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When’s My Birthday?

Here’s a book that was a big hit in the Horn Book office from the start, so I feel lucky to get to write about it here. It’s told by a soon-to-be six-year-old (perhaps; or perhaps by multiple children) anticipating a birthday. Julie Fogliano’s verse in all lower-case letters and minimal punctuation demands to be read […]

Calling CaldeNott

For years I’ve been running a Mock CaldeNott, in various contexts, applying the Caldecott terms and criteria to books ineligible for the Medal itself because their illustrator is not American. Even as I type this, I can hear my friend (and fellow Calling Caldecott guest blogger) Elisa Gall shouting, “But it’s not a mock — it’s […]

Good Night, Planet

Good Afternoon, (Picture Book) Planet! I have to say that one of the best moments of this Calling Caldecott season was realizing that Argentine artist Liniers is currently a Vermont resident, making his comic book story Good Night, Planet eligible for Caldecott consideration. (Helps a bit with the disappointment of not being able to cover the brilliant Written […]

Mock Caldecotts 2018

Know what I miss the most about school librarianship, other than story times? Mock Caldecotts. This is the time of year for them, and I love to read about the educators out there who talk to students about the 2017 picture books they love, delve into detailed discussions about them, and prep them for mock-voting in early […]

A Perfect Day

Lane Smith’s A Perfect Day was released early this year (February) and is a book that has made an appearance on multiple Caldecott prediction lists throughout the year. It’s a story that, from a pedagogical point of view (I was trained as a school librarian, so I can’t help it), works well to demonstrate point […]

Grand Canyon

Pity the artistic endeavors of the too-effectively creative, for they are the ones most easily ignored. It isn’t much of a stretch to say that in the field of nonfiction, Jason Chin may be one of our most epic and inspiring grand masters. If he writes about trees, he doesn’t limit himself to the odd […]

The New York Times Best Illustrated List

I look forward every year to the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books. Move over, hot cocoa with marshmallows. The announcement of this list is my very favorite thing about fall. The 2017 titles were announced yesterday. This is the first year the NYT has joined forces with the New York Public Library, and they’ve even […]

Why the Hell Hasn’t Photography Won the Caldecott?!?

Today on Calling Caldecott, a conversation between Elisa Gall and Jonathan Hunt about photography as a medium. Say cheese. –J.D. ELISA GALL: So, last I checked with ALSC Youth Media Awards aficionado K.T. Horning, a photographic picture book has yet to receive Caldecott recognition. There have been books with photographic elements, like Knuffle Bunny (2005 Honor) […]

The Secret Project

Here’s a book with lots of starred reviews — and lots of controversy. What will the Caldecott committee make of that? Some will be reading every review and blog post they can find about each of their nominated books, while others will stay away from social media and review journals all year. While it might […]

Little Fox in the Forest

On a bitterly cold January evening, a friend gave me a stack of ARCs of soon-to-be-released picture books. I meant to read them during the next day’s planning period at school, but the day got away from me and it wasn’t until near the end of the school day that I had a few minutes […]