Mississippi Children's Museum

Magnolia Book Awards

A children’s choice award for the state of Mississippi

The Magnolia Book Awards are given annually to the book voted by the children and teens of Mississippi as their favorite in four age categories. The purpose of the Magnolia Book Awards is to introduce Mississippi children and teens to current literature and to instill a love of reading.

Mississippi children in grades Pre-Kindergarten-12th grade are eligible to participate in the voting and nominating. Voting is held annually in February, with winners announced each April at the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Voting is overseen by a designated individual (teacher, librarian, bookstore manager, etc.) at each participating location in the state of Mississippi.


The winners of the 2020 Magnolia Book Awards are:

Pre-K-2nd Grade: What Do They Do with All That Poo? Written by Jane Kurtz and illustrated by Allison Black

Runner-up: A Place for Pluto written by Stef Wade, illustrated by Melanie Demmer

3rd-5th Grade: Real Friends: A True Story About Cool Kids and Crybabies by Shannon Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Runner-up: Wonderland written by Barbara O’Connor

6th-8th Grade: The Doughnut Fix written by Jesse Janowitz and The Not-So Boring Letters of Private Nobody by Matthew Landis (Tied)

Runner-up: Lifeboat 12 written by Susan Hood

9th-12th Grade: A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti

Runner-up: Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam by Elizabeth Partridge

Raffle Winners:

The 2020 Magnolia Book Awards winner of a day with Mississippi Children’s Museum’s Imagination Playground exhibit is Leah Shackelford of Annunciation Catholic School in Columbus, Mississippi. Congratulations Leah!

The winner of the $250 honorarium to the individual, $250 honorarium to purchase books for the winning library, and free registration to the 2021 Book Festival is Matthew Pudas of the Magee Public Library in Magee, Mississippi.  Congratulations Matthew!

Congratulations to the winners and all of the wonderful books nominated for the 2020 Magnolia Book Awards! Thank you to everyone who participated and made this year’s awards possible!


See the list for new nominees for 2021. Vote for your favorite in February 2021!


Read any good books lately? Nominate them for 2022!

We are currently seeking nominations for the 2022 award year. Nominations are due by November 1st, 2020. Nominations are accepted in the following categories: Grades PK-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12. Any genre or format (chapter or picture book) is acceptable including non-fiction. Suggested titles should have been published within the past 2 years. Please email your 2022 nominations to Lindsey Beck at:

We encourage all schools and public libraries to make voting for this year’s Magnolia Book awards an event to remember for your community! Participating voting sites have the opportunity to win a day with the Mississippi Children’s Museum’s traveling “Imagination Playground” interactive exhibit (a $600 value) and from the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival, free registration to the Children’s Book Festival, a $500 honorarium to the individual, and a $500 honorarium to purchase books for the winning library.


More information on the award:

Want to serve on the selection committee? Put your name on the waiting list! 

Add your name to our Selection Committee waiting list and be a part of the Magnolia Book Awards process! We are seeking public children’s librarians or school librarians. Committee members may serve for three years, with all communications accomplished via email. Review books received during the nomination cycle are yours to keep! Email us to add your name to the list- .


The Magnolia Book Awards is a partnership of:

  • Mississippi Children’s Museum
  • Mississippi Department of Education
  • Mississippi Library Association
  • Mississippi Library Commission
  • Divisions of the University of Southern Mississippi: The School of Library and Information Science; Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival; and The deGrummond Children’s Literature Collection

For additional information, please contact: .