Building Block Award

Bear contest logoThe Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award, sponsored and selected by the Youth Services Community of Interest (YSCI), is presented annually to the author and illustrator of the picture book voted most popular by preschool children in Missouri’s public libraries and is designed to encourage reading aloud to children from birth through kindergarten age.

Designed to encourage reading aloud to children from birth through kindergarten age, the award was first given in 1996. Parents and other caregivers are encouraged to read aloud to children from a list of ten titles selected annually by a group of Missouri children’s librarians. Colorful posters, bookmarks, activity sheets, and a manual of great ideas add to the fun.

See the Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award Procedures and the Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award Committee Handbook in Appendix G of the MLA Handbook MLA Handbook for details.

The winner of the 2017 Building Block Award is…10 Little Ninjas, by Miranda Paul.

Members of the Building Block Award subgroup of YSCI are listed on the YSCI page.

2018 Nominees with activity sheets

How To Nominate a Book for 2019

Have you found an excellent read-aloud book for young children (birth-kindergarten)? The committee is seeking both fiction and non-fiction titles with the qualities of a great read-aloud, such as a rich vocabulary, flowing language, and engaging illustrations.

All nominations must be published within the last two years (December 2016-November 2018). Holiday books do not qualify.

Nominations of books for 2018 are made through the online form during the nomination period .

How To Vote (September 1-January 15)

Individuals and groups may vote using the online ballot or the paper ballot .

Librarians and teachers can use the paper ballot to gather individual votes, then input totals on the online ballot.

Previous Winners and Nominees

Building Block Award Winners, 1996-2017

Building Block Award Nominees, 1996-2017

Promotional Materials (free downloadable files):

32 thoughts on “Building Block Award”

  1. Is there not a way to send in votes for the Building Block Picture Book Award by class or school? I do not want to enter each student in individually!

  2. Would it be possible to see the total number of votes per title? I would like to see how the state totals compare to my library totals.

    • I’ve asked Jerilyn to respond. I don’t know if this is public information or not; you might try her email above if you’d like to ask her directly. -Rachel, Webmaster

  3. From Jerilyn Hahn:

    “How libraries present the Building Block Award nominees varies. At some libraries, ballots are produced by the community/public relations department. Then the ballots are placed by a voting box (container of some
    kind.) Parents may read the books to their children in the library or at home and vote in the library. Many libraries hold voting during a story time—read 5 books, then vote. (We understand you can’t read all 10 during one story time.) Some libraries read one or two nominees a week for 5-10 weeks (using the activity guides) and vote after all the books have been shared. Hopefully those who vote had a chance to hear at least 5 books.

    In September this website will include a link to a paper ballot that parents and teachers may print out and an online link for individual votes. Those who submit multiple votes for schools and libraries may count all the ballots and submit the results via e-mail to”

  4. I found the links for activity sheets for each 2015 Building Block nominees, but I was wondering if there is a link for the whole activity packet.

    I would like save and print out it as a whole packet. Please email me back to let me know. If not I can save each one individually, but having a link to the whole packet would be very helpful.


    Marcia Rhinehart
    PK-12 Librarian
    Sturgeon R- V School District

    • We have sent out the following statement to groups so they can nominate titles:
      The Missouri Building Block Award Committee is seeking nominations for the
      2016 Building Block Picture Book Award. The Building Block Award,
      administered by the Youth Services Community of Interest of the Missouri
      Library Association, is presented annually to the author and illustrator of
      the picture book voted most popular by preschool children in Missouri’s
      public libraries. We need your input to ensure that we continue to have
      high quality, enjoyable picture books on our list of nominees.

      Here are some of the criteria:

      – Must be an original picture book, age appropriate (birth through
      first-grade) with child appeal.

      – Copyright must be within the last two years (2014-2015).

      – Must be a great read-aloud: rich vocabulary, flowing language and
      accurate grammar.

      – May be fiction or nonfiction.

      – Can *not* be a holiday book.

      Everyone is encouraged to nominate picture books. Please submit the titles
      directly to me at: I would really appreciate it if you
      would send the title, author, illustrator, publisher and publication date.

      If you would like to know more about the Building Block Award, please visit
      the Missouri Library Association’s handbook starting on page 169:

      Deadline for submissions is November 30.

      Our Pinterest page is:

  5. I was forwarded the question about whether the Building Blocks were available in Spanish. I Checked I did general Google searches, and I checked Barnes and Noble. Here is what I found:
    Digger Dog was on a downloadable website:
    I do not know if you have to join.

    This Book Just Ate My Dog! is available on in Spanish ISBN-10: 8469601415
    Oh So Brave Dragon was available from but it looks like they are only listing it.

    I have not checked WorldCat. I hope this helps.

  6. I was wondering when the 2017-18 list will be posted. I am trying to spend the last of my budget money so the next librarian won’t have to worry about what to order (I get to retire!!!). Thanks!

    • The list has been posted! Webmaster’s still waiting for activity sheets & other material, but the actual list is linked from this page now.

  7. I don’t remember receiving an email announcement for the BB winner, but I see it has been announced. Would you please email me a breakdown of the votes. My students are always interested in knowing which books won 2nd and 3rd place. Thanks!

    • It’s been a heated battle to the end. In fact, we believe this may have been one of the tightest races in Missouri Building Block Award history! At the final hour, Bunnies!!! snuck past Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups by Tadgh Bentley and Rex Wrecks It! by Ben Clanton.

  8. I have currently been asked when the 2018 nominee book list will be out for the Building Block Award. I am new to being a Children’s Librarian and do not have the answer to this. Could someone tell me when I will be able to find the new list?

    • We hope to have the new list decided by the end of this week. We will be working on suggestions of activities to accompany each book and hope to have everything posted by mid March.

    • Hi, Lysha,
      The spine label templates aren’t formatted to a specific label size. You would want to print them on colored paper, cut them out, and cover them with clear label protectors.

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