Award-Winning Pop-Ups: Guide to the Meggendorfer Prize Winners

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Prize-Winning Pop-Up Books: A Collector's Guide to the Meggendorfer Prize


For the past two decades, The Movable Book Society has honored the very best in paper engineering through its Meggendorfer Awards program. This page lists all the winners of the top prize, with links to the finalists for each year as well. 

The award honors Lothar Meggendorfer (1847-1925), a legendary 19th-century illustrator and movable books paper engineer. Meggendorfer created over 100 pop-up books, employing pull-tabs and rivets that caused several actions at once on a page.

Every two years, one paper engineer wins the Meggendorfer Prize “for the most outstanding commercially published pop-up or movable book”. This is the highest award for paper engineering, and these books are always beautiful, creative and very collectible. The criteria for the award include originality, artistry, overall text and functionality, and how well the movable mechanics work. Innovation and integration of the pop-ups into the story are also considered, along with its overall appear. Best of all, because the award is for commercial titles, you can usually find them easily and afford to add them to your collection (at least, while they are still in print…). As well as the list of winning books, there are links below to the finalists for each year, all of which are also amazing (I don’t envy the judges having to choose between them).

The Movable Book Society also awards prizes for Artist Books and emerging student designers, but these awards are generally for one-off designs that are not typically accessible to the public.

Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links for which I may be compensated (this does not affect my reviews nor cost you any money, but helps support my site hosting costs). I deeply appreciate your support of my site if you use these links, but warmly encourage you to buy from your local Indie bookshop if you have the opportunity.

Latest winner

carter diaz complexities of popup cover

2023 Prize - The Complexities of Pop-Up

Over two decades after releasing The Elements of Pop Up, master paper engineers David A. Carter and James Diaz have returned with The Complexities of Pop Up. Initially released via Kickstarter, this interactive educational book teaches you how to take the basic pop up structures from Elements and add complexity to them through advanced techniques. It comes with pieces to make six of the pop-ups in the book.

While stocks last, there is a special edition of this title available from Poposition Press (signed by both authors, in a gold foil stamped book and slipcase, limited to 100 copies), as well as a small number of Complexities Kits, which were distributed with as Kickstarter rewards and contain the pieces to make all 23 pop-ups from the book.

Paper engineer: David A. Carter & James Diaz
Publisher: Poposition Press, 9781733875110
Publication date: Jan 2021

As a special bonus for budding paper engineers, all the templates and die lines from both Elements and Complexities can be downloaded from David A. Carter’s website.

Find it at Amazon | Abes | eBay

2023 Prize Finalists

Take a peek inside the other 2023 Prize finalists, which include an architectural exploration, adaptation of a classic novella, pop art celebration, heroic Persian mythology, adventures of a curious cat, augmented reality, and more…

Previous winners

2021 Prize - Opening the Forbidden City (Chinese: 打开故宫)

Designed by Chinese paper designer Wang Wei, this pop-up guide to China’s Forbidden City contains 7 pages which show all the buildings on the central axis of the Forbidden City, and extends to over 3 metres long when fully unfolded. It was crowdfunded via Chinese Kickstarter platform Modian, with an initial print run of 15,000 copies.

Paper engineer: Wang Wei
Publisher: Publishing House of Electronics Industry, 
Publication date: May 2020

Find it at Amazon | AliExpress | Abes | eBay

ISBN: 9787121383021

2021 Prize Finalists

☞ Take a peek inside the other 2021 Prize finalists, which include a pop-up book based on a card game, two large 3D dioramas for some pop culture phenomena, a couple of nature titles, a Christmas retelling, and a very unusual collaboration.

2018 Prize - Zahhak: Legend of the Serpent King

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

This stunning pop-up tells the Iranian folk tale of Prince Zahhak, duped by the devil to steal his father’s throne, and brave Feraydun who eventually defeats him. Illustrations are from the epic Shahnameh, which I also highly recommend. The delicate paper engineering complete with feather details has to be seen to be believed. Absolutely gorgeous.

Paper engineer: Simon Arizpe, art and design by Hamid Rahmanian, text by Melissa Hibbard & Ahmad Sadri
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books, 9781606998892
Publication date: October 2018

➤ OOP. Find it at Amazon | Abes | eBay | Kingorama

French edition at Les Rêveurs

Zahhak Video Review
2018 Prize Finalists

☞ Take a peek inside the other 2018 Prize finalists, which include books with working pop-up tools, sculptural artworks from the sea and manga characters, seasonal and humorous children’s adventures, and a pop-up interpretation of a classic gothic tale.

2016 Prize - Welcome to the Neighborwood

A delightful nature exploration of seven animal builders, displaying the beauty and wonder of their homes, from delicate spiderwebs to complex honeycombs.

Paper engineer: Shawn Sheehy
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 9780763665944
Publication date: March 2015

Find it at Amazon | B&N | Blackwells | Abes | eBay

2016 Prize Finalists

☞ Take a peek inside the other 2016 Finalists, whose work spans from architecture to nature, from toys to art, from travel to fantasy to pop culture.

2014 Prize - Transformers: The Ultimate Pop-Up Universe

Transformers shift, change, and rise to battle, including pull-tabs that let you watch the pop-ups cleverly change into entirely new paper creations. The enormous Autobot Omega Supreme seems almost too tall to fit back into the book as he rises to smash the Decepticons. Features more than 35 iconic Transformers characters, including Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron, Starscream, and more.

Paper engineer: Matthew Reinhart, illustrated by Emiliano Santalucia
Publisher: Little Brown Kids
Publication date: October 2013

➤ Original edition OOP. Find original at Amazon | Abes | eBay

➤ Reprinting 2024. Find reprint at Amazon | Blackwells

ISBN 2013: 9780316186629
ISBN 2023: 9781647229542

2014 Prize Finalists

☞ Take a peek inside the other 2014 Finalists, with plenty of beautiful children’s titles, along with explorations of nature, art, and more science fiction.

2012 Prize - Paper Blossoms: A Book of Beautiful Bouquets for the Table

Five amazing pop-up bouquets are designed to bring floral cheer to any room, including a garland of roses, a tropical arrangement, a lotus watergarden, a springtime bouquet, and a vase of lilies.

Paper engineer: Ray Marshall
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication date: September 2010

➤ Find it at Amazon | B&N | Blackwells | Abes | eBay

ISBN: 9780811874199

2010 Prize - ABC3D

Each of the 26 three-dimensional letters in this small-format abecedarian is rendered in simple black, red and white tones, and they move and change before your eyes – revealing themselves in pop-ups and sliding panels. Also features a lenticular cover that changes with the angle of your hands. 

Paper engineer: Marion Bataille
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication date: October 2008

Find it at Amazon | Blackwells

Find it at Amazon | B&N | Blackwells | Abes | eBay

ISBN: 9781596434257

2008 Prize - Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy

A thirtieth anniversary Star Wars commemorative edition that in addition to stunning pop-ups, also contains actual working light sabers, along with pull tabs, mini-pop books, and other interactive looks at the exciting and popular movie franchise.

Paper engineer: Matthew Reinhart, text and art based on the Star Wars films by George Lucas.
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication date: October 2007

➤ OOP. Find it at Amazon | Abes | eBay

ISBN: 9780439882828

2006 Prize - One Red Dot: A Pop-Up for Children of All Ages

Readers are invited to find a single red dot in pages which become increasingly more complex as they introduce a cacophony of form, color, movement and sound.

Paper engineer: David A. Carter
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: October 2005

Find it at Amazon | B&N | Blackwells | Abes | eBay

ISBN: 9780689877698

2004 Prize - Knick-Knack Paddywhack!

An ingenious moving parts narrative follows a boy’s adventures as he ventures outside to the lyrics of “This Old Man”.

Paper engineer: Andy Baron, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
Publisher: Dutton Children’s Books (US) / Random House (UK)
Publication date: Sep 2002 (US) / Sep 2004 (UK)

➤ OOP. Find US edition at Amazon | Abes | eBay

➤ OOP. Find UK edition at Amazon | Abes | eBay

ISBN 2002: 9780525469087
ISBN 2004: 9780141380131

sabuda wizard of oz LE int
Limited edition bonus pop

2002 Prize - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Commemorative Pop-Up

A magnificent retelling of Baum’s classic children’s tale, with magical pop-ups for all the key scenes, including a spinning cyclone, a floating hot air balloon, and even green tinted glasses for viewing the Emerald City.

Paper engineer: Robert Sabuda with additional design work by Matthew Reinhart, based on the original novel by L. Frank Baum.
Publisher: Little Simon (US) / Simon & Schuster Children’s (UK)
Publication date: November 2000 (US) / January 2001 (UK)

➤ Find US edition at Amazon | Blackwells

➤ Find UK edition at Amazon | Blackwells

➤ Two limited editions were released for this title, both with a slipcase and bonus pop-up on the cover, the earlier LE of 50 copies has a woodcut print to the slipcase, the later LE of 200 copies does not. Find it at Amazon | Abes | eBay

ISBN US: 9780689834981
ISBN UK: 9780689817519 
ISBN LE: 9780689840142

2000 Prize - Cookie Count: A Tasty Pop-Up

A team of cute mouse chefs concoct a 3D feast of sweet, sugary treats–coconut kisses, peanut-butter cookies, Linzer hearts, and more.

Paper engineer: Robert Sabuda
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: November 1997

➤ OOP. Find it at Amazon | Abes | eBay

ISBN: 9780689811913

1998 Prize - The Christmas Alphabet

A delightful abecedarian with a Christmas flavour to its 26 pop-up paper sculptures, such as A for a holy angel rising from the page, B for a bell swinging merrily in its belfry, and C for a candle with a flickering flame.

Paper engineer: Robert Sabuda
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication date: 1994

There are multiple editions of this title around, including the original OOP edition and its reprints (red cover); a Deluxe Limited Edition in 1995 (signed, bound in red cloth, with 2 bonus pop-ups, 500 copies); a special issue in decorative boards for Gump’s of San Francisco in 1996; a Deluxe Anniversary Edition released in 2004 (green cover) and a 20th Anniversary Edition released in 2014 (gold cover).

➤ OOP. Find it at Amazon | Abes | eBay
OOP. Find Limited Edition at Amazon | Abes | eBay
➤ OOP. Find Gump’s Special Ed at Abes

➤ OOP. Find it at Amazon | Abes | eBay
OOP. Find Limited Edition at Amazon | Abes | eBay
➤ OOP. Find Gump’s Special Ed at Abes

ISBN 1994: 9780531068571 (Scholastic)
ISBN 1995: 9780531094921 (Scholastic, Deluxe)
ISBN 1996: 9781898000631 (Barefoot UK)
ISBN 1997: 9780531068809 (Orchard US)
ISBN 2001: 9780531068571 (Hachette UK)
ISBN 2004 10th Ann: 9780439672566
ISBN 2014 20th Ann: 9781623481544 


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