Announcing the 2024 CLEL Bell Award Winners


COLORADO – Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy today announced five winning picture books that exemplify the early literacy practices READ, WRITE, SING, TALK, and PLAY. Winners were selected from a 25-title shortlist put forth by the awards committee and voted on by library and early childhood professionals from around Colorado.

The 2024 CLEL Bell Aware Winners are:

READ – “This is a Story” written by John Shu and illustrated by Lauren Castillo. The book is published by Candlewick. 

WRITE – “Scroll” written and illustrated by Hui Li. The book is published by Christy Ottaviano Books (Little, Brown and Company). 

TALK – “A Day with No Words” written by Tiffany Hammond and illustrated by Kate Cosgrove. The book is published by Wheat Penny Press. 

PLAY – “Quiet Time with My Seeya” written and illustrated by Dinale Dabarera. The book is published by Roaring Book Press.

SING – “We Belong to the Drum” written by Sandra Lamouche and illustrated by Azby Whitecalf. The book is published by Orca Book Publishers. 

The CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards are an annual recognition of five high-quality picture books that provide excellent support for early literacy skills for young children. A winner is chosen in each of 5 categories that support early literacy: READ, WRITE, TALK, PLAY, and SING

CLEL Bell Award Criteria:

  • Theme or content related to one of the five early literacy practices: Read, Write, Sing, Talk, or Play
  • Distinction or uniqueness in presentation of relevant theme or content
  • Supports and/or models parent and caregiver engagement with their children through early literacy practices 
  • Ability to appeal to parents or caregivers and their young children (ages birth-5) of diverse family situations
  • Excellence in writing, illustration, and design
  • Excellent book production (quality paper, binding, cover, etc)
  • Fiction and nonfiction are eligible.