When the CLEL Bell Awards launched in 2013 the committee wished to honor exemplary books published prior to the awards establishment. The Silver Bells are 25 books published within the previous 25 years, and still in print in 2013, that the CLEL Bell Awards Selection Committee consider to be excellent representations of the Bell Awards Selection Criteria.

Five books were selected in each of five categories: Read, Write, Sing, Talk, and Play. These categories represent practices that research shows support early literacy development in young children. 

The Silver Bell lists are a one-time recognition of high-quality titles that will not be eligible for the Bell Awards going forward. The Silver Bells serve as a recommended list for libraries and families alike seeking strong titles for young children from birth to age 5, and provide activity ideas for each title suitable for library storytimes, for childcare and preschool settings, and for exploration at home.

The lists of Silver Bell titles in each category are linked below, with bibliographic information, annotations, and ideas for extending the books.

Silver Bells: READ

Silver Bells: WRITE

Silver Bells: TALK

Silver Bells: SING

Silver Bells: PLAY