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Your nominations, please

At just about this time  of year, the Real Caldecott Committee members are wrapping up their nominations. At the Midwinter meetings, they will discuss only the titles that have been nominated. To clarify, members may suggest many titles throughout the year (and everyone on the committee needs to read all suggested books in their entirety) but in the end may only nominate 7 titles. Each nomination is made to the whole committee with a paragraph (or a few paragraphs) explaining why the book is deserving of a nomination. Since each member gets to nominate only 7 titles, it can be a grueling decision.

If you want to know more about this part of the process, the Caldecott manual is available here. The pages that explain the suggestion and nomination process are 28-30.

We would like to know what you would nominate if you were allowed 5 nominations. Slow down and think. Five. Just 5. It’s always a challenge to take that in.

Start thinking about which books you think are the very best, the ones that you think best fit the criteria and are most deserving of a sticker.  You may nominate five books (that number is admittedly random but seems about right for our purposes; we hope we will get us enough nominations without overwhelming us) — and yes, they may be titles we have not talked about yet…or titles you think we have missed. We are human. We might miss something important. Let us know. You may write a few sentences in support of your favorites if you wish, but the plain-old titles will suffice. We don’t want to add to your workload at this busy time of year. (Caveat: If you nominate off our list, however, I hope you WILL write some words of support. You gotta convince us to move past our December to-do list and find your special book! )

We will post frequently in the coming weeks, so please stop back often. We would really love to have as many nominations as possible, so feel free to share this on Facebook, Twitter, and wherever the cool kids hang out these days. Midwinter is late this year, so we have a fair number of weeks in January to come up with a final ballot and talk about books, so we are not feeling rushed. However, we want to hear from as many people as possible. So, chime in!

Here are the titles we plan to discuss in the coming days and weeks (as you can see, we still have some great books to talk about):
All Different Now
Buried Sunlight
The Farmer and the Clown
The Iridescence of Birds
Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads
Little Red Roja Riding Hood
The Right Word

And, here are the titles we have discussed so far:
Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold
A Letter for Leo
Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas
The Hug Machine
The Baby Tree
Where’s Mommy?
Grandfather Gandhi
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
Viva Frida
Flora and the Penguin
Circle Square Moose
[previous four titles in one post here]
My Bus
Separate Is Never Equal
The Pilot and the Little Prince
Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems

If you could nominate just five books, what would you choose? Go to the comments and let us know. 


Robin Smith About Robin Smith

Robin Smith is a second-grade teacher at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a reviewer for Kirkus and The Horn Book Magazine and has served on multiple award committees.



  1. Such a difficult exercise, but my final five would be:

    1. The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
    2. Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell, ill. Christian Robinson
    3. The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan, ill. Hadley Hooper
    4. The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
    5. The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

    …with the hardest omissions being Viva Frida (Yuyi Morales) and Nana in the City (Lauren Castillo).

  2. 1. The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan, ill. Hadley Hooper
    2. The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee
    3. Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light
    4. Nana and the City by Lauren Castillo
    5. Sebastian and the Balloon by Philip Stead

  3. 1. Draw
    2. Quest
    3. Viva Frida
    4. Sam and Dave
    5. All Different Now

  4. Barb Outside Boston says:

    5. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
    4. The Right Word
    3. The Baby Tree
    2. Viva Frida
    1. Separate Is Never Equal

    Separate is Never Equal beautifully integrates meaning from style and inspiration with meaning from the words. However, I would be perfectly happy with any of these winning the top spot.

  5. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Tell us about what you find distinguished about Beekle? And how it won out over Viva Frida?
    Beekle is getting a lot of buzz and I need to find a copy.
    Thanks for offering your suggestions,

  6. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    If you have a second, can you tell us what you appreciated so much about your last three nominees?
    I am especially interested in Have You Seen My Dragon, which I have not seen since January 2014 and need a refresher on.

  7. Robin: Well, for a while I thought that Viva Frida was going to be my top choice for this year because I do think that it’s absolutely transcendent. In the end, it didn’t include it in my top five because it didn’t quite resonate on quite the same level as other books when I read it with children. But I still think it’s stunning and it’s one of my absolute favorites.

    As for Beekle, there’s so much to love about it (and I would love to hear your thoughts once you’ve taken a look), but if I had to describe it according to the criteria you’ve outlined in previous posts:

    Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed: Santat’s use of color and perspective is always brilliant, but but he takes it to another level in this book by contrasting the bright colors of the child/imaginary world with the more subdued palette of the “grown-up” world. It feels like Santat is in complete control the entire time, but not in a way that feels at all limiting.

    Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept: The spare text allows the book to lean heavily on the illustrations for the story. For example, all of the children’s imaginary friends reflect aspects of their personality (the endpapers show this well). And I love that there is a postmodern element (shown through visual hints embedded throughout) but that the story can stand alone even if the reader doesn’t catch them. He does such a great job of telling a very emotional/personal story but leaving enough room for the story to breath and for the reader to develop their own interpretation.

    Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept: Again, the use of color to draw a strong distinction between a world of the imagination vs. a world without is a strong support for the theme. He puts a lot of detail in the illustrations, but it doesn’t feel cluttered. While I love the use of collage/mixed media in other books, it would have felt distracting here and slowed down the momentum of the story. There is a strong coherent sense of drama (cinematic?) that keeps the story always moving forward (and I love that it ends appropriately on an open-ended/forward looking note).

    Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures: There is a scene towards the end (spoiler alert) when we see the girl drawing scenes from the book itself, but in crayon. It’s a brilliant way of portraying the “story within a story” through the illustrations without having to say it through the text.

    Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience: Visually, I think it has great appeal for children, both in his dynamic use of color, the fantastic landscapes, and the appealing (and diverse) characters. The playful skewering of the grown-up world is also a clever device that places the child reader clearly on the side of the protagonist. And at its core the story (about finding your way in the world and a search for friendship) are universal themes that any child can relate to–and then the more complicated aspects of the story give the child the opportunity to discover new layers of meaning with repeated readings.

    Okay, I’ll stop now (I could talk about this book all day), but I’d be curious to hear what you think! Whether or not you think it’s Caldecott-worthy, I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.

  8. Woah, that response looked much longer after I hit submit. Sorry!

  9. 1) Letter for Leo
    2) Draw
    3) Grandfather Gandhi
    4) Pilot and the Little Prince
    5) Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

  10. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Thanks SO much. I have loved many of his books but have never been successful at convincing others. Now I have the words. I will find Beekle. I have seen it and have it somewhere…:)

  11. Eric Carpenter says:

    1. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
    2. The Farmer and the Clown
    3. The Right Word
    4. The Iridescence of Birds
    5. Blizzard

  12. I am finding this restriction exceedingly difficult. I am beside myself in fact, but for now, will put down these dozen not to defy the rules or to look above those rules but to beg and allow me a little more time to narrow it down. Hence no numerical order just yet:

    Galapagos George
    Grandfather Gandhi
    Firefly July
    The Mayflower
    The Iridescence of Birds
    A Letter for Leo
    Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
    The Right Word
    The Farmer and the Clown

    And yet like just about everyone else there I other I deeply adore. Ugh. 🙂

  13. Quest, The Pilot and the Little Prince, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole and Gaston are too good to leave off. I am glad you will be offering follow-up posts to allow for a narrowing down. 🙂

  14. I am finding this restriction exceedingly difficult. I am beside myself in fact, but for now, will put down these dozen not to defy the rules or to look above those rules but to beg and allow me a little more time to narrow it down. Hence no numerical order just yet:

    Galapagos George
    Grandfather Gandhi
    Firefly July
    The Mayflower
    The Iridescence of Birds
    A Letter for Leo
    Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
    The Right Word
    The Farmer and the Clown

    And yet like just about everyone else there I other I deeply adore. Ugh. 🙂

  15. Quest, Gaston, The Pilot and the Little Prince, Mama Built a Little Nest, and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole are just too good to leave off. Oh boy. 🙂

  16. My apologies.

    First off my ballot is a complete joke, as I accidentally rushing from one class to another left off one of my absolute favorites of the year, HUGO AND THE BEAR by Kate Beebe and S.D. Schindler, and another I hold in very hard regard, HENNY by Elizabeth Rose Stanton.

    Second, my two posts above copied twice on this thread, because one with inverted name and e mail address went into moderation. If you could, I’d be much obliged if you can remove one set.

    I’m sorry. I love each and every submission by all the others above.

  17. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    No problem. I think I deleted the duplication. (First time I tried that, so I hope I did it right.) 🙂

  18. Dean Schneider says:

    1. Letter for Leo
    2. The Farmer and the Clown
    3. Blizzard
    4. Gaston
    5. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

  19. Well, take my nominations with a giant gem-sized grain of salt, because I am only including fictional picture books. Anyway, my choices are:

    1. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
    2. Firebird
    3. My Grandfather’s Coat
    4. My Bus
    5. Gaston

    So hard to leave Draw! and Baby Tree off of this list. And a bunch of others I’m not at liberty to discuss. Narrowing down is HARD.

  20. WINTER BEES by Sidman / Allen
    VIVA FRIDA by Morales
    SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE by Barnett / Klassen
    DRAW! by Colon
    GRAVITY by Chin

  21. The Farmer and the Clown
    The Scraps Book
    Nana in the City
    The Right Word
    Hug Machine

  22. Wait, I left off My Grandfather’s Coat. How in the world do you ever narrow it to five???

  23. Thanks so much Robin. Perfect! Now I see from Sam Bloom and others the likes of The Baby Tree, My Grandfather’s Coat, Frida, Blizzard and Firebird, not to mention Neighborhood Sharks and Mr. Emerson and Me. All loved. Oh geez!!! 🙂

  24. Aye Rebecca. I am with you. Even your mentions of THE HUG MACHINE and NANA IN THE CITY, two more books I adore show that my ballot is a travesty. But I completely understand what Robin and Martha must do, and I’d do the same myself. Love your ballot!! The young kids do really love MY GRANDFATHER’S COAT.

  25. I’ve been thinking about this since this post first went up, and what really stumps me is that, if we’re going to agree that Josephine is not an illustrated book, it actually trumps everything else on my list. (AND I just took a moment to re-read Martha’s thoughts on that, and I’m more convinced it’s not “an illustrated book.”)

    I think the rest of my list would be:

    The Iridescence of Birds (though I don’t doubt it has child appeal, I do wonder if it has *more* adult appeal? That’s my only hesitation here)
    The Farmer and the Clown
    Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
    A Letter for Leo

    It’s hard not to include The Right Word and Firefly July. I’m also still crazy about Lois Ehlert’s The Scraps Book.

    I do not envy the committee.

  26. 1. The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend – I always love Santat’s style, but with Beekle I think he’s really elevated his game, for the reasons very eloquently expressed in earlier comments.
    2. Viva Frida
    3. Gravity
    4. The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus
    5. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

  27. Hi Robin,
    I am new to these comments, so I’m not sure how to reply directly to your reply to my top five (confused a bit??). To answer your question, I should start by saying that it was so easy to select Iridescence of Birds and The Farmer and The Clown. From my first read-through, they have always been my favorites.
    I do not own Have You Seen My Dragon? and do not have it right in front of me, but I was drawn to the detail of the illustrations. I also like Steve Light’s story of thinking that the steam from sewers in NYC was coming from dragons living under the city. It just made me feel that the illustrations showed a deep love of the city. The illustrations and story seem child-friendly, and by that I mean that I can see children poring over this book.
    Nana and the City was another early favorite, and then I forgot about it for awhile. I recently re-visited it and appreciate the relationship between illustration and text. I enjoy everything that Lauren Castillo produces, but feel that these illustrations really highlight the emotion and relationship in the story.
    Sebastian and the Balloon has a dreamy quality. The story is a little off-kilter and jumpy, just like my dreams. The illustrations also have a dreamy quality, and I love the colors.
    I am writing this in a rush, and really do not feel that I am doing these books justice, but I hope it gives you a little insight to my selections.
    This is fun, and I hope to contribute (more thoughtfully) in the future. 🙂

  28. I would like to put in some strong agreement with those on this thread who love THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE by Dan Santat. He had the kids eating out of his hands in 2013 with CRANKENSTEIN and I have to concur with Amanda when she says he has “elevated his game.”

    I just yesterday came upon another book, BLUE ON BLUE by Dianne White and Caldecott Medalist Beth Krommes that is wholly ravishing. I completely understand why Martha recently likened 2014 as memorable a year for children’s list as 2013. 🙂

  29. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to share our favorites. There are so many wonderful books again this year!

    My top five are listed below. And if you only look at ONE of these, take a look at A DANCE LIKE STARLIGHT: ONE BALLERINA”S DREAM written by Kristy Dempsey and illustrated by Floyd Cooper. A tribute to dancer Janet Collins, the lyrical text stirs the readers’ soul and prompts them to never give up on their dreams. And Cooper’s illustrations? It’s Floyd Cooper! The art is soft and subtle and it evokes the dreamy nature of the text.
    A truly, truly wonderful book.

    My list:
    1. A DANCE LIKE STARLIGHT: ONE BALLERINA’S DREAM, by Kristy Dempsey, illus. Floyd Cooper
    2. LITTLE ELLIOT, BIG CITY, by Mike Curato
    3. EXTRAORDINARY JANE, by Hannah E. Harrision
    4. MAPLE, by Lori Nichols
    5. BREATHE, by Scott Magoon

  30. Victoria Stapleton says:

    Hi Robin,

    A copy of BEEKLE is on its way to you ASAP.

  31. I can’t shake the feeling that we’re all missing something that’s flying so under the radar this year. What is it?! I don’t know! I don’t envy this year’s committee either. Stellar, stellar year for kids and the rest of us grownups.

    In no particular order:

    1. The Iridescence of Birds
    2. Josephine
    3. The Farmer and the Clown
    4. The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
    5. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

    (Actually, just kidding. I think that is my order. Josephine and Matisse would have to arm wrestle for the top spot.)

    With super sad apologies to Melissa Sweet and Sergio Ruzzier. Love that Leo!

  32. A DANCE LIKE STARLIGHT is a true masterpiece!!!!! 🙂

  33. Brenda Martin says:

    Carter, I’m with you that we may be missing something that’s flying under the radar this year. I feel like a lot of the lists I’ve read are becoming a bit of an echo chamber – which, on one hand could be that most of us have actually narrowed down the very best 20-30 books of the year. Or, we are cribbing from each other’s lists and nodding in agreement a little TOO much.

  34. Jennifer R. says:

    1. Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold
    2. The Iridescence of Birds
    3. Same and Dave Dig a Hole
    4. Viva Frida
    5. Gaston

  35. Chelsea CS says:

    I’m not sure how I would rank these yet but here are my top five:

    Extraordinary Jane
    Brother Hugo and the Bear
    Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
    The Farmer and the Clown
    Grandfather Gandhi

    Extraordinary Jane and Brother Hugo are two of my most memorable reads of the year that haven’t earned much attention yet. Schindler’s take on illuminated manuscripts really impressed me, particularly when combined with Beebe’s text. That title as a whole makes medieval manuscript history amazingly accessible and engaging, and the illustrations are full of humor and wonderful detail while also providing a visual example of what the story is about. Jane is just an exceptional package. Harrison’s incredibly realistic paintings provide oodles of character as well as a wonderfully-realized circus setting, and it all meshes perfectly with the text’s overall message of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. I’ll stop there, but those are probably my top two for the year.

  36. That’s why I brought up A DANCE LIKE STARLIGHT. It’s such a fantastic book, and I don’t want anyone to miss it!.

  37. And I’m surprised not to see anyone mention David Soman’s THREE BEARS IN A BOAT.

  38. I’m helping with a local Mock Caldecott this year, so I feel like I’ve actually read (and thought hard about) a decent number of possible books this year!

    My top 3 are definitely:

    The other two are harder – I’ll throw some love at:

    *When I read this in May I said (not so eloquently): “Part dragon hunt, part counting book, all fabulous. The endpapers are a map of the boy’s route, items to count stand out in colorful contrast to the pen and ink illustrations, the perspective shifts in fun ways, and there are fun bonus pictures hidden under the dust jacket (attention to detail!)”

  39. Disclaimer: I haven’t read all of the contenders – or most of them – but I’m partial to BAD BYE, GOOD BYE.

  40. 1. The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
    2. Viva Frida
    3. Flight School
    4. Following Papa’s Song
    5. Have You Heard the Nesting Bird?

  41. Oh, so difficult! But:

    1. The Farmer and the Clown
    2. The Right Word
    3. Winter Bees
    4. Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
    5. Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

  42. Ha, yet another masterful book, BAD BYE GOODBYE that ranks among my favorites!!! 🙂 Who can blame you for being partial towards it?

  43. Katy, speaking for myself, I confess I am not a big fan of THREE BEARS IN A BOAT. But I have always though I was the problem. I well remember that Elizabeth Bird had originally said that it was the book to beat months back. And heck, for all we know it may still be. But it has left me distinctly underwhelmed. My wife however, disagrees with me. She is a big bear lover, though I rather like one aspect of that taste. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  44. If I might say so this is a fabulous discussion here of BROTHER HUGO AND THE BEAR – one of the best picture books of the year. 🙂

    GRANDFATHER GANDHI seriously contends for my own top spot.

    Love your ballot!

  45. 1. Draw
    2. Iridescence of Birds
    3. Gravity
    4. Following Papa’s Song
    5. Bad Bye, Good Bye

  46. The 2014 Caldecott celebration seems destined to go on for a while yet!!!

    Bob Shea and Lane Smith deserved to be honored guests for this utterly fantastic and sublime KID SHERIFF AND THE TERRIBLE TOADS, which also belongs on the best lists. But I know Horn Book is already on to this and will be soon be banging on the drums! Can’t wait. 🙂

  47. OK, here goes:
    1) This One Summer
    2) Harlem Hellfighters
    3) The Right Word
    4) Hug Machine
    5) Josephine

  48. Susan Dailey says:

    Not sure of the order (and there are several books that I’ve not studied closely), but here are my five.

    Farmer and the Clown
    Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
    Bad Bye, Good Bye
    Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold

  49. In no particular order:

    The Right Word
    Nana in the City
    Grandfather Gandhi
    The Farmer and the Clown
    Winter Bees

    We’re sold out of both Viva Frida and Iridescence of Birds, so I haven’t been able to read them!

  50. – Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
    – Bad Bye, Good Bye
    – Draw!
    – The Farmer and the Clown

  51. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Thanks Beth! My copy of Draw is an umbound copy which has fallen apart. I need to revisit as soon as possible.

  52. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    I will write about Beekle soon. I want to read it to my students before I form my thoughts. Thanks for the nudge!

  53. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    It would be fun to know your nonfiction choices, but totally understand. You and the SIbert people have a lot of good books to consider! I haven’t seen Grandfather’s Coat. Will remedy that soon enough, though!

  54. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Just read Winter Bees aloud at my book club. A hit, for sure.

  55. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Your list is eerily similar to one of mine. Are we sharing a brain?

  56. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Reading Beekle aloud tomorrow to my class. Let’s see how it goes. I love his work.

  57. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Thanks–it’s really hard to answer here, I know. It makes talking hard sometimes! Thanks for answering me, especially about Have you Seen My Dragon? I am giving it another go.

  58. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Have not seen Blue on Blue. I see it was published on December 9. AAAAARRGGH. Must find it.

  59. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Katy D–
    Maybe you have found the books we have all been worried about missing! I have not seen BREATHE beyond a quick read at the booths, so I will take another look.

  60. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Well, that’s exciting!!

  61. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Someone just read BAD BYE, GOOD BY aloud at my book group. I loved it. I hope the Geisel Committee looks closely at it too. A perfect book for new readers, among other readers!

  62. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Love Little Melba! What a joyful book.

  63. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    This One Summer, the graphic novel that I have not read? (Is that the book you are referring to?)

    I love Harlem Hellfighters, but I think it is an illustrated book rather than a picture book. (One old lady’s opinion)
    Hug Machine won hearts in my book club tonight. And you know how I love Josephine and The Right Word.

  64. Yes, a LOT of good ones. We’re so lucky, seriously. And yes, you’ll have to take a look at My Grandfather’s Coat, which is super duper charming.

  65. I *LOVE* This One Summer, but aren’t the Tamakis Canadian?

  66. Robin, Yes, This One Summer is the graphic novel you absolutely must read (wearing your CC hat or not). And, Sam, Jillian lives in Brookyln. Groundwood released it in Canada and First Second released it in the US. It looks eligible to me.
    As to the picture book vs. illustrated book question, I’d double down on a Harlem Hellfighters nomination just to have that discussion! I’d want to talk about how a picture book for teens functions differently from a picture book for preschoolers. And, at least from where I’m sitting, it functions as a picture book in just the same way as something like Winter Bees.
    This is gonna be great!

  67. Bad Bye, Good Bye.

    I’m ashamed to say I’d forgotten about it momentarily, since it was something like a March release.

    Brilliant what Bean does in that book.

    I’m not furthering the conversation here, but I just have to add that.

  68. WINTER BEES is the only of my 5 nominations that I have not used with the first grade class I visit. It was the book I used as a gift to several friends this Christmas!

  69. Amen, Jules.

  70. Paula Guiler says:

    In my district, we do a Mock Caldecott exercise with our K-5 students and a smattering of Middle Schoolers. We librarians narrow our list down to 10 (we did that last Friday-early, I know!) and share our picks with students through the end of January, when we vote. This year, many of my top choices didn’t make the cut. The district list is:
    Baby Bear
    Where’s Mommy?
    Elizabeth, the Queen…
    My teacher is a monster
    Have you seen my dragon?
    The right word
    Sam and Dave
    Aviary Wonders

    My list would have included the following 5:
    Irisdescence of birds
    The right word
    Viva Frida
    Harlem Hellfighters
    Grandfather Gandhi

  71. In no particular order and under duress to pick only 5!
    Viva Frida It’s such a beautiful book with a wonderful message.
    The Right Word The artwork added so much to the interesting story
    Gaston I’m in love with those puppies and their mommies.
    Forget Me Not The detail in the art added such a sweetness to the sad tale.
    Sam and Dave Dig a Hole I liked it but didn’t LOVE it however every kid I’ve shared it with (6 year old, 10 year old and my Mock Caldecott group of 7th graders) LOVE it.

  72. Yes, Jillian Tamaki lives in Brooklyn and thus qualifies by virtue of residence (just as fellow Canadian Jon Klassen does). No?

    I, too, am perplexed at why Harlem Hellfighters is an illustrated book whereas Firefly July and Winter Bees are picture books. Please clarify!

  73. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:


    Sorry, these comments don’t nest.

    It’s for the committee to decide if a book is an illustrated book or a picture book and it’s in deliberations that that will happen. For me, Harlem Hellfighters is a book where the pictures create a feeling and the words do too, but it is all very hard to follow as a story with an arc. The book worked better after I did more research on the Hellfighters. I actually knew a fair amount of the history before I read the book and I am completely amazed by the illustrations–I just think they feel like individual paintings, not like a picture book. Could be just me, of course.

    There is more of an arc to the two poetry books you mentioned and I would love to be in the room when the committee discusses these. They will hash out whether those two are picture books or not.

  74. I posted this on ccbc-net, but might as well repost it here. These comments are not just about the illustrations, however. I can’t do top 5. Too uninformed.

    >> I don’t get to see a whole lot of what’s being published any more (so sad), but I have sought out a few picture books to satisfy my craving. One of my absolute favorites is THE IRIDESCENCE OF BIRDS, which several of you have already mentioned. Why? I love everything about it: the conditional tense, the question posed, the details of Matisse’s early life, the way color intrudes into a grey landscape (that beautiful grey-blue of the first double-page spread!). I love that it’s a question, as so much about creativity always will be–the mystery. That we can’t know everything. I love the way white space is used and how it becomes gradually eclipsed, though never disappears. I love the poetry of the language, with each word carrying its weight so perfectly. I love the relationship between mother and child and the general sunniness of the book, which contrasts with the given setting. I love how the gutter divides child from man. It’s just a wonder, the whole book. A picture book that depends on the interplay between words and text. Love.

    For me, THE IRIDESCENCE OF BIRDS opens up the form of the picture book biography, yet it can never be copied. I struggle with this form myself, so that’s undoubtedly part of the reason I love this book so much.

  75. I am the volunteer librarian at my daughters’ K-5 school. The library does NOT get a lot of love and support from the administration, and even the teachers who love it are pressed for time. However, I’m making our first attempt at a mock Caldecott this year. I picked our 10 nominees based on personal preference and online buzz, as I haven’t read all of them. I also wanted some diversity of subjects, genre, illustrators, wordless v. not wordless (wordful?). Of course, those are all factors that the committee is not supposed to consider. But my goals are a bit different. Here is my list, in no particular order:

    The Right Word
    The Iridescence of Birds
    Nana in the City
    The Scraps Book
    A Dance Like Starlight
    Brother Hugo and the Bear
    Viva Frida!

  76. Thom; This One Summer is fantastic and a must read but Caldecott??? that’s surprising me. I was thinking more on Printz. It doesn’t even fit into Middle Grade. So I wonder about Caldecott. Just a great book…

  77. Sherry, I don’t know that I agree. I LOVE the idea of a Caldecott/Printz overlap. YALSA begins at age 12, and ALSC goes up to 14. In her post about All Different Now Robin talked eloquently about the unfortunate practice of dismissing books with African American subject matter, “leaving” them for the Coretta Scott King Award. I think the same applies here. Sure, the Printz Committee can look at This One Summer but that doesn’t mean that the Caldecott Committee shouldn’t. And I have no problem thinking about it as a book for (some) 12-14 year olds.

  78. Am I alone in my indifference to Brother Hugo and the Bear? I expected wonderful things, but while the illustrations were lovely the plot felt like a one trick pony that did not bear repeat reading.
    While I was pleased with the illustrations I was underwhelmed by the story completely.

  79. Margaret Kensinger-Klopfer says:

    Is The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires not eligible for the Caldecott Medal? I am really surprised that this book didn’t make anyone’s best books lists. This was one of my favorite!
    I loved the narrative arc was wonderful, cleverly and completely intertwined with the clever illustrations.

  80. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    I have not seen that book, but it was published by Kids Can Press, which usually publishes Canadian writers. SO, I did a little sleuthing and found out that she IS Canadian and lives in Canada. But now I want to see that book!
    Thanks for letting us know.

  81. Barb Outside Boston says:

    It is a wonderful book that one of the schools in my district is using as part of a yearly theme of perseverance.

  82. sam leopold says:

    Five I like…..


  83. These are my 2nd graders top 5 … it was a grueling selection process!!

    Viva Frida
    Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
    Hug Machine
    Shh We Have a Plan

  84. Sam Bloom says:

    Okay, sorry if this is a weird place to hide this, but I wanted to get the info out there. So here it is.

    Yesterday (January 8) children’s service professionals from the Lane Libraries, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, and assorted folks from both Northern Kentucky and the Dayton metro area held a Mock Caldecott. We discussed 25 books, and yes I really am going to list them all:

    MY BUS – written and ill. by Byron Barton
    THE BABY TREE – written and ill. by Sophie Blackall
    A BOY AND A JAGUAR – ill. by Catia Chien, written by Alan Rabinowitz
    GRAVITY – written and ill. by Jason Chin
    DRAW! – ill. by Raul Colon
    A DANCE LIKE STARLIGHT – ill. by Floyd Cooper, written by Kristy Dempsey
    THE SCRAPS BOOK – written and ill. by Lois Ehlert
    ASHLEY BRYAN’S PUPPETS – photo. by Rich Entel, written by Ashley Bryan
    THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN – ill. by Marla Frazee
    THE NOISY PAINT BOX – ill. by Mary GrandPre, written by Barbara Rosenstock
    MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH – ill. by Kevin Hawkes, written by Anne Isaacs
    MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST – ill. by Steve Jenkins, written by Jennifer Ward
    ALL DIFFERENT NOW – ill. by E.B. Lewis, written by Angela Johnson
    THIS IS A MOOSE – ill. by Tom Lichtenheld, written by Richard T. Morris
    BREATHE – written and ill. by Scott Magoon
    MY GRANDFATHER’S COAT – ill. by Barbara McClintock, written by Jim Aylesworth
    VIVA FRIDA – written and ill. by Yuyi Morales, photo. by Tim O’Meara
    FIREBIRD – ill. by Christopher Myers, written by Misty Copeland
    THE COSMO-BIOGRAPHY OF SUN RA – written and ill. by Chris Raschka
    JOSEPHINE – ill. by Christian Robinson, written by Patricia Hruby Powell
    THE PILOT AND THE LITTLE PRINCE – written and ill. by Peter Sis
    KID SHERIFF AND THE TERRIBLE TOADS – ill. by Lane Smith, written by Bob Shea
    THREE BEARS IN A BOAT – written and ill. by David Soman
    THE RIGHT WORD – ill. by Melissa Sweet, written by Jen Bryant
    SEPARATE IS NEVER EQUAL – written and ill. by Duncan Tonatiuh

    We separated into ten groups, with each group voting for their three favorites (just like members of the Real Committee do). Amazingly enough, 13 of the 25 titles received votes… but based on the point system used by the Real Committee, the results were as follows:

    WINNER: The Farmer and the Clown
    HONORS: Draw!; The Noisy Paintbox; Viva Frida!

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