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

One picture book will be selected annually in each of five categories: read, write, sing, talk, and play. To be eligible for the CLEL Bell Awards, a suggested book must be a picture book published or distributed in the United States between November 16 of the previous year and November 15 of the current year, as well as meet the following 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. 

There are no restrictions as to nationality or residency of the author, illustrator, or publisher.

Books previously published internationally are eligible as long as their first US publication or distribution date is November 16 of the past year through November 15 of the current year.