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.

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

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One thing the members of the Caldecott Committee are looking for each time they open a new box is the wonderful feeling of New. When I was on the committee, whenever I opened a Caldecott box, I would feel the burden of The Same. A book would remind me of another book. The illustrations would […]

Drum Dream Girl


I love a story that I have never heard before. Enter Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music, which tells, in the simplest language, the story of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga. It does not surprise me that I had not heard of one little girl in Cuba; what surprised me was that girls were […]

Review of James to the Rescue!

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James to the Rescue! [Masterpiece Adventures] by Elise Broach; illus. by Kelly Murphy Primary   Ottaviano/Holt   104 pp. 10/15   978-1-62779-316-2   $15.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-62779-317-9   $9.99 There is something universally compelling about little critters having their own world, mostly hidden from adults (witness the staying power of the Littles, the Borrowers, and the Doll People), and […]



Is that Peter (of Ezra Jack Keats fame) on the cover of Daniel Miyares’s Float? Might be. There is something inviting about the cover of this gentle wordless book, isn’t there? Slip off the jacket and be wowed by the case cover — a newspaper boat floating off to the right and into the sun. The […]

Border Crossing 101


  Some of you know that I am not a librarian and have never worked in publishing. And if you didn’t know before, you do now. That’s why I have to depend on others to explain the history and traditions of the ALA book awards. I simply don’t get them. There is nothing that makes […]

A Fine Dessert


Biscuits. Cobblers. Sweets. Dessert. Those are my favorite things to cook. When I saw that Sophie Blackall had illustrated a book about a dessert, I was on it. The book starts and ends with blackberries — literally. Blackall squished them into a paste and used it to paint the muted endpapers. The endpapers’ purple and […]

The Book List


Thanks to all for chiming in with suggestions! We’ve incorporated them into our own thinking and have come up with the following list of titles we plan to cover this fall. There will probably be additions as the season unfolds. For instance, we are still tracking down a copy of the suggested In a Village […]

Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: How many books do you read when you are a member of the actual Caldecott committee? A: It varies from year to year, but I think it would be safe to say that between 200 and 400 books are submitted. Some submissions are clearly not eligible (for instance, novels with no illustration, or books […]

We’re baaack!


I am not going to lie. The heat here in Nashville makes me crazy this time of year. It’s September, people. Time for cool weather and Calling Caldecott! We have been collecting picture books, dusting off our Caldecott Manual, and getting serious. For those of you who are new to us, welcome. For those returning, […]

James E. Ransome on Granddaddy’s Turn

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In our July/August issue, reviewer Robin Smith asked James Ransome about the challenge of illustrating difficult subject matter — specifically, voting disenfranchisement — for picture-book readers in Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box. Read the full review of Granddaddy’s Turn here. Robin Smith: How do you convey the seriousness and emotion of your […]