Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award

Honoring the Best Beginning and Transitional Fiction and Nonfiction For Children

2022 Winners and Honor Books


Interested in joining the 2023 Blue Crab Award Committee? The first step is to fill out the interest form!

About the Award

The Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award was created in 2004 in an attempt to stimulate interest in books for the beginning reader and the emergent independent reader. At that time, there were few books produced in this niche, and it was hoped that an award that could garner national attention would encourage authors, illustrators and publishers to produce better quality books in this niche.

Since the inception of this committee for the Maryland Library Association (MLA), other organizations have begun to offer beginning reader awards as well. For example, the American Library Association (ALA) established the Geisel award in 2004 in response to this need in children's publishing.

Each year, one winning book and up to three honor books will be selected to receive an award in each of the following categories:

  • Beginning Reader Fiction

  • Beginning Reader Nonfiction

  • Transitional Fiction

  • Transitional Nonfiction


  • Identify and promote the best fiction and nonfiction books published at the K-2nd grade reading level (early readers) and at the 2nd-4th grade reading level (transitional readers), both for children reading at grade level and for reluctant older readers.

  • Provide teachers, librarians, and caregivers with a resource list of excellent books for beginning readers.

  • Encourage publishers, authors, and illustrators to create high quality books for beginning readers.

Award Committee

2023 Chairperson: Shannon Young - Prince George's County Memorial Library

  • Vanessa Chandler, Prince George's County Memorial Library

  • Tiffany Dickerson, Prince George's County Memorial Library

  • Kelly Holley-Poole, Prince George's County Memorial Library

  • Katie McVicker, Calvert County Public Library

  • Katrina Righter, Montgomery County Public Library

  • Erica Smith, Prince George's County Memorial Library

  • Ruya Telhami, Prince George's County Memorial Library

Nominate a Book for the Blue Crab Award:

Any Maryland library staff member, MLA member, MASL member, or the MSEA member may make nominations.

Eligibility Criteria:

    • Nominated titles must have been originally published in the United States, with a copyright date that falls within the year that the committee begins its deliberations. (Example: The 2022 award committee would consider titles published in 2021.)

      • Books published by a foreign publisher simultaneously in the US and another country will not be eligible.

    • The reading level of the books must be at the K-2 level for the Beginning Reader categories and at the 2nd-4th grade reading level for the Transitional categories. In the event of debate on this point, the Spache Readability Formula will be used to determine whether titles fit the requirements.

    • Nominated titles may be geared to children of any age, as long as they meet the reading level criteria listed above. Nominations of books that would appeal to older elementary age reluctant readers are encouraged.

    • Nominated books may be fiction, nonfiction or graphic novels.

    • Nominated titles must be self-contained entities, not dependent upon other media such as CDs or DVDs for their use.

    • Books in series will be considered individually for the award and list.

Use this form to submit a book for consideration by the award committee: