Dorothy's List

Heard On 'Vermont Edition'

What is Dorothy's List?

Dorothy’s List is VPR’s book club for kids! Each month we highlight a book nominated for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award. We visit schools and libraries where the book is being read, check out how young readers are interacting with the book and relay students’ questions to the author.

Dorothy's List is curated and reported by VPR's Amy Kolb Noyes.

The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award

First given in 1957, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award has honored quality literature for children for over 55 years. Each spring, 30 nominees are named to the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Master List. After reading at least five books from the list, Vermont students in grades four through eight vote for their favorite. Learn more here.

Nominated Books

Find more information about the books nominated for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award in recent years:

How to get involved

How does your school or library do Dorothy's List? Let us know! Share an activity or a lesson plan. Tell us what books you’d like to see highlighted on Dorothy’s List and why. And please let us know if you’re interested in participating in a future program!

Want to put up a poster for Dorothy's List in your classroom or library?

Click here for a printable poster or here for a flyer.

Ways to Connect

Weybridge Elementary School fourth-grader Juliette Hunsdorfer shows off a copy of 'The War That Saved My Life,' while sixth-grader Narges Anzali listens to another reader's comments about the book.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The War That Saved My Life, by author Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, is a World War II-era story about a girl and her brother who have a chance to escape their cruel childhood when London is evacuated during the war.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The debut novel by Alex Gino is called George, which is also the name of the main character. But Gino refers to it as Melissa's story.

George is a fourth grader, assigned male at birth, but who secretly thinks of herself as Melissa.

Waterville Elementary School students sit around a table.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Students at Waterville Elementary School are gathered around a classroom table, deep in discussion about the characters in A Night Divided, especially the book's main character – 12-year-old Gerta, who lives in East Berlin.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

If books are supposed to open up new worlds to readers, then Victoria Jamieson's graphic novel Roller Girl has hit its mark with a group of young readers at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Sixth-graders from the Vermont Commons School in South Burlington file into Pierson Library and head up a short set of stairs to a grand room: Shelburne's historic town hall. The class is here to discuss Shadows of Sherwood, the first book in the "Robyn Hoodlum Adventures" series. 

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

One long table dominates the open space in the center of the tiny, 150-year-old Peabody Library in Post Mills. Around that table, a group of Dorothy's List readers – ranging in age from 9 to 11 – are tying lengths of rope into knots. The knots are keeping their hands busy as they discuss the book Circus Mirandus.

Amulet Books

More than 3,200 Vermont middle schoolers voted for this year’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, and it was a tight race. But in the end El Deafo was a clear winner. El Deafo is the second graphic novel to win the award in its 60-year history. The first was Smile by Raina Telgemier in 2012. And El Deafo author and illustrator Cece Bell says that book inspired her to create El Deafo.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Library time at the Marlboro School is something of an oasis in the midst of a hectic day. Students in this reading group are serving each other tea and cupcakes, and getting ready to settle in to their discussion of The One Safe Place.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

When this group of students from Burlington's Hunt and Edmunds Middle Schools got together to discuss The Art of Secrets, some of them were meeting for the first time. So Edmunds librarian Carole Renca started them out with a matching game to allow the students to mingle. Some students had cards with the names of characters from The Art of Secrets, and others had cards with descriptions of the character.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The early life story of author and illustrator Cece Bell unfolds across the pages of El Deafo in comic book style panels. We first meet Cece as an energetic preschooler who loves to wear her poka-dotted bathing suit everywhere. Then we watch her get sick and lose her hearing as speech bubbles fade to blank.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Outside their classroom, seventh and eighth graders at Rutland Town School are bounce passing and showing off their basketball moves, including the move their latest read was named for – the crossover. When we asked them how they liked the book, they raved about the book. They’re not alone.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

For this month's Dorothy's List, seventh graders at Green Mountain Union in Chester have been reading the novel Unfriended by New York author Rachel Vail.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

In 1944, a disastrous explosion rocked a Naval base in California called Port Chicago. The racially segregated Navy base had dangerous and unfair working conditions for African American sailors there. After the explosion, a large group of sailors refused to return to work loading ammunition under the same dangerous conditions. They were tried for mutiny. Those men were called the Port Chicago 50.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The fifth and sixth graders file down the stairs and into the school library, like they've done hundreds of times before. They're the big kids at Beeman Elementary, and library time isn't just about read-alouds and checking out books anymore. Librarian Nancy Custer Carroll has a lesson for them on characters in Laura Marx Fitzgerald's book Under the Egg.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The students at St. Etheldreda's School for Young Ladies are there to learn to behave as proper maidens should. The girls' lives are mundane under the care of their miserly headmistress. But despite their dreary situation at school, there is one fate that all the girls agree would be far worse. And that is being sent home.

So when their headmistress and her brother drop dead at Sunday dinner, the young ladies decide to bury the bodies in the back garden and keep the murders a secret. Thus is born The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place.