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Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award

The Couch Potato written by Jory John and illustrated by Pete Oswald is the 2023 Arkansas Diamond Primary Award Winner.

The Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award was established by the Arkansas Elementary School Council in 1998 to encourage reading for students in Grades K-3. The name of the award reflects that Arkansas is the only diamond producing state.

Reading Selection & Awards Process

The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), the Arkansas State Library, and the Arkansas Literacy Association are pleased to announce the annual selection process for the Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award.

Titles are selected by the reading committee per established guidelines. Anyone interested in serving on the reading committee can contact Ruth Hyatt at for more information.

The Arkansas Diamond Award winner is selected by an annual vote. Children in Grades K-3 must have read at least three of the titles from the annual reading list and may vote for one title. Student voting takes place in May each year.


The Diamond Primary Book Award winner is selected in May by students in kindergarten, first, second, and third grades. Cassandra Barnett of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will send out ballot collection forms to all schools in early May. The voting window will last one week. If you need to be added to her distribution list, please email Cassandra at

This year the award committees responded to many concerns on the part of school librarians who can’t afford to purchase enough books for students to have access to a minimum of three books over the award cycle. The goal is to give as many students as possible the chance to participate in the voting process. Previously, if they didn’t have access to three of the nominees during the school year, then they were denied the opportunity to vote. Now, if your student has only had the chance or made the choice to read or be read only one of the titles on the nominations list, and they love it, they may cast their vote for it. If they have had a chance to experience more than one title, they must choose their favorite and cast a single vote for that title.

Students at participating schools are encouraged to read the books on the annual selection list, and teachers and library media specialists to select some titles to read aloud in class.

Due to the age group involved, the reading committee suggests that teachers and media specialists devise a plan to help children to vote on books that are read to children. Teachers may read all of the books to the children over a condensed period and then have the children vote. Books can be read to the children over an extended period of time, but a review the books read may be necessary before voting, as young children may forget books read at the beginning of the year.

For more information about the program, contact: