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2020 Geisel Award Predictions

How did I do with my Geisel Award predictions last year? Let’s not talk about it.

I’ve been on a bit of a cold streak when it comes to Geisel. I think the general unpredictability of the award stems from the fact that it is less specific than many awards. It’s not illustration-focused like the Caldecott, yet it’s also not entirely text-focused either. The award goes to both the author and illustrator and early reader books are thrown in the pot with picture books.

Long story short, it’s tough to make predictions for Geisel.

Blah, blah, blah. But, come on, I’m still going to try.

Here are my picks for 2020 Geisel glory.

2020 Geisel Medal Prediction:

Smell My Foot! by Cece Bell

Now this is something different. This is something weird. This is something that hits all the Geisel criteria and has the originality to push it over the top. How bold is the Geisel committee feeling this year? Because this is the medal winner that would make a bold committee proud.

2020 Geisel Honor Prediction:

Poof! A Bot! by David Milgrim

And now let’s slide into the DMs – David Milgrim’s books. To steal a line from Zoolander: David Milgrim is so hot right now. The guy is consistently writing some of the best books for emerging readers these days. His use of repetition and illustration redundancy (a good thing in early readers) is immaculate. He’s got his Geisel awarded Otto series, and I’m guessing this is the year Zip gets some Geisel love.

2020 Geisel Honor Prediction:

Jack Blasts Off! by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

To quote the criteria, a Geisel-worthy book should contain “the kind of plot, sensibility, and rhythm that can carry a child along from start to finish.” I’m not sure any early reader book this year did that better than Jack Blasts Off. Talk about doing a lot with very little text. It’s funny, it’s surprising, it’s full of life from page one.

Also look out for . . .

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.