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August 10, 2016


Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

Who Will Win…the Geisel Award?

At the end of this month, the American Library Association (ALA) will announce a number of awards for children’s books at its annual Midwinter Meeting. Librarians will gather from around the country, authors and illustrators will wait for congratulatory phone calls, and readers of all backgrounds will eagerly await the new list of books that will sport shiny gold and silver stickers on their jackets.
While some of the awards have existed for generations (the Caldecott celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2013) others have been founded in more recent years. One of the “youngest” awards (which happens to be given to books for the youngest readers!) is the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award. Named after Dr. Seuss, this award recognizes authors and illustrators of beginning readers for “their literary and artistic achievements that demonstrate creativity and imagination to engage children in reading.”

Throughout the history of children’s books, beginning readers have been a challenge to get just right. The text has to be simple enough for children just starting to read on their own, but the stories also have to be entertaining enough to keep these youngsters returning for more. It’s a delicate balance. Of course Dr. Seuss was a master of this—it’s impossible to know how many children have become readers because of The Cat in the Hat or Fox in Socks or One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

Happily the bar that Dr. Seuss set has been met by authors and illustrators who have followed in his footsteps. Mo Willems, Cynthia Rylant, and Kate DiCamillo were already favorite authors of picture books and novels who managed to create books worthy of the Geisel. Characters like Pete the Cat, Henry and Mudge, and Fly Guy immediately became beloved friends. Happily the stickers on the front of these books will ensure that current and future generations are excited about learning to read.

We’re looking forward to finding out what this year’s list will include. (Will another Elephant & Piggie book be honored?) In the meantime, we’re looking back over our favorite beginning readers and sharing them with the kids in our lives.



You can purchase a number of Geisel Award and Honor books at Scholastic Reading Club online now.


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4 Responses

  1. Heidi Kilgras

    Any guesses? Who are your top picks?

  2. Brian Smith

    I don’t know what the cut-off is for the dates but I’d love to see I’m Bored by Michael Ian Black be a winner. That is such a great book. A new favorite of my classes. Although Elephant and Piggie is always a hit and their new one I’m a Frog is awesome. That would be a fun (but hard) decision to make each year.

    • Heather

      Hi, Brian!
      We double checked the rules and it looks like I’m Bored isn’t eligible! For the announcements this month, the committee is considering books published in 2013. I’m Bored was published in 2012. There were so many great readers published last year, we’re not sure how they’ll decide on the top books!

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