2023 Texas Bluebonnet Award Book Selection

Voting is not open for Bluebonnet books right now but you may review the list of books here to decide which you would like to read next.

Thirteen-year old Amari Peters has never believed that her missing brother is dead. So when the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs offers her a tryout over the summer she does not hesitate to accept. Will Amari be able to locate her brother as she faces new worlds, strange creatures, and daunting new tasks? By B.B. Alston, illustrated by Godwin Akpan

Amari and the Night Brothers
Thirteen-year old Amari Peters has never believed that her missing brother is dead. So when the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs offers her a tryout over the summer she does not hesitate to accept. Will Amari be able to locate her brother as she faces new worlds, strange creatures, and daunting new tasks?
Petra has a dream - to learn to read. But life has changed for Petra - her mama has died and she has to take care of her little sister, Amelia and baby brother, Luis. And then the soldiers come and take Papa away. Should Petra stay in her village or flee to a safer place? Will her family be safe? Will Petra’s dreams come true? By Alda P. Dobbs

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna
Petra has a dream - to learn to read. But life has changed for Petra - her mama has died and she has to take care of her little sister, Amelia and baby brother, Luis. And then the soldiers come and take Papa away. Should Petra stay in her village or flee to a safer place? Will her family be safe? Will Petra’s dreams come true?
Not long after Italian-born Gino Bartali won the Tour de France championship, World War II broke out across Europe. Soon the Nazis invaded Italy and Gino Bartali began to secretly use his success and stringent workouts to save Jewish people who were desperately trying to flee from the Nazi regime. By Megan Hoyt, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno

Bartali's Bicycle: The True Story of Gino Bartali, Italy's Secret Hero
Not long after Italian-born Gino Bartali won the Tour de France championship, World War II broke out across Europe. Soon the Nazis invaded Italy and Gino Bartali began to secretly use his success and stringent workouts to save Jewish people who were desperately trying to flee from the Nazi regime.
Growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, Cassius Clay, along with his best friend Lucky, experienced racism and bullies. Heeding the advice of his grandfather Herman, “Know who you are,” helped Cassius to remain focused on his goal, overcome hardships in school, and show respect for others. The mix of prose and verse allows readers to follow each round with a ring-side seat to witness the positive determination of young Cassius Clay as he evolves into the great Muhammad Ali. By James Patterson and Kwame Alexander

Becoming Muhammad Ali: A Novel
Growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, Cassius Clay, along with his best friend Lucky, experienced racism and bullies. Heeding the advice of his grandfather Herman, “Know who you are,” helped Cassius to remain focused on his goal, overcome hardships in school, and show respect for others. The mix of prose and verse allows readers to follow each round with a ring-side seat to witness the positive determination of young Cassius Clay as he evolves into the great Muhammad Ali.
When Billy Miller blew out the eight candles on his birthday cake, he made a wish. He wished that something exciting would happen. Not more than ten minutes later, a police car and an ambulance flew past Billy’s house and raced down the block. Now Billy worries that his wish has become bigger than he could have imagined. By Kevin Henkes

Billy Miller Makes a Wish
When Billy Miller blew out the eight candles on his birthday cake, he made a wish. He wished that something exciting would happen. Not more than ten minutes later, a police car and an ambulance flew past Billy’s house and raced down the block. Now Billy worries that his wish has become bigger than he could have imagined.
Princess is a pony who has seen the best and worst humans have to offer. Rae is a girl who has faced challenges of her own but has a heart full of love that she is saving for her heart’s desire, a pony. When their paths cross, Rae and Princess must decide if it is worth the risk to trust one another. Everyone has something that they hunger for… Will Rae and Princess be able to overcome their differences? By Jessie Haas

The Hungry Place
Princess is a pony who has seen the best and worst humans have to offer. Rae is a girl who has faced challenges of her own but has a heart full of love that she is saving for her heart’s desire, a pony. When their paths cross, Rae and Princess must decide if it is worth the risk to trust one another. Everyone has something that they hunger for… Will Rae and Princess be able to overcome their differences?
J.D. is your average kid who ended up with the worst haircut in his life. He is teased by everyone at school and decides to take matters into his own hands to fix the horrible haircut. J.D. learns that he has a natural gift when it comes to the clippers and ends up the barber for many of the neighborhood kids. Great, right? Not so much, now that the neighborhood barber is losing clients. J.D. is challenged to a battle of the barbers in hopes to keep his new business running. Will J.D. come out as the winner or will J.D. have to put away his clippers for good? By J. Dillard, illustrated by Akeem S. Roberts

J.D. and the Great Barber Battle
J.D. is your average kid who ended up with the worst haircut in his life. He is teased by everyone at school and decides to take matters into his own hands to fix the horrible haircut. J.D. learns that he has a natural gift when it comes to the clippers and ends up the barber for many of the neighborhood kids. Great, right? Not so much, now that the neighborhood barber is losing clients. J.D. is challenged to a battle of the barbers in hopes to keep his new business running. Will J.D. come out as the winner or will J.D. have to put away his clippers for good?
Bell has spent his whole life - all eleven years of it - on Mars. But he's still just a regular kid - he loves cats, any kind of cake, and is curious about the secrets the adults in the US colony are keeping. Like, why don't have contact with anyone on the other Mars colonies? Why are they so isolated? When a virus breaks out and the grown-ups all fall ill, Bell and the other children are the only ones who can help. By Jennifer Holm

The Lion of Mars
Bell has spent his whole life - all eleven years of it - on Mars. But he's still just a regular kid - he loves cats, any kind of cake, and is curious about the secrets the adults in the US colony are keeping. Like, why don't have contact with anyone on the other Mars colonies? Why are they so isolated? When a virus breaks out and the grown-ups all fall ill, Bell and the other children are the only ones who can help.
Eleven-year-old Fiona is unhappy and alone in their new town of Lost Lake. Fiona’s family made the move to Lost Lake to be closer to Fiona’s older sister’s figure skating club. While her family is busy with her sister’s practices, Fiona explores the town and comes across the town’s library, an old mansion donated by a long-dead heiress. There she discovers a mysterious book about two sisters. Filled with mystery and suspense and just the right amount of ghosts, Long Lost is a page-turner with anticipation building on each page. Beautifully drawn illustrations grace each new chapter of this imaginative mystery. By Jacqueline West

Long Lost
Eleven-year-old Fiona is unhappy and alone in their new town of Lost Lake. Fiona’s family made the move to Lost Lake to be closer to Fiona’s older sister’s figure skating club. While her family is busy with her sister’s practices, Fiona explores the town and comes across the town’s library, an old mansion donated by a long-dead heiress. There she discovers a mysterious book about two sisters. Filled with mystery and suspense and just the right amount of ghosts, Long Lost is a page-turner with anticipation building on each page. Beautifully drawn illustrations grace each new chapter of this imaginative mystery.
From Devin Scillian, the author of Memoirs of a Goldfish and Memoirs of a Hamster, Memoirs of a Tortoise introduces readers to Oliver the tortoise and his human, Ike. Oliver has had his human for 80 years. Oliver is happy to enjoy the slowness of life in the garden with Ike until one day Ike stops visiting. Worried, Oliver decides to make the long journey to his mother’s for advice. This is a tender story about remembering to cherish all the days we have with our loved ones. By Devin Scillian, illustrated by Tim Bowers

Memoirs of a Tortoise
From Devin Scillian, the author of Memoirs of a Goldfish and Memoirs of a Hamster, Memoirs of a Tortoise introduces readers to Oliver the tortoise and his human, Ike. Oliver has had his human for 80 years. Oliver is happy to enjoy the slowness of life in the garden with Ike until one day Ike stops visiting. Worried, Oliver decides to make the long journey to his mother’s for advice. This is a tender story about remembering to cherish all the days we have with our loved ones.
Twelve-year-old street-smart Lark is merely looking for a way to earn some coin when she plans a heist at the Royal Museum. Lark doesn’t know that the sword she plans to steal has magical powers, not to mention a mind of its own, and has chosen her as the next Nightingale. Lark will be tasked with defeating an ancient evil that has been brewing for centuries. A thrilling mix of adventure, fantasy, and science fiction. By Deva Fagan

Nightingale
Twelve-year-old street-smart Lark is merely looking for a way to earn some coin when she plans a heist at the Royal Museum. Lark doesn’t know that the sword she plans to steal has magical powers, not to mention a mind of its own, and has chosen her as the next Nightingale. Lark will be tasked with defeating an ancient evil that has been brewing for centuries. A thrilling mix of adventure, fantasy, and science fiction.
Levi and Kat are about to discover a very dark side to their neighborhood. Nothing ever seems out of place in the safe, suburban town of Cowslip Grove. Lawns are neatly mowed, sidewalks are tidy, and the sounds of ice cream trucks fill the air. But now.... kids have been going missing - except no one even realizes it, because no one remembers them. Not their friends. Not their teachers. Not even their families. But Levi and Kat do remember, and suddenly only they can see why everyone is in terrible danger when the night air rolls in. By Kory Merritt

No Place for Monsters
Levi and Kat are about to discover a very dark side to their neighborhood. Nothing ever seems out of place in the safe, suburban town of Cowslip Grove. Lawns are neatly mowed, sidewalks are tidy, and the sounds of ice cream trucks fill the air. But now.... kids have been going missing - except no one even realizes it, because no one remembers them. Not their friends. Not their teachers. Not even their families. But Levi and Kat do remember, and suddenly only they can see why everyone is in terrible danger when the night air rolls in.
Zada is the last camel in Texas. In the wake of a devastating haboob (giant dust storm), she is tasked with reuniting two baby kestrels and their missing parents. To calm the fears of the anxious babies, Zada tells the stories of her life. Travel with Zada and the animals and humans in her life from the ancient city of Smyrna, Turkey to the rugged foothills of far west Texas and on to what just may be her grandest adventure yet. By Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Eric Rohmann

Once Upon a Camel
Zada is the last camel in Texas. In the wake of a devastating haboob (giant dust storm), she is tasked with reuniting two baby kestrels and their missing parents. To calm the fears of the anxious babies, Zada tells the stories of her life. Travel with Zada and the animals and humans in her life from the ancient city of Smyrna, Turkey to the rugged foothills of far west Texas and on to what just may be her grandest adventure yet.
If your house were on fire, and your family and pets were safe, what is the one thing you would save? Park explores many different answers to this question and captures the diverse voices of a middle school classroom. Students share their answers and discover what their classmates value and in turn who they are. Written in verse inspired by the Korean poetry form sijo. By Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Robert Sae-Heng

The One Thing You'd Save
If your house were on fire, and your family and pets were safe, what is the one thing you would save? Park explores many different answers to this question and captures the diverse voices of a middle school classroom. Students share their answers and discover what their classmates value and in turn who they are. Written in verse inspired by the Korean poetry form sijo.
A beautiful, illustrated story of the Rock Garden of Nek Chand. After being displaced by the partition of India and Pakistan, Nek Chand and his family are forced to flee to India. Years later after moving to Chandigarh, India, Nek finds a secret place in the jungle while feeling homesick. In this secret place, he starts to build a garden, a rock garden, made up of rocks, stones and broken parts that he has found. Over time, his garden grows and grows. He builds statues and sculptures, adds pathways, and even makes walls and doorways all from the discarded trash he found in the city. Of course, a garden like this wouldn’t be able to stay a secret for long and eventually becomes a beloved national treasure By Jennifer Bradbury; illustrated by Sam Boughton

Rock by Rock; the Fantastical Garden of Nek Chand
A beautiful, illustrated story of the Rock Garden of Nek Chand. After being displaced by the partition of India and Pakistan, Nek Chand and his family are forced to flee to India. Years later after moving to Chandigarh, India, Nek finds a secret place in the jungle while feeling homesick. In this secret place, he starts to build a garden, a rock garden, made up of rocks, stones and broken parts that he has found. Over time, his garden grows and grows. He builds statues and sculptures, adds pathways, and even makes walls and doorways all from the discarded trash he found in the city. Of course, a garden like this wouldn’t be able to stay a secret for long and eventually becomes a beloved national treasure
Stella was trained to be a bomb detection dog but when she fails to detect a bomb one day, her life is turned upside down. Now without her handler or her purpose, Stella struggles to find her place and get past her anxiety and loss. After being placed in several foster homes, Stella finds herself with Chloe, her last chance to prove she can thrive. Chloe and Stella develop a bond through behavioral and agility training and Stella finally starts to feel like she is part of the family. One day, during one of Cloe’s epileptic episodes, Stella notices that Cloe smells different and she connects it with the seizures. But how will Stella be able to let her new family know about what she can do and how she can help Chloe? By McCall Hoyle

Stella
Stella was trained to be a bomb detection dog but when she fails to detect a bomb one day, her life is turned upside down. Now without her handler or her purpose, Stella struggles to find her place and get past her anxiety and loss. After being placed in several foster homes, Stella finds herself with Chloe, her last chance to prove she can thrive. Chloe and Stella develop a bond through behavioral and agility training and Stella finally starts to feel like she is part of the family. One day, during one of Cloe’s epileptic episodes, Stella notices that Cloe smells different and she connects it with the seizures. But how will Stella be able to let her new family know about what she can do and how she can help Chloe?
Adding flair and fun for families all over America, The Harlem Globetrotters changed basketball forever in all the best ways. Suzanne Slade and Don Tate capture the spirit of this remarkable team and share it with a whole new generation of fans. The history of the team is shared in accessible text accompanied by the bigger than life illustrations that perfectly showcase the dynamic players that were a huge part of the team’s history. By Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Don Tate

Swish! The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters
Adding flair and fun for families all over America, The Harlem Globetrotters changed basketball forever in all the best ways. Suzanne Slade and Don Tate capture the spirit of this remarkable team and share it with a whole new generation of fans. The history of the team is shared in accessible text accompanied by the bigger than life illustrations that perfectly showcase the dynamic players that were a huge part of the team’s history.
Identical twins, Maureen and Francine are best friends who always do everything together but when it’s time for 6th grade to begin, Francine decides to change her name, her clothing style, and join the choir in an effort to discover her own identity. Maureen, an A+ student at school who lacks self-confidence doesn’t understand the sudden changes with her sister and her need to be different. When the girls discover they are both running for student council president, the tension rises. By Varian Johnson, illsutrated by Shannon Wright

Twins
Identical twins, Maureen and Francine are best friends who always do everything together but when it’s time for 6th grade to begin, Francine decides to change her name, her clothing style, and join the choir in an effort to discover her own identity. Maureen, an A+ student at school who lacks self-confidence doesn’t understand the sudden changes with her sister and her need to be different. When the girls discover they are both running for student council president, the tension rises.
In 1921, hate-filled people, who could not accept Black success, led an attack on Greenwood and its people. The resulting massacre was a story kept silent too long. Now, through moving text and beautiful illustrations, readers learn of the former magnificence of Greenwood, a thriving community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, as well as the events surrounding its destruction by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre
In 1921, hate-filled people, who could not accept Black success, led an attack on Greenwood and its people. The resulting massacre was a story kept silent too long. Now, through moving text and beautiful illustrations, readers learn of the former magnificence of Greenwood, a thriving community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, as well as the events surrounding its destruction
Eleven-year-old orphan Willodeen adores creatures of all kinds, but her favorites are the most unlovable beasts in the land, the screechers. She believes the animals serve an important role in the web of nature. When the balance of nature in her town, Perchance, goes awry, she uses her knowledge and a little magic to bring back the screechers and hopefully the missing hummingbears. A very timely story about our fragile earth, and one girl’s fierce determination to make a difference. By Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Charles Santoso

Willodeen
Eleven-year-old orphan Willodeen adores creatures of all kinds, but her favorites are the most unlovable beasts in the land, the screechers. She believes the animals serve an important role in the web of nature. When the balance of nature in her town, Perchance, goes awry, she uses her knowledge and a little magic to bring back the screechers and hopefully the missing hummingbears. A very timely story about our fragile earth, and one girl’s fierce determination to make a difference.