Texas has these book lists that a group of librarians decide on each year. And there are a lot of them (truly, everything is bigger in Texas): they have the 2x2 list for ages 2 to grade 2, the Bluebonnet list for 3-6 graders, the Lone Star list is for 6-8 graders, and the TAYSHAS list is for high school students.
The Bluebonnet list is unique because if a student reads 5 of the books on the list, they can vote for their favorite title and then the winner is announced for the whole state. It's a pretty big thing here, at least in the schools and libraries I have any exposure to, and I think it's a great program.
Massachusetts (a state that I finally can spell without the help of spell check, thank you very much) has a similar program, cleverly called the "Massachusetts Children's Book Award" for 4-6 graders. Having watched the Bluebonnet program go so well at the school I did my student librarian-ing at, I am planning to run the same kind of program at my elementary schools this year.
Which means I need to read all the books on the list before school starts so I can booktalk them early in the year.
This is the 2009-2010 list for the Massachusetts Children's Book Award:
The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech
Elijah Of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
Goldwhiskers (Spy Mice) by Heather Vogel Fredrick
Barack Obama: Our 44th President by Beatrice Gormley
Found (The Missing, Book 1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Horns and Wrinkles by Joseph Halgerson
Billy the Fish by Charlie James
Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell
Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata
The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages
Swindle by Gordon Korman
Rules by Cynthia Lord
The Big Field by Mike Lupica
Abby Takes a Stand by Patricia McKissack
Out of Patience by Brian Meehl
How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor
Bread and Roses, Too by Katherine Paterson
Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a Poem by Jack Prelutzky
Simon Bloom, the Gravity Keeper by Michael Reisman
Paint The Wind by Pam Munoz Ryan
Araminta Spookie 1: My Haunted House by Angie Sage
Listen! by Stephanie S. Tolan
Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson
Embarrassingly, I haven't even heard of many of these books, but I'm working my way through them now. Three down, 22 to go. Any suggestions on which ones are awesome and should be read first? Because, clearly, I should put off the more dull ones until the very bitter end.