The Illinois High School Students’ Choice Award Sponsored by the Illinois School Library Media Association
The Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award
The Abraham Lincoln Award is awarded annually to the author of the book voted as most outstanding by participating students in grades nine through twelve in Illinois. The award is named for Abraham Lincoln, one of Illinois' most famous residents and himself an avid reader and noted author. The award is sponsored by the Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA).The Abraham Lincoln Award is designed to encourage high school students to read for personal satisfaction and become familiar with authors of young adult and adult books.
Students, librarians, and educators from schools or public libraries that are registered participants in the ALIHSBA program may nominate books for the award. To be eligible for the list, books must meet the following criteria:
1. Published within the past ten years
2. Currently in print in paperback
3. Author living at time of selection for the Master List
4. Fiction, non-fiction, or poetry
5. May not be a textbook, a translation, or an anthology by more than one author
6. May not be a previous Rebecca Caudill Award winner
7. May not have appeared on a previous ALIHSBA Master List
Nomination forms are available online on the ISLMA website.
Selection for the Master List titles is based on literary quality and appeal for high school students.
Any Illinois school serving students in grades nine through twelve may register and participate in the award program. If any local school chooses not to participate, public libraries may register to provide access for their students, as well as for home schooled students. Participating schools and libraries must:
1. Submit registration form by November 15
2. Provide a minimum of 12 of the 22 titles on the Master List
3. Provide student voting forms
4. Tally student voting forms and report the results by March 1
Voting is coordinated in the schools by the school library media specialist or teacher. If the school has no library media specialist or interested teacher, the library paraprofessional may coordinate the voting and submit results to ISLMA. In a public library, a librarian may collect votes for students who are not involved in the program at school or another library. To be eligible to vote, a student must have read or listened to at least five books on the Master List. Each student will vote for his or her favorite book from the nominees. The official Vote Reporting Form must be submitted electronically via the ISLMA website or postmarked via U.S. mail by March 1. Statewide results will be tallied and the winner will be announced by email, on ISLMANET-L, on the ISLMA website, and through the regional library systems.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN ILLINOIS H.S. BOOK AWARD WINNER
2005 – A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer
2006 – My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
2nd place – The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
3rd place – The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
2007 – Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
2nd place – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
Official ballot, rules and mailing information can be found at http://www.islma.org/lincoln.htm
2005 Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award nominees Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak
An outcast in high school since she called the cops on an end-of-summer party, Melinda will only make it worse if she reveals the reason for what she did.
Bechared, Margaret. Hanging on to Max
A high school senior trades parties, football and college plans for diapers and bottles as he attempts to be a responsible father to his new baby.
Bennett, James. The Squared Circle
A college basketball prodigy finds his life becoming a nightmare as the result of a recruiting scandal.
Brooks, Geraldine. Year of Wonders
When an infected bolt of fabric carries the Black Death into a small village in northern England, the local minister persuades the residents to quarantine themselves in order to stop the spread of the deadly pestilence.
Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Shadow
As insect-like enemy aliens threaten Earth, Bean is one of the military geniuses chosen to stop them through special training at the Battle School.
Flinn, Alex. Breathing Underwater
Sent to counseling for hitting his girlfriend and ordered to keep a journal, sixteen-year-old Nick recounts his relationship with Caitlin, examines his controlling behavior and anger, and describes living with his abusive father.
Grimes, Nikki. Bronx Masquerade
A class assignment forces eighteen New York City teens to question who they really are and to reveal their inner selves to their peers as they read their poems on Open Mike Friday.
Hidier. Tanuja Desai. Born Confused
Dimple Lala has spent her whole seventeen years resisting her parents’ old fashioned Indian traditions, but now that she’s on the rebound from a broken romance, her parents’ chosen “suitable boy” is beginning to look pretty good.
Kidd, Sue Monk. The Secret Life of Bees
When young Lily and her black “stand-in mother” Rosaleen must flee the town racists, they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black sisters who keep bees.
King, Stephen. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
Lost in dense wilderness during a family hike, Trisha keeps in touch with civilization and safety with her Walkman radio, while attempting to elude the maniac who is on her trail.
Korman, Gordon. Son of the Mob
Vince appears to be just a typical teenage boy. The only problem is that his father is the head of a powerful crime organization. When Vince tries to date a girl he really likes, the problem turns out to be her family. Her father is an F.B. I. agent that wants to put his father in jail.
2005 Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award nominees
Martel, Yann. Life of Pi
Sixteen-year-old Pi Patel, son of an Indian zookeeper, is stranded in a lifeboat with an adult Bengal tiger named Richard Parker after their ship sinks on his family’s journey to Canada.
McCormick, Patricia. Cut
Callie can’t talk about her problems, so she cuts herself instead, to release the pain inside, and that has landed her in a residential treatment center for problem girls.
Myers, Walter Dean. Monster
A sixteen-year-old records his experiences as he is tried as an accomplice to a murder.
Nix, Garth. Sabriel
A necromancer’s daughter must journey to the magical Old Kingdom to rescue her father from the Land of the Dead.
Paulsen, Gary. Soldier’s Heart
Fifteen-year-old Charley Goddard joins the Union Army so as not to miss the great adventure of war, never dreaming he’ll fight through the entire four years of the conflict.
Pelzer, Dave. A Child Called “It” (WINNER)
Story of a young boy’s struggle to survive child abuse and his mother’s emotionally torturous games.
Porter, Connie. Imani All Mine
A fifteen-year-old mother struggles with schoolwork, raising her baby, and dealing with her mom’s new boyfriend.
Pullman, Philip. The Golden Compass
Lyra and her daemon set out to save her kidnapped friends from becoming the subjects of a gruesome experiment.
Rennison, Louise. Angus, Thongs and Full-fontal Snogging
Georgia confides to her diary the trials and tribulations of her fourteen years, including parent and sister problems, her maniac cat, evil teachers, and her hopeless love for the sex god Robbie.
Sebold, Alice. The Lovely Bones
After she is murdered and her body hidden by a local loner, Susie watches from heaven as the trap slowly closes on her killer.
Trueman, Terry. Stuck In Neutral
Fourteen-year-old Shawn McDaniel, who suffers from severe cerebral palsy, believes his father is planning to kill him.
2006 Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award nominees Chevalier, Tracy. Girl with the Pearl Earring
In 17th-century Holland, a peasant girl serving in the household of Jan Vermeer is drawn into the artist’s world when she becomes the model for one of his portraits, and the target of his wife’s jealousy and suspicion.
Corrigan, Eireann. You Remind Me of You: A Poetry Memoir
Autobiographical poems recount events in a teenager’s life, including her battles with eating disorders, her time in treatment facilities, and the suicide of her boyfriend.
Crutcher, Chris. King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography
Crutcher, author of young adult short stories and novels such as Athletic Shorts and Whale Talk, tells of his youth in Cascade, Idaho, and how he became a writer.
Dessen, Sarah. The Truth about Forever
The summer following her father's death, Macy plans to work at the library and wait for her brainy boyfriend to return from camp, but instead she goes to work at a catering business where she makes new friends and finally faces her grief.
Draper, Sharon. Battle of Jericho
A high school junior and his cousin are elated to be invited to join an elite school club, but as the initiation progresses, they begin to wonder how high a price they will have to pay for membership.
Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair
In an alternate Great Britain, though it is 1985, the Crimean War is still in progress, and literature is the basis of “modern” culture. Thus the theft of a Dickens manuscript is a serious crime, and Literary Detective Thursday Next is called in to solve the case.
Golabeck, Mona. Children of Willesden Lane
The author’s mother escapes Nazi-occupied Vienna via the Kindertransport to England, and once there must try to pursue her musical studies despite her loneliness and her anxiety over her family’s fate.
Haddon, Mark. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.
Hautman, Pete. Sweetblood
After a lifetime of being a model student, sixteen-year-old Lucy Szabo is suddenly in trouble at school, at home, with the “proto-vampires” she has met online and in person, and most of all with her uncontrolled diabetes.
A graphic novel dealing with the family tragedy of Thomas Tennant, who lost his mother to cancer when he was seven. After her death, as his professor father struggles with his grief, Thomas, occasionally donning a superhero cape and lion mask, fights to keep their lives on track.
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner (2nd place)
Two Afghan boys, the sons of a wealthy Kabul businessman and his personal assistant, are inseparable, until a violent incident perpetrated by neighborhood bullies changes both their lives and destroys their friendship.
2006 Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award nominees Johnson, Angela. First Part Last
Bobby's carefree teenage life changes forever when he becomes a father and must care for his adored baby daughter.
Koontz, Dean. Odd Thomas
Odd (his real name) is a California short-order cook who has the unfortunate ability to see ghosts and foretell such future events as mass murders—which causes no end of trouble for Odd and his associates.
Mackler, Carolyn. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (3rd place)
Feeling like she does not fit in with the other members of her family, who are all thin, brilliant, and good-looking, fifteen-year-old Virginia tries to deal with her self-image, her first physical relationship, and her disillusionment with some of the people closest to her.
Maynard, Joyce. The Usual Rules
A Brooklyn teen lives a normal, happy life in her eccentric family’s busy household until the day in September, 2001, when her Mom heads off to work at the World Trade Center and never comes home.
Picoult, Jodi. My Sister’s Keeper (WINNER)
When her family asks 13-year-old Anna Fitzgerald to donate a kidney to her older sister, who suffers from leukemia, she refuses, and sues her parents for custody of her own body.
Reeve, Philip. Mortal Engines
In the distant future, when cities move about and consume smaller towns, a fifteen-year-old apprentice is pushed out of London by the man he most admires and must seek answers in the perilous Out-Country, aided by one girl and the memory of another.
Roach, Mary. Stiff: The True Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
The author visited medical schools, research labs, and mortuary sciences classes in order to find out what really happens to the bodies donated for scientific research.
Sanchez, Alex. Rainbow Boys
Three high school seniors, a jock with a girlfriend and an alcoholic father, a closeted gay, and a flamboyant gay rights advocate, struggle with family issues, gay bashers, first sex, and conflicting feelings about each other.
Spinelli, Jerry. Stargirl
A new student turns life at Mica H.S. upside down with her nonconformity, carrying her pet rat to class, singing to classmates with the accompaniment of her ukelele, and generally going about her days with a total disregard for teen conventions and the opinions of her peers.
Tashjian, Janet. The Gospel According to Larry
Seventeen-year-old Josh, a loner-philosopher who wants to make a difference in the world, tries to maintain his secret identity as the author of a web site that is receiving national attention.
Trueman, Terry. Inside Out
A sixteen-year-old with schizophrenia is caught up in the events surrounding an attempted robbery by two other teens who eventually hold him hostage.
2007 Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award nominees Brashares, Ann. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (YA fiction) (2nd place)
Four best girlfriends, about to spend their first summer apart, keep in touch via a magical pair of thrift store jeans which each one wears, then sends on to another.
Bray, Libba. A Great and Terrible Beauty (YA fiction) (3rd place)
After the suspicious death of her mother in 1895, sixteen-year-old Gemma returns to England, after many years in India, to attend a finishing school where she becomes aware of her magical powers and ability to see into the spirit world.
Cabot, Meg. All-American Girl (YA fiction)
A sophomore girl stops a presidential assassination attempt, is appointed Teen Ambassador to the United Nations, and catches the eye of the very cute First Son.
Chibbaro, Julie. Redemption
Chronicles the arduous journey of a twelve-year-old English girl and her mother as they flee with other religious protesters to the New World in the early 1500’s, and the heartbreak and hope they find when they arrive.
Deuker, Carl. High Heat (YA fiction)
When sophomore Shane Hunter’s father is arrested for money laundering at his Lexus dealership, the star pitcher’s life of affluence and private school begins to fall apart.
Flake, Sharon G. Who Am I Without Him? (YA fiction)
10 stories with the universal theme of boy/girl relationships. Some are funny and uplifting, others are disturbing and sad. Two of the stories are told from a boy’s point of view.
Gantos, Jack. A Hole in My Life (YA non-fiction; B G158)
The author relates how, as a young adult, he became a drug user and smuggler, was arrested, did time in prison, and eventually got out and went to college, all the while hoping to become a writer.
Giles, Gail. Shattering Glass (YA fiction)
When Rob, the charismatic leader of the senior class, turns the school nerd into Prince Charming, his actions lead to unexpected violence.
Grant, K.M. Blood Red Horse
It takes three things to become a knight: a warhorse, a fair maiden and a just cause. Will has a blood red horse named Hosanna; Ellie is a fair maiden, and King Richard is calling for a Crusade to the Holy Land. Will and his brother Gavin will answer the King’s call.
Gregory, Julie. Sickened (non-fiction)
During Gregory’s childhood, her abusive mother used a combination of malnutrition, overwork, and prescription drugs to keep the girl in a perpetual state of ill health, resulting in an endless round of visits to doctors. Not until the young woman moved away from her isolated family home and attended college was she able to see what her mother had done to her.
Halpin, Bredon. Donorboy
Orphaned when her two moms die in a car accident, 14-year-old Ros suddenly finds herself living with her clueless biological father, whose only role in her life till now has been a sperm donor for her mother.
2007 Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award nominees Hautman, Pete. Godless
When sixteen-year-old Jason Bock and his friends create their own religion to worship the town’s water tower, what started out as a joke begins to take on a power of its own.
Hearn, Lian. Across the Nightingale Floor (YA fiction)
16-year-old Takeo is the only survivor when his village is destroyed by an evil warlord. Rescued by Lord Otori, he begins the journey which will change him from an orphan boy into a warrior with extraordinary powers.
Lindsey, Jeff. Darkly Dreaming Dexter
Dexter, a blood-spatter expert who works for the police, tries to help his adopted sister, a police officer, catch a vicious serial killer. That should be useful, since Dexter himself is also a serial killer (but not the serial killer his sister is trying to catch.
McNamee, Graham. Acceleration (YA fiction)
Stuck working in the Lost and Found of the Toronto Transit Authority for the summer, seventeen-year-old Duncan fins the diary of a serial killer and sets out to stop him.
Morgan, Nicola. Fleshmarket (YA fiction)
In 19th century Scotland, surgery is agonizing and gruesome. When Robbie’s mother dies during an operation at the hands of Dr. Robert Knox, the boy’s search for revenge leads him into illegal dealing with the men who provide Knox with dead bodies for his medical research.
Morgenroth, Kate. Jude
Still reeling from his drug-dealing father’s murder, moving in with the wealthy mother he never knew, and transferring to a private school, fifteen-year-old Jude is tricked into pleading guilty to a crime he did not commit.
Paulsen, Gary. Guts (juvenile non-fiction; J B P285g)
The author relates incidents in his life and how they inspired parts of his books about the character, Brian Robeson.
Pratchett, Terry. The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
A talking cat, intelligent rats, and a strange boy cooperate in a Pied Piper scam until they try to con the wrong town and are confronted by the evil rat king.
Ralston, Aron. Between a Rock and a Hard Place (adult non-fiction; 796.522 R139)
The extraordinary true story of a young hiker, trapped for 5 days by a rock fall in a Utah canyon, who amputated his own arm with his pocketknife to escape and then walked out to safety.
Runyon, Brent. The Burn Journals (YA non-fiction; YA 362.28 R876)
Brent Runyon was fourteen years old when he set himself on fire. In this book he describes that suicide attempt and his recovery over the following year.
Westerfeld, Scott. Uglies (YA fiction) (WINNER)
Tally lives in a futuristic society whose citizens believe that they are ugly until age 16 when an operation changes them into pleasure-seeking “pretties.” Tally can’t wait for her surgery, but then she meets Shay, who scorn’s their society’s shallowness and urges Tally to defect with her to a distant settlement of simple-living conscientious objectors.
2008 Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award nominees Albom, Mitch. The Five People You Meet in Heaven (adult fiction; F A) (3rd place)
83-year-old Eddie is convinced his life has had little meaning, until his death brings him into the presence of five people who show him the unexpected impact he has had on others.
Black, Holly. Tithe (YA fiction)
With a freewheeling rock musician for a mother and a band of faeries for her childhood friends, Kaye’s life has always been weird, but it becomes weirder—and more perilous—when she discovers she herself is a pixie changling with a special destiny to fulfill.
Bradley, Alex. 24 Girls in 7 Days (YA fiction)
When the love of Jack’s life rejects his invitation to the prom, his friends jump in to “help” by posting an online ad for a date for Jack which results in 24 eager applicants.
Buckhanon, Kalisha. Upstate (adult fiction; F B)
Natasha, a bright, ambitious Harlem teen who intends to become a lawyer, maintains a years-long correspondence with her boyfriend Antonio, who is in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
Cash, Steve. The Meq (YA fiction)
Having learned on his 12th birthday in 1881 that he is not human but an immortal creature known as a Meq, Zianno Zezen embarks on a dual quest to find his soulmate and to destroy the evil Meq called Fleur-du-Mal.
Coben, Harlan. Tell No One (adult fiction; F C)
Eight years after the police told him a serial killer had murdered his wife, a man receives a message which seems to indicate that she’s alive, but if he tries to uncover the truth it will endanger his own life.
Farmer, Nancy. The House of the Scorpion (youth fiction; J F)
In a near-future world, Matt learns that he is the clone of El Patron, a powerful drug lord who controls a private empire on the U.S.-Mexico border. Though despised by humans, Matt is sure that El Patron loves him, until he learns the true—and horrifying—reason for his existence.
Grisham, John. Bleachers (adult fiction; F G)
As the controversial football coach of a small-town Texas high school lies dying, a group of his former players gather to share stories of their glory days under his demanding regime.
Johnson, Maureen. 13 Little Blue Envelopes (YA fiction)
Ginny’s adored Aunt Peg, a free-spirited artist, has died, and her legacy to her niece is a plane ticket to London, and a series of letters which will guide Ginny on the adventure of a lifetime.
Kubert, Joe. Yossel: April 14, 1943 (YA fiction)
This story, in graphic novel format, of a Jewish teen’s experiences of Nazi brutality in the Warsaw Ghetto which led to the desperate uprising of 1943.
Levithan, David. Boy Meets Boy (YA fiction)
Paul, who is gay, had the good fortune to attend a high school where the members of the Gay-Straight Alliance outnumber the football team, the cheerleaders ride Harleys, the star quarterback is also the homecoming queen, and the new guy in school turns out to be the love Paul has been waiting for.
2008 Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award nominees MacDonald, Andy. Dropping In with Andy Mac: The Life of a Pro Skateboarder
A pro skateboarding legend, known for his rejection of the drugs and alcohol so prevalent among his peers, recounts the story of his long, uphill road to success in his demanding and wildly popular sport.
Meyer, Stephenie. Twilight (YA fiction) (WINNER)
A bored girl in a dreary small town finds her life suddenly much more interesting—not to mention dangerous—when she becomes attracted to an unusual boy who belongs to a family of vampires. Who don’t hunt humans. Usually.
Nelson, Blake. Rock Star, Superstar (YA fiction)
When a high school bass guitar player joins a rock group which is about to make it big, his new focus on his music career forces a crisis is his relationship with his girlfriend.
Nelson, Pete. Left for Dead:A Young Man’s Search for Justice for the U.S.S. Indianapolis
(youth non-fiction; J 940.54)
The true story of a young boy who spent six years researching the sinking of a U.S. Navy ship in World War II and exposed the Navy cover-up of the rigged court-martial of the ship’s captain.
Patterson, James. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (YA fiction) (2nd place)
A group of genetically engineered children, part human and part bird, flee the lab where they were created and the pursuit of the brutal Erasers, wolf-like predators sent to eliminate them so their existence will never be discovered.
Rees, Celia. Pirates! (YA fiction)
In 1722, upon her father’s death, 16-year-old Nancy Kington is headed for marriage to a wealthy old man. In desperation, she flees with the slave girl Minerva to join a pirate band.
See, Lisa. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (adult fiction; F S)
A Chinese woman looks back on her youth and young womanhood, reflecting on her laotong (“old sames”) relationship with another girl, and on the ways in which they struggled for some degree of self-determination in a society which oppressed women through such practices as foot-binding and arranged marriage.
Tasjian, Janet. Fault Line (YA fiction)
When Becky meets fellow comedian Kip at the improve clubs where they both perform, he seems the perfect guy for her—until the relationship turns abusive.
A girl is trapped in a virtual reality game when protestors damage the gaming center’s equipment, and losing is no longer an option for her if she hopes to escape unharmed.
Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle (adult non-fiction; B W159)
Walls, now an MSNBC columnist, reveals the story of her chaotic youth, during which she and her siblings were mostly left to fend for themselves while their alcoholic father and artist mother moved about the country evading bill collectors and the law.
Whitcomb, Laura. A Certain Slant of Light (YA fiction)
The spirit of a woman long dead, unable to move on to the afterlife, clings to the physical world until she encounters James, a spirit similarly marooned, who shows her how to inhabit an “empty” body. Overjoyed at their discovery of each other, the two soon fall deeply in love.
2009 Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award nominees
(books in blue are currently owned by Dixon Public Library by as of 6/11/08)
Atwater-Rhodes, Amelia. Hawksong (YA fiction)
In a land that has been at war so long that no one remembers the reason for fighting, the
shapeshifters who rule the two factions agree to marry in the hope of bringing peace, despite
deep-seated fear and distrust of each other.
Barry, Max. Jennifer Government (adult fiction; F B)
In a corporate-governed future world where people take the last names of the companies they
work for, merchandising officer Hack Nike tries to get out of a contract that requires him to shoot
teenagers, a situation that results in his unwitting involvement with an agent who is out to get
Hack's employer. www.maxbarry.com
Bennett, Holly. The Bonemender (YA fiction)
Gabrielle DesChenes, gifted Healer and one of the royal family of Verdeau, finds herself falling in
love with Feolan, an Elf who arrives at her castle seeking help for his wounded friend and who
warns of imminent danger from invaders who threaten the freedom of all who live in the Krylian
Chima, Cinda Williams. The Warrior Heir (YA fiction)
After learning about his magical ancestry and his own warrior powers, sixteen-year-old Jack
embarks on a training program to fight enemy wizards. www.cindachima.com
Donnelly, Jennifer. A Northern Light (YA fiction)
Sixteen-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her
father and boyfriend, takes a job at a hotel in 1906 where the death of a guest renews her
determination to live her own life. www.jenniferdonnelly.com
Giles, Gail. What Happened to Cass McBride? (YA fiction)