Best Easy Readers for Kids

Best Books for Young Kids

The (Theodor Seuss) Geisel Award is given annually 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.  I found this from Books and Stuff,  a blog for Westerville Library, and they give their perspective on the winners at the bottom of this post.  Benny and Penny in the Big No-No by Jeffrey Hayes is  the 2010 Winner.  The information on the Geisel 2010 winners is from the ALSC (The Association for Library Service to Children).

2010 Medal winner

Benny and Penny in the Big No-No!, written and illustrated by Geoffrey Hayes, published by TOON BOOKS, a division of RAW Junior, LLC

Benny and Penny in the Big No-No! is a perfect example of a graphic novel designed just for young readers. Siblings Benny and Penny encounter trouble when curiosity about a mysterious neighbor leads them into unexpected adventures. The characters’ emotions are revealed in the rich artwork within each panel. Children will connect with the realistic dialogue and page-turning appeal of the story. They will be thrilled to enter the world of graphic novels.

“The real big ‘no-no’ would be to miss this distinctive beginning graphic novel with perfectly matched text and illustrations,” said Geisel Award Committee Chair Susan Veltfort.

2010 Honor Books

I Spy Fly Guy!, written and illustrated by Tedd Arnold, published by Scholastic, Inc.

Fly Guy and his pal Buzz are back in a fresh beginner chapter book.  A disastrous ending to a game of hide and seek finds Fly Guy hauled away to the local dump in this new take on a lost pet. Arnold’s watercolor and colored pencil cartoon-like illustrations are fun and fanciful.

Little Mouse Gets Ready, written and illustrated by Jeff Smith, and published by TOON BOOKS, a Division of RAW Junior, LLC.

Little Mouse narrates this story with humor and excitement as he dons clothes and dreams of adventures to come. The simplified bubble dialogue and one or two panels per page combine to create an appealing and effective format for new readers.

Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends, written and illustrated by Wong Herbert Yee, published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

In this quiet story of friendship, artistic Mole and poetic Mouse join forces to hatch a clever plan for watching skittish birds.  They create their own book of paintings and poems to celebrate their bird-watching adventures.  The soft illustrations reflect the gentleness of the text.

Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day, written by Kate McMullan, illustrated by R. W. Alley, published by Dial Books for Young Readers.

In three short and simple chapters, friends Pearl and Wagner experience the hijinks and pranks of April Fools’ Day. Beginning with the cover art, McMullan and Alley set the stage and draw the reader in immediately. Readers will be delighted as Wagner gets the last laugh!


So, I think I’ve managed to neglect mentioning the Geisel Awards up to this point.  What a grievous oversight.  Anyone with a new reader needs to know about this award “given annually the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers.”

The days of Dick and Jane are gone my friends.  As this article says, boring beginning reader books are so yesterday.  Today’s readers are funny and engaging. Kids actually want to read them!

Toon books are in a graphic novel (read: comic book) format and are great place to start for boys and reluctant readers.

Many parents are already familiar with Mo Willems and his fantastic picture books like the Pigeon and Knuffle Bunnyseries.  But those same parents are often unfamiliar with Mo’s hilarious beginning reader Elephant and Piggie series.  Mo also has a new series about Cat the Cat.  Don’t be fooled by the traditional picture book look of these books, they’re intended for beginning readers as well.


And if you haven’t introduced your new reader to the Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold, you’re both missing out!  When a fly on the hunt for something tasty and slimy to eat crosses paths with a boy named Buzz who’s looking for a smart pet for The Amazing Pet Show, a beautiful friendship is born.  And of course, hilarity ensues.

Also worth a mention are the Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa series, Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same, and the Annie and Snowball series.  And check out our list of Geisel Award winners and honor books.

To view any book at Amazon, just click on the image of the book.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom

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