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“Does photographic illustration get its due?”

It’s the off-season, folks! So this HUGE question will not be addressed here and now. (Sorry for the bait-and-switch.) However, I wanted to draw your attention to the fact that, over on 100 Scope Notes, Travis Jonker is on the case. Last week he showcased a bunch of new fiction picture books whose medium is photography in his blog post “The State of Photographic Illustration in 2017.” It’s interesting because there’s quite a range of what qualifies as “photographic illustration” represented: straightforward nature photographs illustrating an animal story; 3D scenes created intentionally for the book and then photographed; background photographs with traditionally drawn characters in the forefront. As Travis reminds us, no book using photographs as its sole medium has ever won the Caldecott. But — as we have learned over the past few years — never say never. A picture book won the 2016 Newbery; a graphic novel for older readers was awarded a 2015 Caldecott Honor. I can’t imagine that this particular barrier won’t fall, eventually. And if any 2017 picture books with photographic illustrations rise to the top, we’ll discuss them here in the fall.


Martha V. Parravano About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.



  1. Roger Sutton Roger Sutton says:

    This is among the most intriguing examples of “why hasn’t an x won a y” questions.

  2. Eric Carpenter says:

    yup. right up there with:
    “Why hasn’t Steig won a Wilder?”

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