Josh Schneider wins Geisel Award for 'Tales for Very Picky Eaters'

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/23/2012


Communications and Marketing Office

ALA Media Relations


DALLAS– Author and illustrator Josh Schneider is the 2012 recipient of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for “Tales for Very Picky Eaters”published by Clarion Books,an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.The award was announced today by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), during the ALA Midwinter Meeting held Jan. 20 – 24 in Dallas.

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is given to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year. The award is named for the world-renowned children’s author, Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss. Award winners are recognized for their literary and artistic achievements that demonstrate creativity and imagination to engage children in reading. Award and honor book recipients will receive their awards in Anaheim, Calif., during the ALA Annual Conference in June. 

Each of the five chapters in “Tales for Very Picky Eaters” recounts James’ refusal to eat yet another disgusting, smelly, repulsive, lumpy or slimy food. Not only picky eaters, but all readers will delight in the outrageous suggestions along with the off the wall rationale from his very clever dad for why he should become more adventurous in his food selections. James turns the table on his father when he decides to become more daring and bold in his meal choices and actually tries something new.

Josh Schneider, who writes that “he is very brave and can eat lots of scary foods (but he doesn’t)” perfectly captures the attitude of the picky eater.  The illustrations have a cartoon-flavor and are executed in watercolor, pen and ink, and colored pencil.

“The dialogue presents some preposterous situations but even the most challenging words are presented in context so beginning readers can easily discern their meaning. The touches of humor make this book an engaging page turner,” said Geisel Award Committee Chair Carole D. Fiore.

Three Geisel Honor Books were named:

“I Broke My Trunk,” written and illustrated by Mo Willems and published by Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of Disney Book Group.

In this installment of Elephant and Piggie’s adventures, Piggie is very concerned because his best friend, Gerald the Elephant, has broken his trunk.  Gerald proceeds to tell Piggie a long, rambling story about how it happened.

Willems, who has previously garnered 3 Caldecott honors, 2 Geisel medals and 1 honor,  used meticulously chosen words and sparingly drawn illustrations to convey the humorous situation. The pacing is masterful and will keep young readers turning the pages until they reach the surprising yet satisfying conclusion.  The illustrations artfully show each character’s emotions through their facial expressions and body language.

The big, bold font, easy-to-read color coded speech balloons and repetition make this a perfect book for beginning readers.  The limited vocabulary blended with the humorous situation will keep readers engrossed until the end.

“I Want My Hat Back,” written and illustrated by Jon Klassen and published by Candlewick Press.

After losing his hat, Bear politely and patiently questions his fellow forest dwellers as to the whereabouts of his “red pointy hat.” Although no one admits to seeing the hat, deer helps Bear realize, “I HAVE SEEN MY HAT.”

Klassen has created a droll tale told in deadpan dialogue. The digital and Chinese ink illustrations are spare yet endearing. The text is black, brown, green and red, reflecting who is speaking thus helping the beginning reader follow the narrative. Early readers are allowed to interpret rabbit’s fate. This repetitive tale explores honesty and loss, a wry and witty offering that is truly unique.  This is the first book Klassen has both written and illustrated.

“See Me Run,” written and illustrated by Paul Meisel and published by Holiday House.

Dogs and more dogs are everywhere. Running, sliding, jumping, splashing and having fun.  Perceptive beginning readers will be drawn into the story starting with the illustration on the title page that hints at the surprising ending to come.

Paul Meisel has previously illustrated more than 70 books; “See Me Run” is the second book he has both written and illustrated.  The simple text consists mostly of sight words familiar to the beginning reader.  The pen and ink, acrylic ink, and colored pencil illustrations add to the uproarious mood and are essential for a complete understanding of the story.

Limited vocabulary, text in large font and short sentences help the reader have a successful experience.  Even the blurb on the back cover uses vocabulary accessible for the emergent reader.

The members of the 2012 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Committee are: Chair Carole D. Fiore, Training and Library Consulting, Tallahassee, Fla.; Lauren Anduri, Oakland Public Library, Oakland , Calif.,  and Sequoia Elementary School, Oakland, Calif.; Connie Champlin, Cultural Adventures, Centerville, Mass.; Cheryl Lee, Palo Alto (Calif.) City Library; Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.; Mary Schreiber, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, Ohio; and Maureen White, University of Houston -- Clear Lake.


ALSC is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children.  With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit their website at

For more information on the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit