The CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards are an annual recognition of five high-quality picture books that provide excellent support of early literacy development in young children.

Suggest Titles now for the 2025 CLEL Bell Awards

We are now accepting suggestions for the 2025 CLEL Bell Awards. See our Selection Criteria before you submit, but we love to see what you’re reading!

Announcing the 2024 CLEL Bell Award Winners!

We are pleased to announce the winning titles for the 10th annual CLEL Bell Awards. The 2024 year was historic in its submissions, committee involvement, and display of diversity.

From a shortlist of 25 titles, five for each early literacy practice – READ, WRITE, TALK, PLAY, and SING – one winner was chosen in each practice. You can read more about these winning titles and access caregiver activity sheets on our winners page. The 25 titles in the shortlist were chosen from 91 nominations put forward by our committee. Read more about each of these shortlist titles here

Our Mission

In support of the Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL) mission to strengthen children’s literacy through library services and community advocacy, the Bell Awards will recognize picture books that provide excellent support of early literacy development in young children, will serve as a collection development, program planning, and early literacy information resource for librarians, educators, and caregivers.  It will also provide recognition to authors, illustrators, and publishers.

When Are the Awards Announced?

The 2024 CLEL Bell Awards winners were announced February 2, 2024. 

Follow CLEL on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to the CLEL Member listserv for updates.

​How Do We Choose?

The Selection Committee selects five winners annually from titles suggested by CLEL members and other early literacy advocates, including librarians, teachers, parents, and publishers.

To suggest a title, fill out the Title Suggestion Form.

Only books published or distributed in the United States between November 16 of the previous year and November 15 of the current year are eligible for suggestion for the CLEL Bell Award.

Suggested titles that meet our selection criteria will be posted on our nomination page.

How Can I Get Involved?

A major goal of the CLEL Bell Awards is to promote professional conversation about excellent picture books and to provide creative ideas for sharing titles with children and families in ways that support early literacy development. Your contribution to these conversations is a valuable part of the process. Here are a few ways to participate: