The CLEL Bell Awards

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.

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.

The 2021 CLEL Bell Awards winners will be announced in early 2021. 


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


Suggestions for the 2021 CLEL Bell Awards have closed.  


To be eligible for the 2021 Awards, a nominated book must have been published between November 16, 2019, and November 15, 2020, and must have met the Bell Awards selection criteria.


The Suggest a Title form for the 2021 CLEL Bell Awards is currently closed. You can find the 2021 shortlist here.

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: