The purpose of the Mitten Award is to recognize and promote quality literature for youth in picture book format. First given in 1999 by the Children’s Services Division of the Michigan Library Association, the award is given annually to one children’s book originally published in the United States during the calendar year that has captured the attention of the youth librarians throughout the State of Michigan for its ability to communicate through literature to an intended audience. The award selection work group is comprised of Michigan librarians who consider hundreds of children’s books annually to determine a winner.

Mitten Award Guidelines (pdf)
Mitten Award Nomination Form (pdf)

2018 Mitten Award Top Ten

Download the 2018 Mitten Top Ten Bookmark

  A Perfect Day By Lane Smith After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again)By Dan Santat Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children's Books By Michelle Markel, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
Big Cat, Little Cat By Elisha Cooper Bob, Not Bob! By Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Matthew Cordell Sergeant Reckless: The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero By Patricia McCormick, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse By Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
Town Is by the Sea By Joanne Schwartz, illustrated by Sydney Smith Windows By Julia Denos, illustrated by E.B. Goodale Winter Dance By Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Richard Jones  


2017 Mitten Award

The 2017 Mitten Award Work Group read and discussed 220 titles – approximately 161 of which received starred reviews. Collectively, workgroup members estimate that they spent 280+ hours reading submissions. “This workgroup had the daunting task of narrowing down a list of over 200 excellent picture books to just five finalists, and I couldn’t be prouder of each member’s nuanced consideration and attention to detail, as we narrowed 220 to 35, and then 35 to our High Five selections” said Mitten Award Work Group Chair Dena Moscheck. “I believe our shortlist represents the best of the best picture books published in 2016.”

A Dark, Dark Cave Named 2017 MLA Mitten Award Winner

A Dark, Dark Cave by Eric Hoffman and illustrated by Corey R. Tabor

The Michigan Library Association (MLA) is pleased to announce A Dark, Dark Cave by Eric Hoffman and illustrated by Corey R. Tabor, published 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers, is the winner of the 2017 MLA Mitten Award.

In A Dark, Dark Cave, a sister and younger brother and their tail-wagging dog descend into the depths of a dark, dark cave leaving a pale moon shining behind. With flashlight beams leading the way, they discover fluttering bats, rock formations, creepy-crawlies, and huge glowing eyes. Exploration reaches its climax when paws reach out and a huge shadowy figure appears in the cave's entrance. "That's too loud, kids. Find a quiet game. The baby's sleeping." Expressing exuberant creativity, the two siblings happily resume playing "in what used to be a dark, dark cave."

A Dark, Dark Cave captures the true flavor of that most wonderful element of childhood: make-believe -- and celebrates the power of imaginative play as two siblings explore a dark, dark cave.” said Dena Moscheck, Mitten Award Work Group Chair. “The cadence of the text invites readers to participate, both verbally and imaginatively, and the details in the illustrations, combined with the element of surprise, will have children wanting to reread the story to look for clues and relive the excitement of exploring a dark, dark cave -- each time with a greater sense of "knowing" and comfort.” 

Eric Hoffman has worked for thirty-five years in Maryland, Ohio, and California helping preschoolers create caves, forts, nests, barns, and other hideouts. Some of his works include Best Best ColorsHeroines and Heroes and Play Lady. In addition to his own books, his work with young children is featured in the book and video Starting Small, part of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance Project. He lives and writes in a sunny house in Santa Cruz.

Corey Tabor is the author and illustrator of Fox and the Jumping Contest and the illustrator of A Dark, Dark Cave. He creates his illustrations with pencil and watercolor and a dose of digital wizardry. Corey lives in Seattle with his lovely wife and spends his time making pictures and stories.

The Mitten Award, established in 1999, is designed “to recognize and promote quality literature for youth in picture book format, and the ability to communicate to that audience through literature.”  The award selection work group is comprised of Michigan librarians who consider hundreds of children’s books annually to determine a winner.

2017 Mitten Award Honor Books

  • Maybe Something Beautiful by Isabel Campoy, Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael López
  • They All Saw a Cat written and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
  • The Snurtch by Sean Ferrell, illustrated by Charles Santoso
  • A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O'Leary, illustrated by Qin Leng

Past Mitten Award Winners and Honor Books

2013 | 2014 | 20152016 | 2017

Mitten Award Winners and Honor Books - 1999 - 2017(pdf)