how many of us have had a chance to really get up-close and personal with a poison dart frog or a mammoth bullfrog? Nic Bishop’s patience and perseverance in capturing amazing, detailed images brings frog species from around the world right to the reader’s lap. With the simple accompanying text and fun facts, everyone will enjoy learning more about these important members of the amphibian world.
Where I Live(2007)Eileen Spinelli Diana loves everything about her house, from the astronomy posters on her walls to being able to wave to her best friend, Rose, from her bedroom window. Lately, though, Diana’s parents have been acting strange—her dad no longer tells jokes and her mom doesn’t seem her usually happy self. Diana worries that something bad is about to happen, and while she is ultimately relieved to find that her parents are not getting a divorce, the real problem is almost as bad—Diana and her family have to move! In this novel told in free-verse poetry, readers will learn whether Diana can survive the move and learn to lover her new home.
The Houdini Box(2001)Brian Selznick Though only 10 years old, Victor is sure that he can be as great a magician as his idol, the marvelous Harry Houdini, but try as he might, Victor can’t seem to escape from unlocked trunks, walk through walls or hold his breath for 5000 seconds, and his mother is getting tired of having to recue him! Then, Victor’s big chance comes when he meets his idol at a train station and Houdini promises to tell him his secrets in a letter, which arrives on the day Houdini dies. When Victor arrives at Houdini’s house, he is given a small box that he can’t open with the letters E.W. on the top. What do these letters mean? Will Victor ever open the box? What will he find inside?
HachikoWaits(2004)Leslea Newman What is loyalty? What makes a dog love and be loyal to his person? This book does not directly answer these questions, but the true story of Hachiko, the Japanese Akita who spends years waiting for a master who will never return paints a picture of loyalty and devotion that will stay with you always. Ms. Newman’s story, told in an authentic Japanese voice, gives a glimpse into the culture of pre-World War II Japan and recounts a story that is sad and hopeful at the same time.
Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat(2007)Lynne Jonell Emmy has always been a good girl: she gets good grades, listens to her nanny and always eats her vegetables—so why does the teacher forget her name and the kids in her class never notice her? Is she invisible or something? Maybe her class Rat can tell her what to do…. That’s right, one day, the pet rat suddenly starts talking to Emmy and he thinks that the Nanny, Miss Barmy might be the source of all Emmy’s troubles. Can Emmy learn to stand up for herself and discover Miss Barmy’s true nature before it’s too late?
Boys of Steel(2008)Marc Tyler NoblemanRoss MacDonald (illus.) Everyone has heard of Superman, but most people probably don’t know the true story about how the “Man of Steel” came into existence. For example, did you know that
Superman was created in 1934 by two young men, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who loved comic-book heroes.
It took 3 years for Jerry and Joe to find a publisher for Superman—DC comics, who purchased the story and all rights to the character for only $130.
Jerry and Joe took DC Comics to court, and though both have passed away, the company is still negotiating with their families over a settlement.
Read this book and learn more about the origins of this beloved superhero!
The Aurora County All-Stars(2007)Deborah Wiles Twelve-year-old House Jackson is ready for the BIG (and only!) GAME against the Raleigh Redbugs after spending a year recuperating from a broken elbow. But, House is also worried that his friends will discover the secret of how and with whom he has spent his afternoons for the last year. This secret, and the discovery that the big game might not be played after all is almost too much for House to bear!