Honor Books

Recommended Books

Award Details

Nomination Deadline:  October 1

Members of the Orbis Pictus Award Committee select the award recipient and up to five honor books annually. Although only one title is singled out for the award each year, up to five honor books are also recognized. Eight additional recommended books can be named.

Learn more about the Committee and apply to be a member.

Books must have been published and/or distributed in the United States during the calendar year. Nominations of individual books may come from publishers, NCTE membership, and from the educational community at large. Any title of nonfiction literature which has as its central purpose the sharing of information may be nominated. This includes biography, but excludes textbooks, historical fiction, folklore, or poetry.

Nonfiction books are defined as those written, designed, and organized to interpret documentable, factual material for children. Books must be an original work.

The following are ineligible: traditional literature (e.g., folktales), poetry, and book reissues.

In identifying an “outstanding” book for children, the committee members will consider the following:

• Accuracy of presentation in both text and illustrative material, as well as appropriate documentation, avoidance of anthropomorphism and teleology, distinction between fact and theory, and balanced treatment.
• Organization of material (e.g., general to specific; specific to general) that contributes to clarity and accessibility.
• Style of writing that is engaging and is distinctive in its use of language.
• Style of illustration that is engaging, informative, and complements the text.
• Appropriateness of book design based on the topic or subject and with respect to the different age groups for which the topic or subject may be appropriate.
• Potential contribution to the K-8 curriculum.

The award is presented annually by the Chair of the Orbis Pictus Award Committee at the Children’s Book Awards Luncheon during the NCTE Annual Convention.

The award-winning author and/or illustrator receive a plaque and are the featured speaker(s) at the luncheon.

The honor book author(s) and/or illustrator(s) are recognized, receive a certificate, and are invited to present at a session following the luncheon.

Nominations must be submitted to the Award Committee by October 1. We request early submission when possible to give the committee enough time to review all submissions. One copy of each book nominated should be sent to the committee members for examination. Digital copies are encouraged and can be emailed directly to the committee members. Advanced copies or galley proofs are acceptable and encouraged, especially for books published after October 1.

Contact bookawards@ncte.org for award committee member information to nominate a book.

Orbis Pictus Award seals are available to accompany winning books and their future printings. The seals serve to endorse the excellence of the books and distinguish them from among the thousands of books published each year. Seals are complimentary and are available in gold for winning books, silver for honor books, and bronze for recommended books.

To place an order, please call 1-217-278-3607

Each year the Orbis Pictus committee presents a session at NCTE’s Annual Convention that shares resources and ideas for teaching with the current year’s award winners. Here are the materials from their 2018 session.

Orbis Pictus Award Winners 2015-Present

Orbis Pictus Award Winners 2010-2014

Orbis Pictus Award Winners 2000-2010

Orbis Pictus Award Winners 1990-2000



Many of the Orbis Pictus Winner, Honor and Recommended books are available in one place on Bookshop.com at NCTE’s shop. (NCTE and local bookstores receive a commission for purchases made through this link.)