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Bluestem Book Award

The award is designed for students in grades 3–5 who are ready for longer titles than found on the Monarch list, but not quite ready for the sophistication of some of the Rebecca Caudill titles. Named in honor of Big Bluestem which is the state prairie grass, the award may include both timeless classics and current titles, as well as books that have appeared on Monarch and Rebecca Caudill lists.

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      Max and the Midknights

      by Lincoln Peirce

      Jun 2019

      Intermediate Readers

      2021
      Max wants to be a knight! Too bad that dream is about as likely as finding a friendly dragon. But when Max’s uncle Budrick is kidnapped by the cruel King Gastley, Max has to act…and fast! Joined by a band of brave adventurers—the Midknights—Max sets out on a thrilling quest: to save Uncle Budrick and restore the realm of Byjovia to its former high spirits!

      Black-and-white illustrations.

      Power Forward: Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream

      by Hena Khan

      Sep 2018

      Sports Elementary Plus

      2021
      Fourth-grader Zayd Saleem wants to make the Gold Team. But his Pakistani American parents want him to practice his violin. Can he balance both basketball and violin?
      Black-and-white illustrations.

      Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere

      by Barb Rosenstock

      Aug 2018

      Science Nonfiction Elementary Plus

      2021
      This is the suspenseful, little-known true story of two determined pioneers who made the first dive into the deep ocean.

      The Ambrose Deception

      by Emily Ecton

      Jul 2018

      Mystery/Adventure Elementary Plus

      2021
      Melissa is a nobody. Wilf is a slacker. Bondi is a show-off. To everyone's surprise, they are the three students chosen to compete for a ten thousand-dollar scholarship.

      Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover

      by Markus Motum

      Jul 2018

      Science Nonfiction Elementary Plus

      2021
      Full of eye-catching retro illustrations, this look at NASA's beloved Mars rover is sure to fascinate budding space explorers and set inquisitive minds soaring.

      Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery

      by Sandra Neil Wallace

      Apr 2018

      Sports Elementary Plus

      2020
      Discover the true story of NFL star Ernie Barnes—a boy who followed his dreams and became one of the most influential artists of his generation. Historical note. Author’s note. Illustrator’s note. Reproductions of paintings. Suggestions for further information. Quote sources. Additional resources. Full-color watercolor and collage illustrations.
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