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Mark Twain Award

The Mark Twain Readers Award is unique among literary awards because the winning book is chosen by children. Each year, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students in Missouri choose among a selection of twelve nominees to be the winning novel. Eligible books must be written by an author currently living in the United States, it must be a book of high literary quality, and it must be have been published within the previous two years prior to nomination.

While other literary awards presented to authors of children's books have been criticized for choosing books that are too complex for such young readers, that accusation has never been targeted at the Mark Twain Readers Award, simply because the winning book is chosen by actual children.

Named after famed American author Mark Twain, the award is presented by the Missouri Association of School Libraries, and the winning book is often featured on school reading lists for years to come. Past winners have included Lois Lowry for All About Sam, Betty Ren Wright for The Dollhouse Murders, and Thomas Rockwell for How to Eat Fried Worms.

Even though the Mark Twain Readers Award may not be the most prestigious literary award one could win, it will always hold a special place in the heart of the young readers who choose the winning book.

2013 Winner

Out Of My Mind By Sharon M Draper

Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always. And there's no delete button. She's the smartest kid in her whole schoolbut no one knows it. Most peopleher teachers and doctors inclu... read more

2012 Winner

Runaway Twin By Peg Kehret

Thirteen-year-old Sunny runs away from her current foster parent in search of her twin sister, from whom she was separated ten years earlier. On the way, she'll face a tornado, bullies, and a stray dog- and the fact that her sister may not be who Su... read more

2011 Winner

Stolen Children By Peg Kehret

When Amy agreed to baby-sit Kendra Edgerton, she had no idea she was stepping into a kidnapping plot. Two men force the girls out of the house and into a cabin in the woods, where they create DVDs to send to the families, in hopes of a large ransom ... read more

2010 Winner

Deep and Dark and Dangerous

Deep and Dark and Dangerous By Mary Downing Hahn

Just before summer begins, 13-year-old Ali finds an odd photograph in the attic. She knows the two children in it are her mother, Claire, and her aunt Dulcie. But who’s the third person, the one who’s been torn out of the picture? ... read more

2009 Winner

Percy Jackson and The Sea Of Monsters

Percy Jackson and The Sea Of Monsters By Rick Riordan

You can't tell by looking at me that my dad is Poseidon, God of the Sea. It's not easy being a half-blood these days. You mortals can't even see the monsters we have to fight all the time. So when a game of dodgeball turned into a death match against... read more

2007 Winner

Abduction! By Peg Kehret

Matt is missing. Bonnie's brother left his classroom to use thebathroom —and disappeared. A police dog traces his scent to the curb, where he apparently got into a vehicle. But why would Matt go anywhere with a stranger? Overwhelmed with fear... read more

2006 Winner

The City Of Ember

The City Of Ember By Jeanne Duprau

City of Ember is a 2008 science fiction-fantasy film based on the 2003 novel by Jeanne DuPrau. It was directed by Gil Kenan from a screenplay by Caroline Thompson, and stars Saoirse Ronan, Harry Treadaway, Bill Murray, Mackenzie Crook, Martin Landau,... read more

2003 Winner

Because Of Winn-Dixie

Because Of Winn-Dixie By Kate Dicamillo

Because of Winn-Dixie is a children's novel by Kate DiCamillo published in 2000 and winner of a Newbery Honor distinction the following year. It also won the 2000 Josette Frank Award, and 2003 Mark Twain Award. It has been adapted as a 2005 famil... read more

2001 Winner


Holes By Louis Sachar

"Frances Foster Books." Newbery Medal, 1999.

1995 Winner

Man Who Loved Clowns

Man Who Loved Clowns By June Rae Wood

The Man Who Loved Clowns is a book by June Rae Wood about a girl named Delrita who wants to be "invisible" at her new school. She lives with her parents and uncle, who has Down syndrome. The book ties in with A Corner of the Universe by Ann... read more

1993 Winner

Maniac Magee

Maniac Magee By Jerry Spinelli

Maniac Magee is a young adult fiction novel written by American author Jerry Spinelli and published in 1990. Exploring themes of racism and homelessness, it follows the story of an orphaned boy looking for a home in the fictional Pennsylvania town of... read more

1992 Winner

The Doll In the Garden

The Doll In the Garden By Mary Downing Hahn

When Ashley discovers a turn-of-the-century doll it is just the first of several puzzling events that lead her through the hedge and into a twilight past where she meets Louise, an ailing child whose beloved doll has mysteriously disappeared.

1980 Winner

The Pinballs

The Pinballs By Betsy Byars

The Pinballs is a 1976 young adult novel by American author Betsy Byars. The story is about three foster children, Carlie, Harvey and Thomas J. , who have been taken in by the Masons, a couple who have cared for many other foster children in the past... read more

1978 Winner

Ramona the Brave

Ramona the Brave By Beverly Cleary

Ramona the Brave is a juvenile novel written by Beverly Cleary and illustrated by Alan Tiegreen. The book was first published in 1975, seven years after the previous installment in the Ramona series, Ramona the Pest.

1975 Winner

How To Eat Fried Worms

How To Eat Fried Worms By Thomas Rockwell

How to Eat Fried Worms is the title of a children's book written by Thomas Rockwell, first published in 1973. It was later turned into a CBS Storybreak episode in the mid-1980s, and a movie of the same name in 2006. Because the novel's conten... read more

1972 Winner


Sounder By William H Armstrong

Sounder is a young adult novel by William H. Armstrong. It is the story of an African-American boy living with his sharecropper family in Depression-era Louisiana. Although the family's difficulties increase when the father is imprisoned for stea... read more

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