SC Children’s Book Award Nominees I’m Excited to Read


Each spring the South Carolina Association of School Librarians announces lists of the best books for grades K-12.

There are four lists total, each consisting of 20 books that are recommended for picture books, children’s books, junior books, and young adult books. Personally, I love when the lists are announced because I get a jumpstart on reading as many as I can. Since I’ve pretty much always worked in libraries, it’s also professionally helpful because these lists contain titles we can recommend to parents when they are struggling to find books their kids want to read.

Today, I’ll be sharing the five children’s book titles I’m most excited to read. These books are great for 3rd through 5th grades or anyone who loves reading elementary chapter books. 

When Stars Are Scattered 

by Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed

I’m a sucker for a good graphic novel, especially one for kids. Jamieson has written several that I love including Roller Girl, so when I saw this title, I knew it had to be one I got my hands on. Heartbreak and hope coexist in this inspiring story of a boy who will go to any length to help his younger brother. The story that Jamieson tells is based on actual events in Mohamed’s life, which make this story even more special. 

Song for a Whale

by Lynne Kelly

This book tells the story of a deaf girl who bonds with a whale who can’t be heard by those like him. She is the only deaf person at her school, so she often feels like she’s not listened to and she wants to find a way to make her new whale friend heard. This seems like an inspiring story that will breathe a little bit of hope and light into the reader. 

More to the Story

by Hena Khan

This book has the makings of a classic children’s book. A sister story based on Little Women mixed with school journalism and a new friendship, makes this one a must read. Truly there is nothing better than a sweet elementary family story, and I can’t wait to curl up with this one on a rainy, spring afternoon. 

Lety Out Loud

by Angela Cervantes

When Lety agrees to a competition with a fellow volunteer at the animal shelter, she’s nervous about anyone finding out. She wants to adopt her favorite dog at the shelter, but she also wants to win the competition. This title seems like a sweet, light read, perfect for any animal lover.  

Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

by Celia Perez

A misfit group of girls create their own troop to combat some outdated traditions inside the local Girl Scouts. They aren’t friends at all, but through their shared mission they realize how much they needed each other all along. This book sounds like the perfect combination of challenging and feel good, which is exactly my type of book.

What new books are you excited to read with your children this year?


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Kelsey Arender is a Lexington native who fell in love with her work in libraries in 2012. Prior to her recent career change, you could find her at the public library's children department. Now, she happily works in a middle school library. On the weekends, Kelsey and her husband, William, enjoy watching reruns of their favorite TV shows, attending church, and reading with their one-year-old daughter. Kelsey's favorite things include endless mugs of coffee, cozy sweaters, rainy days, and laughing with friends. She may be an introvert but if you start a conversation about personality types, toddlers, or hygge, you'll make a fast friend. You can find her hanging on Instagram at @we_all_get_sleepy.


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