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NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children

NCTE Orbis Pictus AwardThe NCTE Orbis Pictus Award  was established in 1989 for promoting and recognizing excellence in the writing of nonfiction for children. The name Orbis Pictus, commemorates the work of Johannes Amos Comenius, Orbis Pictus—The World in Pictures (1657), considered to be the first book actually planned for children.

Nonfiction Book Lists

Use these Orbis Pictus Award books with your students across content areas---biography, history, science, and the arts

2010-Present Winning Titles

2000-2010 Winning Titles

1990-2000 Winning Titles


The award is presented annually by the Orbis Pictus Committee Chair at the Books for Children Luncheon during the NCTE Annual Convention. The award-winning author and/or illustrator will be a featured speaker at the luncheon.

Although only one title is singled out for the award, up to five Honor Books are also recognized. Eight additional recommended books can be named.

Read "Children’s Literature Reviews: The 2014 Orbis Pictus Award Winners" in the November issue of Language Arts.

2015 Orbis Pictus Award winning titles will be announced Friday, January 30.


Award Criteria

Nomination Procedures

Nominations for the 2016 Orbis Pictus Award must be received by December 31, 2015


Nominations of individual titles may come from the membership of NCTE 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. Books must have been published or distributed in the United States during the 2015 calendar year.


Contact to nominate a book. 

Each nomination should meet the following literary criteria:

Accuracy—facts current and complete, balance of fact and theory, varying point of view, stereotypes avoided, author's qualifications adequate, appropriate scope, authenticity of detail

Organization—logical development, clear sequence, interrelationships indicated, patterns provided (general-to-specific, simple-to-complex, etc.)

Design—attractive, readable, illustrations complement text, placement of illustrative material appropriate and complementary, appropriate media, format, type

Style—writing is interesting, stimulating, reveals author's enthusiasm for subject; curiosity and wonder encouraged, appropriate terminology, rich language
In addition, each nomination should be useful in classroom teaching grades K-8, should encourage thinking and more reading, model exemplary expository writing and research skills, share interesting and timely subject matter, and appeal to a wide range of ages.


Award Committee

Members of the Orbis Pictus Award Committee select the award recipient and up to five honor books annually, host sessions and meet during the NCTE Annual Convention, and promote the use of nonfiction children's books in the classroom.

Learn more about the award committee and apply to be a member.


Have questions or comments,
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