The Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award is an Illinois award in which books are nominated and voted for by children and teens in grades 4-8 in Illinois schools.
Grade Level Interest
M: Middle School (defined as grades 6-8).
S: Senior High (defined as grades 9-12).
A/YA: Adult-marketed book recommended for teens.
2012 – Powerless by Matthew Cody
Twelve-year-old Daniel, the new kid in town, soon learns the truth about his nice—but odd—new friends: one can fly, another can turn invisible, yet another controls electricity. Incredible. The superkids use their powers to secretly do good in the town, but they’re haunted by the fact that the moment they turn thirteen, their abilities will disappear—along with any memory that they ever had them. Is a memory-stealing supervillain sapping their powers? (M)
2011 – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. (M, S)
2010 – All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn
Travis and his sister, Corey, can’t resist a good trick. When they learn that their grandmother’s quiet Vermont inn, where they’re spending the summer, has a history of ghost sightings, they decide to do a little “haunting” of their own. Before long, their supernatural pranks have tourists flocking to the inn, and business booms. But Travis and Corey soon find out that they aren’t the only ghosts at Fox Hill Inn. Their thoughtless games have awakened something dangerous, something that should have stayed asleep. Can these siblings lay to rest the ghosts they’ve stirred? (M)
2009 – The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Perseus, aka Percy Jackson, thinks he has big problems. His father left before he was born and he’s been kicked out of six schools in six years. What a surprise when he finds out that that’s only the tip of the iceberg – his father is the Greek god Poseidon! But that’s a problem, too. Poseidon has been accused of stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt, and unless Percy can return the bolt, humankind is doomed. (M)
2008 – Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
Thirteen-year-old Steven has a totally normal life: he plays drums in the All-Star Jazz band, has a crush on the hottest girl in the school, and is constantly annoyed by his little brother Jeffrey. But when Jeffrey is diagnosed with leukemia, Steven’s world is turned upside down. He is forced to deal with his brother’s illness and his parents’ attempts to keep the family in one piece. (M)
2007 – So B. It by Sarah Weeks
Although she lives an unconventional lifestyle with her mentally disabled mother and their doting neighbour, Bernadette, Heidi has a lucky streak that has a way of pointing her in the right direction. When a mysterious word in her mother’s vocabulary begins to haunt her, Heidi’s thirst for the truth leads her on a cross–country journey in search of the secrets of her past. (M)
2006 – Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire. (M, S)
2005 – Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Roy Eberhart, who has recently moved to Florida from Montana, befriends a homeless boy and takes up his mission to protect the miniature owls that live in burrows beneath a construction site. (M)
2004 – Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
Nothing can prepare fourteen-year-old Alex for the news that the uncle he always thought he knew was really a spy for MI6— Britain’s top-secret intelligence agency. Recruited to find his uncle’s killers and complete his final mission, Alex suddenly finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse. (M)
2003 – Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
When yellow fever breaks out in Philadelphia in 1793, the disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie’s world upside down. Now she must quickly learn how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease. (M, S)
2002 – Holes by Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnats has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys “build character” by spending all day digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake—the boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. (M)
2001 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
When Harry Potter is summoned to attend a famous school for wizards, he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny. (M)
2000 – Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
At her birth, Ella of Frell was the unfortunate recipient of a foolish fairy’s gift—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it’s hopping on one foot for a day and a half, or chopping off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate, and heads out on a quest to break the curse—once and for all. (M)