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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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