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2013 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winners

Books for Beginning Readers


Book Cover of Up! Tall! and High!

2013 Geisel Medal Winner

If you're looking for good books for your beginning reader, the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is an important resource since it annually honors children's books for beginning readers and the books' creators.

The 2013 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Medal Winner

The winner of the 2013 Geisel Medal is Up, Tall and High!, which was written and illustrated by Ethan Long. (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), 2012. ISBN: 9780399256110) Compare prices.

If you described Up, Tall and High! as a concept book, an early chapter book, an interactive book, or a book for beginning readers, you'd be right. It is all of those things and more, including fun. The book has three sections, each separated by a single solid color page. Each deals with the meaning of one of the words in the title (and a few others). A lift-the-flap page in each section encourages interaction and contains a surprising and funny twist.

The main characters are all colorful birds, "drawn with an ink and brush line, then scanned in and colored digitally." (Source: Penguin)

The publisher recommends Up, Tall and High! for ages 4 to 7. The book, which is larger than many beginning reader books, yet smaller than most picture books, is 40-pages long. Its pages are also made out of a stronger and thicker paper than most children's books.

The 2013 Geisel Award Honor Books

    Three 2013 Geisel Honor Books were named:
  • Let’s Go for a Drive!, written and illustrated by Mo Willems
    (Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of Disney Book Group, 2012 ISBN: 9781423164821) Compare prices.

    Let’s Go for a Drive! is part of Mo Willems's series of Elephant and Piggie beginning reader books about two very different friends and the funny situations that often arise because they are so different. Mo Willems has won numerous awards for this series. He won the 2008 Geisel Medal for There is a Bird On Your Head! and the 2009 Geisel Medal for Are You Ready To Play Outside?. Two of Willems' other Elephant and Piggie books were also recognized as Geisel Honor Books. We Are In A Book! is a 2011 Geisel Honor Book, and I Broke My Trunk! is a 2012 Geisel Honor Book.

  • Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons was written by Eric Litwin. The Pete the Cat character was created by James Dean, who illustrated the book.
    (HarperCollins, 2012. ISBN: 9780062110589) Compare prices.

    Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons is another humorous book for beginning readers. However, it is not formatted as a beginning reader book; instead, it's a picture book. However, the text, which includes rhyme and repetition, is considered appropriate for beginning readers. It's one of several picture books about Pete the Cat, a very groovy, laidback cat. Read my book review of Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons for more about this entertaining book and its unusual title character.

  • Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover, written and illustrated by Cece Bell
    (Candlewick Press, 2012. ISBN: 9780763654757) Compare prices.

    Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover is an early chapter book for beginning readers. Rabbit is very pleased that his friend Robot is coming for a sleepover and he spends a lot of time planning for the visit. In fact, Rabbit makes a list of what they'll do, and when things don't go as planned, Rabbit gets upset.

    However, his friend Robot has ways of solving problems and calming Rabbit down so that at the end of the evening, they agree they've had a good time. Each of the book's four chapters focuses on one of the things on the list Rabbit made in preparations for Robot's visit: Make Pizza, Watch TV, Play Go Fish, and Go to Bed. The publisher recommends the 56-page book for ages 5-9.

More Recommended Children's Books for Beginning Readers

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Awards have been awarded annually since 2006 and you will find links to all of the annual Medal winners and honorees at the bottom of my article The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for Beginning Reader Books. Other excellent books, these for very new readers, include Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman, The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.

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