Volunteer State Book Award

Julie Caudle, Williamson County Schools: [email protected]
Patricia Rua-Bashir, Nashville Public LIbrary: [email protected]

Primary Committee Chair: Denise Tabscot, Metro Nashville Public Schools[email protected]
Intermediate Chair: Jamie Kelly, Knox County Schools: [email protected]
Middle School Chair: 
Amanda Tucker-Dye, Metro Nashville Public Schools: [email protected]
High School Chair: Emily Farmer, Nashville Public Library: [email protected]
Publicity Committee Chair: Emily Farmer, Nashville Public Library: [email protected]

The Volunteer State Book Award is sponsored annually by the Tennessee Library Association and the Tennessee Association of School Librarians. Each year, children across Tennessee are asked to read books from a list of nominated titles.  The Volunteer State Book Award has four divisions--Primary (Grades K-2), Intermediate (Grades 3-5), Middle School (Grades 6-8), and high school (Grades 9-12).  In the spring, those students who have read or listened to at least three of the titles from the list are eligible to vote for their favorite titles. These votes are tabulated and sent to the state organization. The book with the most votes statewide wins the award. The author of the book receives a plaque and is invited to Tennessee to receive the award

2019-2020 VSBA Winners   

Primary Division:
Grade K-2


The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors

written by Drew Daywalt

Harper Collins, 2017

Intermediate Division:
Grades 3-5


Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

written by Dusti Bowling

Sterling Books, 2017

Middle School Division:
Grades 6-8



written by Alan Gratz

Scholastic, 2017

High School Division:
Grades 9-12


The Hate U Give

written by Angie Thomas

Blazer + Bray, 2017

Runners Up:

  1. Reynolds, Aaron. Creepy Pair of Underwear! Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2017.
  2. Santat, Dan. After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again). Roaring Book Press. 2017. 
  3.  John, Jory. The Bad Seed. Harper Collins. 2017. 
  4. Fucile, Tony. Poor Louie. Candlewick Press. 2017

 Runners Up:

  1. Applegate, Katherine. Wishtree. Feiwel and Friends, 2017. 
  2. Hashimoto, Meika. The Trail. Scholastic Press, 2017. 
  3. Hale, Shannon and LeUyen Pham. Real Friends. First Second, 2017. 
  4. Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. The War I Finally Won. Dial, 2017.

 Runners Up: 

  1. Lu, Marie. Warcross. G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books, 2017. 
  2. Burt, Jake. Greetings from Witness Protection! Feiwel and Friends, 2016. 
  3. Wolk, Lauren. Beyond the Bright Sea. Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2017. 
  4. Cartaya, Pablo. The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora. Viking, 2017.
 Runners Up: 
  1. McManus, Karen. One of Us Is Lying. Delacorte Press, 2017.
  2. Stone, Nic. Dear Martin. Crown, 2017. 
  3. It was a tie!
    1. Reintgen, Scott. Nyxia. Crown Books for Young Readers, 2017. 
    2. Anderson, Laurie Halse and Emily Carroll. Speak: The Graphic Novel. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2018. and 
    3. Roe, Robin. A List of Cages. Disney-Hyperion, 2017.

We would like to thank every librarian, student, and patron who participated in voting for the 2019-2020 Volunteer State Book Award. Because our schools and libraries were closed due the Covid-19 pandemic, participation rates were down from last year, but we still had a good number of libraries submit ballots. A special thanks goes to the chairs and members of the four selection committees for developing such wonderful lists for children and teens of Tennessee.



The VSBA committee chairs decided that in order to keep our book lists contemporary it would be best to adjust our book nomination standards. In years past, the award-winning books for VSBA have been outdated. By the time the students encounter the nominated titles and choose their favorite, many of them have likely already encountered the books on the list. 

Therefore, there is not a list of twenty (20) titles for this year, as one might expect. The list for the 2020-2021 school year has thirty (30) titles on it. The past two nomination cycles were combined into one list. Going forward, the goal of the committees will be to choose books from the calendar years in which the nominating cycle occurs. You can think of it like the Caldecott and Newbery awards. We hope this will help us introduce new, high-quality literature to students and make the VSBAs more prominent.

2020-2021 Volunteer State Book Award Nominee List  

2021-2022 VSBA Primary List

2021-2022 VSBA Intermediate List

2021-2022 VSBA Middle School List

2021-2022 VSBA High School List


VSBA PowerPoints

VSBA Primary PowerPoint

VSBA Intermediate PowerPoint

VSBA Middle School PowerPoint

VSBA High School PowerPoint

Other links: