Category Description: Easy Reader/Early Chapter Books

The Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category of the Cybils covers the whole spectrum of titles for early elementary kids who are learning to read, from the very basic books for emergent readers to longer, illustrated titles for kids who are not quite ready for novels. What we’re looking for in easy reader nominations are leveled readers with controlled vocabularies that are designed for kids to use to practice their reading. Often they are parts of series with reading-related titles, such as “Step into Reading” or “I Can Read” and they can usually be identified by their large type, simple sentence structure, and colorful illustrations on every page. Easy readers are typically 32-64 pages in length. Well-known easy readers include series like Bink & Gollie, Henry & Mudge, and Frog & Toad. 

Beginning chapter books can be a little bit more difficult to identify. Though many books have chapters (including a lot of middle grade novels), only those books designed for beginning readers belong in this category. As compared with easy readers, chapter books are a bit longer (up to 160 pages or so), and they have fewer illustrations. Instead of full-color pictures on every page, they may have just a few black and white line drawings sprinkled throughout the text. Unlike novels, however, beginning chapter books use large print, short chapters, and simple plots, and they rely heavily on dialogue. Popular beginning chapter books include the Ivy & Bean, Marty McGuire, and Magic Tree House series.

— Heidi Fielder, Category Chair