The Nutmeg Book Award is well under way, and as I’ve said before I’m a fan.  For those of you who don’t know, it is a Connecticut-based award, and is co-sponsored by the Connecticut Library Association and the Connecticut Association of School Librarians.

The aim of the contest is to get school-aged kids to read more and better books.  Children in Connecticut choose the winner, which is what I like best about it.  I like the idea that kids decide which books win, as opposed to most awards for children’s books that are decided by adults.

Past winners have included books like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Lightening Thief and many more easily recognized titles.

Here is the list of nominees in the new Elementary category, for grades 2-4.  I’ll post lists of Intermediate, Teen and High School nominees in upcoming posts.

2015 Nutmeg Book Award Elementary Nominees

Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Stewart – How did the beloved Macy’s Day Parade decide to add giant floats to its tradition Thanksgiving procession?  Meet Tony Sarg, a puppeteer who figured out how to make his designs loom large over the streets of New York City.  Sketches, drawings, and scenes from the parade illustrate the development of Sarg’s gravity defying creations.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba – This short biography tells the true story of William Kamkwamba’s miraculous inventions.  Using books from the library and spare parts, Kamkwamba designed a windmill for his village in Malawi and many other useful innovations to benefit his community in a time of famine.

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett – When author Mac writes that Chloe meets a lion in the woods, illustrator Adam draws a dragon instead.  The story can’t continue until the author and illustrator get on the same page!

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt – Duncan’s box of crayons tells him in no uncertain terms what they think of his coloring habits.  From the purple crayon’s request to color inside the lines to the red crayon’s wish for a break, this vociferous box of crayons just can’t keep its lid shut!

Frankie Pickle and the Pine Run 3000 by Eric Wight – Frankie wants to win his scout troop’s “Pine Run Derby” racing challenge to earn points toward his next level in scouting.  The cars he designs, however, are better at crashing than racing.  Frankie’s dad offers some smart suggestions, but first Frankie will have to slow down and listen if he wants to achieve his goal.

Happy Like Soccer by Maribeth Boelts – Soccer makes Sierra happy inside and out, but she wishes, just once, her auntie could attend one of her games. Can an understanding coach make Sierra’s wish come true.

Locomotive by Brian Floca – All Aboard!  Join the trans, crew and a family as they journey during the summer of 1869 from Omaha to Sacramento on America’s first transcontinental railroad.  Hear the engines, smell the smoke, feel the train sway as you journey across plains, wind without mountains, cross bridges and pass through deserts westward to the Pacific.

Lulu and the Dog from the Sea by Hilary McKay – Lulu’s beach vacation with her parents and her cousin Mellie takes an unexpected turn when she befriends a stray dog sneaking food from the garbage outside their cottage.

Miracle Mud by David A. Kelly – Lena Blackburne may not have been a talented baseball player, but he came up with an idea for the game that we still use today.  This is the true story of “Blackburne’s Rubbing Mud,”applied to deflect glare on every baseball in major league games to this very day.

Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci – Theodora and her new neighbor Chad discover the importance of being yourself in this full color graphic novel.  Chad’s casual attitude annoys the neat and tidy Theodora until a mutual love of Astronomy cements their friendship.

Sidney and Sydney:  Third Grade Mix Up by Michele Jakubowski – The first day in a new school starts out awkwardly when Sidney Fletcher moves to Oak Grove and finds out that he shares a name with a girl classmate.  Sydney Greene misses having her best friend in her class and thinks the teacher misspelled her name.  After the initial embarrassment, the children realize they have common interests such as video games.  Can boys and girls really be best friends?

Stay:  The True Story of Ten Dogs by Michaela Muntean – When Luciano Anastasini’s acrobatic career ended, he decided to create a circus act with rescue dogs.  Color photographs bring to life this heartwarming story of second chances.

The Secret of the Stone Frog by David Nytra – Children who like Alice in Wonderland will relish this fantasy graphic novel starring siblings Leah and Alan.  they wake in a magical forest filled with every type of enchanted creature, relying on the stone frog to guide them safely home.

The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin – Retired dog detective J. J. Tully takes the case of the two missing chicks with comic results.  Can he locate Poppy and Sweetie before they run afoul of neighborhood dog Vince the funnel?

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke – A little red button falls from the sky and of course Zita and her friend Joseph have to press it.  The button whisks them to a strange planet where Joseph is promptly captured by a many-tentacled alien.  Accompanied by an oddball assortment of alien partners and a human inventor, Zita risks everything to save her friend.

All book descriptions come from the Nutmeg Book Awards website.