SC Picture Book Award Nominees I’m Excited About


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 picture book titles I’m most excited to read. These books are great for younger kids, elementary aged children, or anyone who loves a good picture book. 


By Mo Willems

I am a huge fan of Mo Willems. From the Elephant and Piggie series to Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, this man is known for his funny, witty way of engaging kids with reading. Because is all about music, persistence, and magic, which happen to be three of my favorite things. This is one of the first picture books I’ll be getting my hands on.

The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng

By Sophia Gholz

This beautifully illustrated nonfiction title serves a reminder that we are all important and can make a difference. I love introducing my daughter to books that contain true events, even though she is only a toddler. Nonfiction books are no longer boring, thick titles, and I’m so happy to read these types of books with my daughter. 

A Crazy-Much Love

By Joy Jordan Lake

Just from the cover alone, I know I’m going to have all the warm fuzzies while reading this book. The story is about adoptive parents reflecting on all of the big milestones they experienced with their daughter as she grows older. It’s a sweet story reminding kids that they are loved as their own unique selves. I can’t wait to curl up and read this one. 

The Happy Book 

By Andy Rash

As someone who values the importance of social emotional learning, I couldn’t leave this book off of my list. Two best friends who live in a place full of rainbows and sunshine still experience disappointment and sadness, leaving them wondering if they’ll ever be happy again. They will learn that it isn’t just about being happy, but being supportive of each other through all the feelings. This is one that would pair well with a conversation of emotions and how important it is to value each one. 

There Are No Bears in This Bakery

By Julia Sarcone-Roach

This silly book looks like it’s the perfect balance of funny and mysterious. A guard cat at a bakery stumbles across a bear who’s hungry and he has to figure out what to do. It sounds like the perfect book for my daughter who is obsessed with cats, bears, and sweets. I’ll be getting this one from the library sooner rather than later. 

There are so many great titles on the list this year, and I’m excited to read through them all!

What is one book you can’t wait to read?


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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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