The Kentucky Bluegrass Award (KBA) Program, a children’s choice voting initiative, has announced the 2016-17 winners for this prestigious award as chosen by K-12 students from throughout the state.

Janet Wells, KBA state coordinator, said she was “pleased with the excitement and turnout of student voting.” This year, a total of 58,145 students voted through their school or public library.

Children in kindergarten through 2nd grade chose “I’m Trying to Love Spiders” by Bethany Barton and published by Viking Books for Young Readers. This book features interesting facts about spiders presented in a fun way to appeal to young readers (and adults).

The children in grades 3-5 chose “Tucky Jo and Little Heart” by Patricia Polacco and published by Simon and Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books. This heart-touching book, based on a true story, is about a 15-year-old from Kentucky who served in the Pacific during World War II and his friendship with a local girl. Although they do not speak the same language, kindness becomes the universal language.

Middle school students in grades 6-8 chose “The Honest Truth” by Dan Gemeinhart and published by Scholastic Press. Mark, a 12-year-old battling cancer, decides to run away from home with his dog, Beau, and climb Mount Rainier. Mark’s friend Jessie wrestles with whether or not to tell the concerned adults where Mark is.

High school students in grades 9-12 chose “The Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard and published by HarperTeen. Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old born a red blood who serves the silver bloods in a futuristic society, winds up in the palace of the ruling family and discovers she has amazing abilities like the silver bloods do. She must choose between a life of silver-blood luxury and being betrothed to a prince, or using her new influence to assist the Scarlet Guard as they plan to overthrow the ruling silver bloods.

The Kentucky Bluegrass Award program was established in 1982 and has grown each year. Dedicated school and public librarians, teachers and university professionals comprise the committees that choose 10 outstanding books in each division for students to read and vote on in the coming year. More information about the KBA program can be found on the Kentucky Association of School Librarians’ website. For the 2017-18 school year, KBA has expanded to five divisions, adding a preschool list for Kentucky’s youngest readers.

For more information, contact Janet Wells, KBA director.