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Time to Get This Party Started

If I wasn’t separated by a little over a thousand miles from Martha and Lolly, I’d give them high-fives right about now, because it’s finally time, you all. It’s time to pave the way for the list of 2017 picture books we’ll be discussing here on Calling Caldecott.

Martha, Lolly, and I are working on a list of books the three of us would like to discuss (to be posted later this week). We will also reach out, as previously mentioned, to the guest posters we plan to invite into the discussions to keep things fresh and to ensure a wide range of diverse voices.

But what we want to do first is ask you, Calling Caldecott readers, which books you would like to see discussed here in our little corner of cyberspace. Have you been keeping up with picture books this year? Which ones are your favorites? Which books do you deem the most outstanding?

Remember that ALA’s Association for Library Service to Children, which awards the Caldecott, is looking for the most “distinguished” picture book, and they define this as:

  1. Marked by eminence and distinction; noted for significant achievement.
  2. Marked by excellence in quality.
  3. Marked by conspicuous excellence or eminence.
  4. Individually distinct.

We must also remember — and it’s so hard, have mercy, when we see a book like this  that the award is given to American picture books, meaning books published here in the U.S. (though if they are published simultaneously in the U.S. and another country, they are eligible). And the illustrator (though not the author) must be a citizen or resident of the United States.

So, what do you think? Please do tell us in the comments. We want to hear from you.

Let’s do this!

Julie Danielson About Julie Danielson

Julie Danielson writes about picture books at the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. She also writes for Kirkus Reviews and BookPage and is a lecturer for the School of Information Sciences graduate program at the University of Tennessee. Her book Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, written with Betsy Bird and Peter D. Sieruta, was published in 2014.



  1. My favorites so far:

    Full of Fall (April Pulley Sayre)–are photographs eligible?

    Now (Antoinette Portis)

    A Perfect Day (Lane Smith)

    Blue Sky, White Stars (Kadir Nelson)

    Big Cat, Little Cat (Elisha Cooper)

    Over and Under the Pond (author: Kate Messner; illustrator:Christopher Silas Neal)

  2. Thanks, Jennifer!

    And, yes, photography is most certainly eligible. The question is, though, does it get its due? This is a question Martha briefly addressed earlier this year, primarily pointing to a post by Travis Jonker: Martha wrote: “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. ”

    Maybe we can discuss that this year here at Calling Caldecott.

  3. Eric Carpenter says:

    Off the top of my head I’d same my current favorites are:
    Dazzle Ships
    Creepy Pair of Underwear
    The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse
    After the Fall
    Wolves in the Snow

  4. Jules–I’ve often had Helen Frost’s photographic books on my Caldecott lists–photography is an art and storytelling technique just as much as illustration is, and it’s a shame that it hasn’t been recognized as such by award committees. Now that graphic novels have been recognized, perhaps photography is next!

  5. Eric, thanks for weighing in.

    Jennifer: Hear! Hear!

  6. Matt Bowers says:

    So far, my favorites of what I’ve read are:
    The Book of Mistakes – Luyken
    The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling – Ering
    Triangle – Klassen (Barnett)
    The Secret Project – Winter (Winter)

  7. Brian E. Wilson says:

    Wolf in the Snow-Matthew Cordell
    The Ring Bearer-Floyd Cooper, and Where’s Rodney? also illustrated by Floyd Cooper
    I second A Perfect Day-Lane Smith and Black Cat, White Cat-Elisha Cooper
    Out of Wonder-illustrated by Ekua Holmes (even though one could argue it’s an illustrated book, not a picture book)
    All the Way to Havana-ill. by Mike Curato
    The Antlered Ship–ill. by The Fan Brothers (both born in the US)
    Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut-ill. by Gordon C. James
    The Boy and the Whale-Mordicai Gerstein
    Life-ill. by Brendan Wenzel
    I second After the Fall-Dan Santat

  8. Kazia Berkley-Cramer says:

    The Book of Mistakes definitely tops my list this year. I’m so hoping y’all will post about it!

  9. I second/third
    All the Way to Havana– Curato
    The Antlered Ship–Fan Brothers

    I’m very excited about two books from authors who split their time between countries:
    Danza– Duncan Tonatiuh
    Here We Are–Oliver Jeffers (out in Nov)

  10. This Beautiful Day
    Wolf in the Snow
    also loved All the Way to Havana and Now
    A few books I haven’t seen yet but I’m betting I will love:
    A Boy, A Mouse, and a Spider
    Grandmother Thorn

  11. Thanks, all!

    Jill, sadly, Suzy Lee is ineligible for this award.

    And I’m unsure about Oliver Jeffers’ eligibility. I thought I knew this. I think I need more coffee today.

    More soon!

  12. Brian E. Wilson says:

    I know, I know! I too am seriously bummed that Suzy Lee cannot be considered for This Beautiful Day. My other heartbreaker: Sydney Smith’s beautiful work for the Boston Globe-Horn Book honor recipient Town Is by the Sea isn’t eligible. : (

  13. O. Jeffers currently resides in NY but spends time in Norther Ireland as well–would he not be eligible? I really hope he is.

  14. One of the great joys of becoming a bookseller (at Portland’s legendary indie Annie Blooms) is my growing awareness of small, regional, and academic presses. I have seen some really interesting picture books from new presses.

    Here are two small press titles that have really distinctive visual styles that I’d love to see get some attention. TOLLY by Maryanna Hoggatt is the author/creator’s first picture book and the first offering by Portland press Overcup. It is to my thinking the style of photographic book most likely to win a Newbery. Hoggatt creates stunning puppets stages them in elaborate settings and photographs them. It’s quite stunning to see the depth of attention to detail in her work.

    The other is LIZABETH LOU GOT A ROCK IN HER SHOE by Troy Howell, illustrated by Kathryn Car and is published by Ripple Grove Press. It’s also a photographic book. Here the images are derived from cut paper, arranged in a 3-D scene, carefully lit and photographed. The books has a retro feel with it’s sepia tones but I’ve only ever seen one other book working in this particular cut and sculpted paper form– last year’s wordless gem The Snow Rabbit by a French artist so not eligible but clearly one of the most artful books of the year.

    I hope you will give these books a look and also I hope we will all look beyond the big publishing houses and at least consider some of the gems of the small press world.

  15. I need to read a lot more but…

    “Grand Canyon” illustrated by Jason Chin (partly because…die cuts!!)
    “Tony” illustrated by Erin Stead

  16. Thanks again to everyone.

    Rosanne, we’ll do our best to find books from smaller pubs. I know that, in my own blogging/writing, that’s very important to me, though I’m not sure I’ve seen those two yet.

  17. Hi Julie,

    Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin is my favorite picture book, so far, this year. It is a beautifully illustrated book with a lovely wordless story!

  18. Sam Juliano says:

    My dozen favorites in no particular order so far, though there are a number yet to release I still need to see:

    Wolf in the Snow (Matthew Cordell)
    The Secret Project (Winter and Winter)
    A Perfect Day (Lane Smith)
    Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets (Ikua Holmes)
    The Seashore Book (Zolotow; Wendell Minor)
    Tony (Erin E. Stead)
    The Antlered Ship (Fan Brothers)
    How to Be a Bigger Bunny (Florence and Wendell Minor)
    Life on Mars
    Wake Up! (Helen Frost and Rick Lieder)
    How to Be an Elephant (Katherine Roy)
    Life (Brendan Wenzel)

    Life Brian E. Wilson above I mourn the ineligibility of Town is By the Sea, and was so happy it scored big at the Boston-Horn Book Awards.

  19. Kim: Our list went up today, but we will remember your suggestion! Sam: Ditto!

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