Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

About the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, established in 2004, is given annually (beginning in 2006) to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished contribution to the body of American children’s literature known as beginning reader books published in the United States during the preceding year.

Administered by:

Association for Library Service to Children logo

Award and Frequency

The winning author and illustrator each receive a bronze medal. Honorees, if any, receive a plaque. This award is given annually.
This award is given out on an annual basis.

Eligibility

The Award is restricted to author(s) and illustrator(s) who are citizens or residents of the United States.

The committee in its deliberations is to consider only the books eligible for the award, as specified in the terms.

The "author(s) and illustrator(s)" may include co-authors and co-illustrators. The author(s) and illustrator(s) may be awarded the medal posthumously.

"Distinguished" is defined as: Marked by distinction: noted for significant achievement; Marked by excellence in quality; Marked by conspicuous excellence or eminence; Individually distinct; Providing a stimulating and successful reading experience for the beginning reader containing the kind of plot, sensibility, and rhythm that can carry a child along from start to finish.

"American children’s literature" means that books originally published in other countries are not eligible.

"Contribution to the body of children’s literature that encourages and supports the beginning reader" indicates the text of a book, which must be directed at readers from pre-K through Grade 2. The book must also contain illustrations, which function as keys or clues to the text. The committee shall consider all forms of writing—fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Reprints and compilations are not eligible.

Applicant Responsibility

Award winner(s) and honorees attend the ALSC Award Presentation Program during the ALA Annual Conference.  The award winning author and illustrator each prepare and deliver an acceptance speech.  Honorees, if any, accept a plaque, but does not deliver a speech.

Application Instructions

How to submit books for consideration for the Geisel Award:

  • Review the terms and criteria for the award. 
  • Mail one copy of the book to the ALSC office (ATTN: Caldecott Submission, 50 East Huron, Chicago, IL 60611-2795).
  • Mail one copy of the book to the award committee chair. Please e-mail alscawards@ala.org for address information.
  • ALSC membership is not a requirement to submit your work.
  • If you wish, you may attach a cover letter with your contact information to your final work. There is not a submission form to fill out or an entry fee for the Geisel Award.

Please note:

The ALSC office is only requesting for one copy to be sent to the ALSC office and one copy to the committee chair. Standards are in place for the committee members to review and share submissions. If you are submitting for multiple awards, only one copy needs to be sent to the ALSC office.

Neither the ALSC office nor the committee chair can confirm receipt of submissions. If you would like to confirm receipt of your submission please use a mailing service with delivery confirmation. Submissions that are dropped off in- person to the ALSC office will not be accepted.

The ALSC office cannot answer eligibility questions or advise on which award your submission is eligible for. It is up to you to review the terms and criteria and if you feel you qualify, submit as appropriate. Eligibility is determined by the committee and is confidential.

The book and media awards are announced each year at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in January. The materials received by the ALSC office throughout the year will be used for ALSC’s Bookapalooza Program. The Bookapalooza Program selects three libraries to receive a Bookapalooza collection of these materials to be used in a way that creatively enhances their library service to children and families.

Deadline for submitting books is December 31 of the publication year.

Contact Information

If you need more information, feel free to contact the ALA Library Reference Desk by telephone: 800-545-2433, extension 2153; fax: 312-280-3255; e-mail: library@ala.org; or regular mail: ALA Library, American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611-2795.

Selection Criteria

There are no limitations as to the character of the book considered except that it will be original and function successfully as a book for beginning readers. Honor Books may be named. These shall be books that are also truly distinguished.
Subject matter must be intriguing enough to motivate the child to read; The book may or may not include short "chapters"; New words should be added slowly enough to make learning them a positive experience; Words should be repeated to ensure knowledge retention.; Sentences must be simple and straightforward; There must be a minimum of 24 pages. Books may not be longer than 96 pages; The illustrations must demonstrate the story being told; The book creates a successful reading experience, from start to finish; The plot advances from one page to the next and creates a "page-turning" dynamic.