Award Worthy Books

Please follow the links to learn more about the Rebecca Caudill and Lincoln books awards.
The 2021 winner for the Caudill book award is Front Desk by Kelly Yang:


Mia Tang and her parents expected to work hard when they came to the United States, but they had no idea how difficult things would be. After a year or two struggling to make ends meet, they find themselves managing a motel for a cruel and exploitive owner. The work is exhausting and the problems are many, but the Tangs approach their new responsibility with determination, creativity, and compassion, making friends everywhere and sheltering a trickle of immigrants in worse straits than themselves. Ten-year-old Mia takes over the front desk, and makes it her own, while dreaming of a future as a writer. Based on Yang's own experiences as a new immigrant in the 1980s and 1990s, her novel speaks openly of hardship, poverty, assault, racism, and bullying, but keeps a light, positive tone throughout. Mia herself is an irresistible protagonist, and it is a pleasure to see both her writing and her power grow through a series of letters that she sends to remedy injustices. The hefty and satisfying dose of wish fulfillment that closes the story feels fully earned by the specificity and detailed warmth of Yang's setup. Many young readers will see themselves in Mia and her friends.   

The Caudill award is for books geared for kids in 4th-8th grade. The award is named for Rebecca Caudill, who lived and wrote in Urbana, IL for nearly 50 years. The award is given in recognition of her literary talent and universal appeal of her books. You can find more information here.




The 2021 winner of the Lincoln book award is Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson:

Stevie Bell is a dyed-in-the-wool true-crime buff. And what better place to deepen her understanding than at Ellingham Academy, the Vermont private school founded in the 1930s by wealthy eccentric Albert Ellingham? Partly because the custom courses of study are tailored to students' passion--writing, engineering, film, math--but also because the school was the scene of a notorious crime not long after it opened:  Albert Ellingham's wife and daughter were kidnapped, ostensibly for ransom, and a student was killed. His wife's body was found eventually, but his daughter, Alice, never was. Stevie plans to solve the case. But when a classmate is killed, everything changes. There is a lot to love here. Stevie is a smart, relatable, self-aware protagonist. The cast is racially diverse and includes teens on various parts of the gender, sexuality, and neurotypical spectrums. The setting is fully realized, and the adults are as well characterized as the students. Johnson excellently sets up both mysteries as well as Ellingham's love of puzzles, riddles, and secret passageways.  


The Abraham Lincoln Book Award is given in honor of President Lincoln who had a love or reading, and aims to make teens life long readers. You can find more information here.