Michael Emberley wins 2023 Geisel Award for 'I Did It!'

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/30/2023


ALA Media Relations

Communications and Marketing Office

American Library Association


NEW ORLEANS — Author Michael Emberley is the 2023 recipient of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for “I Did It!,” published by Holiday House. 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’s LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience held January 27-30 in New Orleans.

The 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. 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 Chicago during the ALA Annual Conference in June.

This early reader features a main character who tries a variety of playtime activities with the encouragement of supportive, toy-like friends. Although its early attempts result in failure, a persistent growth mindset culminates in the protagonist’s triumph and a happy parade on the final pages.

Set against white backdrops, these creatures express an array of emotions, which are conveyed through colorful artwork enhanced by soft textures, patterns, and shadowing. Conveyed through dialogue bubble, the rhythmic, repetitional text is composed of creative variations on the familiar phrase of accomplishment, “I did it.”

 “The committee appreciated the gentle humor and appealing action of this fresh comic-style story with exceptional writing, illustrations and design,” said Geisel Award Committee Chair Julie Corsaro.

Four Geisel Honor Books were named:

“Fish and Wave,” written and illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier, and published by HarperAlley, an imprint of HarperCollins.

This gentle, action-packed comic reader presents a distinctive anthropomorphic pair navigating the early waters of friendship. Flexibility is the catch of the day as this relatable duo transitions from “me” and “you,” becoming a playful “we.” 

“Gigi and Ojiji,” written & illustrated by Melissa Iwai and published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins.

Gigi’s excitement about meeting Ojiji, her Japanese grandfather, gives way to uncertainty when he arrives. After her mother reassures her, Gigi and her Ojiji begin to settle into a new, warm relationship.

“Owl and Penguin,” written and illustrated by Vikram Madan and published by Holiday House.

In an early comic reader consisting of three short chapters, Owl and Penguin support each other and find humor in sharing ice cream, attempting to fly, and enjoying a rainy day.

“A Seed Grows,” by Antoinette Portis, published by Neal Porter Books Holiday House.

The lifecycle of a sunflower from seed to flower and back to seed is presented in a minimalist, lyrical text paired with richly textured printed images of the plant at each stage of development.

The members of the 2023 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Committee are Chair Julie Corsaro, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Dr. Megan R. Brown, School of Education, Cedarville University, Ohio; Dr. Maria Cahill, University of Kentucky School of Information Science, Lexington; Kary Henry, Deerfield Public Library, Illinois; Karin Michel, Chapel Hill Public Library, North Carolina; Ben Perry, Brooklyn Public Library, New York; and Dr. Tess Prendergast, School of Information, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

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 members are committed to engaging communities to build healthy, successful futures for all children. To learn more about ALSC, visit their website at www.ala.org/alsc.

For more information on the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit www.ala.org/yma.


 The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit www.ala.org.