Our mission is to promote learning through quality literary experiences for all.


One of the benefits of membership in the Kansas Reading Association is the exposure to top quality picture books through the Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Awards. Bill Martin, Jr., the celebrated author of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?; Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom and many others was a leader in the early literacy field. The award named for him honors his work in children’s literature by recognizing outstanding authors/illustrators of children’s picture books.

The Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award was established in 1996 by the Kansas Reading Association. The purpose of the award is to promote an appreciation of quality literature in young children across Kansas. The titles are suggested by teachers, parents, communities, and librarians. A committee of KRA members choose nominations from the list of suggested titles. Then the nomination list is presented to the body of KRA members to vote on, the title with the most votes wins the year's award. Voting is open now through February 28, 2018.

Please contact Roger Caswell, BMJ award chairperson, with any questions.

2018 BMJ Award Nominees

We are excited to announce the nominees for the 2018 Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award. CLICK HERE or on the picture below to get more information about these wonderful picture books nominated for the 2017 BMJ Award. KRA members can join in book discussion in the BMJ AWARD FORUM.

2017 BMJ Award Winner announced

Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds with Matt Davies

We are excited to announce Nerdy Birdy as the winner of the 2017 Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award. Aaron Reynolds, the author of Nerdy Birdy, will accept the BMJ Award and speak at the Kansas Reading Association’s Annual Conference on October 30 in Topeka.

Printable BMJ Handout

DOWNLOAD and print our 2-page 2018 BMJ Nominee Handout. It is a great resource full of pertinent information about each nominee.

2018 BMJ Bookmark

DOWNLOAD our 2018 BMJ Bookmarks so that you can help us spread the word about these amazing and newly nominated books. 

Electronic Book Bag project unveiled

KRA's new Electronic Book Bag project was unveiled at the 2016 Fall Conference. Parents, students, and teachers can utilize these free electronic resources to help students engage and explore BMJ nominated and award winning picture books. Currently there are 5 book bags online with more set to be released in the coming weeks. The new website is located at www.electronicbookbags.org.

Exciting news

Bill Martin Jr.’s book Listen To Our World is being published posthumously and is available for pre-order on Amazon and at other book sites. Bill Martin had worked with Michael Sampson to complete the book before his death. Melissa Sweet illustrated the book. Plans are also set to release the book Spunky Little Monkey at a future date.

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