The Horn Book » Calling Caldecott http://www.hbook.com Publications about books for children and young adults Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:24:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 #we need diverse (picture) books http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/calling-caldecott/need-diverse-picture-books/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/calling-caldecott/need-diverse-picture-books/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:00:39 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40862 Of course we do. Last year’s amazing crop of picture books included those illustrated by artists of color such as Yuyi Morales, Brian Pinkney, Jerry Pinkney, Angela Dominguez, Bryan Collier, Don Tate, and Kadir Nelson. This year we will see picture books illustrated by Christian Robinson (two of ‘em), Yuyi Morales, Raul Colon, Duncan Tonatiuh, Jason Chin, Susan […]

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little melba 300x248 #we need diverse (picture) booksOf course we do. Last year’s amazing crop of picture books included those illustrated by artists of color such as Yuyi Morales, Brian Pinkney, Jerry Pinkney, Angela Dominguez, Bryan Collier, Don Tate, and Kadir Nelson. This year we will see picture books illustrated by Christian Robinson (two of ‘em), Yuyi Morales, Raul Colon, Duncan Tonatiuh, Jason Chin, Susan Guevara, E.B. Lewis, Kadir Nelson, John Holyfield, Pat Cummings, James Ransome….and Christopher Myers and Frank Morrison….and more? I’m not even counting the many international artists who aren’t eligible for the Caldecott. (And my off-the-cuff list also doesn’t take into consideration books like Grandfather Gandhi, not illustrated by a person of color, but featuring diverse characters.)

I don’t know if it’s the raised awareness surrounding last spring’s #weneeddiversebooks campaign or whether in truth the numbers are growing, but it feels like there is a tiny bit more representation this year, at least among the books I’ve seen, and certainly among the ones that are currently rising toward the top of my admire-it pile: Josephine; Draw!; Viva Frida; Separate Is Never Equal; Little Roja Riding Hood. More women, more illustrators of color — although the numbers for that particular overlap are still insupportably low. And although, of course, we still have a lonnnng way to go.

It somehow feels too tentative to make any pronouncements. I think Sam Bloom summed up my cautious optimism in his comment on Robin’s Monday post:

“Of course, this brings me to the single biggest issue I see in the picture book world, which has definitely been publicized well of late: the need for more diverse characters. Of course, there are comparatively few authors/illustrators of color to begin with, another well-known fact. It seems to be getting a bit better – I’ve noticed quite a few REALLY strong books by or about people of color this year – but I wonder if it truly IS better, or maybe it’s just the fact that I’m paying close attention to the situation so it seems like more.”

What are you seeing? Are you sensing some movement toward more diversity in this year’s picture books? Does anyone have any numbers to back up (or refute) my admittedly highly anecdotal experience? Equally crucially — is the actual Caldecott committee noticing the strength and award-worthiness of these titles?

 

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Now you know what we think http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/calling-caldecott/now-know-think/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/calling-caldecott/now-know-think/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:00:08 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40821 So, now you know where the three of us are in September. I wonder where we will be in January? Now that Lolly, Martha, and I know one another’s favorites, we will put our schedule together and start yapping about books soon. Go through our three lists here, here and here if you want a hint […]

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So, now you know where the three of us are in September.

I wonder where we will be in January? Now that Lolly, Martha, and I know one another’s favorites, we will put our schedule together and start yapping about books soon. Go through our three lists here, here and here if you want a hint as to which books we are likely to discuss in the coming months. There will be many more, of course, as new books are published right through November and December; these will all be considered by the real committee, and we don’t want to miss a thing. We are going to do our best NOT to talk about books until you can actually find them in bookstores. (Speaking of bookstores — if you are lucky enough to have a local one, get your tush to that store and buy some of these titles! Your library will have a lot of them, but October and November books are going to be tough to find there.)

We have combed the comments so far and will discuss some of the books you guys have suggested, though we will never be able to discuss all of them. So, take a day or two to keep the suggestions coming! It’s especially helpful if you add a sentence or two to explain why you think a particular title should end up with a shiny sticker in January.

Besides talking about individual titles, we will also be discussing issues we see in the picture book world. Is there an issue or concern stuck in your craw that you want us to tackle? Make that suggestion in the comments as well. We do like to talk about Serious Picture Book Issues, but we don’t always know what issues concern you most.

So make suggestions, and we will shuffle our papers, toss the dice, and get chatting about Caldecott possibilities.

And just to add an air of panic to my fear of missing something, here is a list from HuffPo. There are titles I haven’t even heard of!

 

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Early days yet http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/early-days/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/early-days/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40644 Hello! Welcome back to all you Calling Caldecott devotees — and welcome to those here for the first time this fall. This is the final post of a week in which Robin, Lolly, and I are making preliminary lists of the picture books eligible for Caldecott recognition that have, early in the process, struck a chord with each of us. Perhaps a book looks like […]

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iridescence 246x300 Early days yetHello! Welcome back to all you Calling Caldecott devotees — and welcome to those here for the first time this fall. This is the final post of a week in which Robin, Lolly, and I are making preliminary lists of the picture books eligible for Caldecott recognition that have, early in the process, struck a chord with each of us. Perhaps a book looks like a definite contender; perhaps it presents something of significance to discuss; perhaps it’s simply a book one of us has fallen in love with. I’m sure you all have seen 2014 picture books that fall into one of those categories! And we hope to hear what they are. (Thanks for all the comments and suggestions so far.)

It’s not surprising that we haven’t listed all the same books; it’s also not surprising that there is substantial overlap. The same thing is likely happening with the actual Caldecott committee, as the members share their own suggestions for potential contenders.

So without further ado, here are some of the books that have caught my eye, my attention, and/or my love icon smile Early days yet so far:

The Farmer and the Clown (Beach Lane) by Marla Frazee. Yes, there is a lot of love for this book in the office, and for good reason. It’s a wordless book with a emotionally resonant story; significant character development; brilliant use of page turns to tell the story and show the passage of time — all achieved solely through pictures.

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus (Eerdmans), illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jen Bryant. In complete contrast: all about words; so many words organically incorporated into Sweet’s controlled-chaos collage illustrations. (Will someone on the committee feel the need to count them all? if so good luck!)

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker (Chronicle) illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Patricia Hruby Powell. A perfect marriage of form and content (ie, it’s dazzling on every level).

Viva Frida (Porter/Roaring Brook) illustrated and written by Yuyi Morales. A wholly original and daring distillation of the creative process; I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say about it.

Draw! (Simon) illustrated by Raul Colon. Very different in setting, palette, and style from last year’s honor book Journey, yet with intriguing similarities.

Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) illustrated by Rick Allen, written by Joyce Sidman. Here it’s a toss-up as to which is stronger, the text or the art; take your pick.

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse (Porter/Roaring Brook) illustrated by Hadley Hooper, written by Patricia MacLachlan. The transformative power of art, made manifest; I love how the art captures the essence of, but doesn’t try to reproduce, Matisse’s work.

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (Candlewick) illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett. A true picture book (text and art working together interdependently) with sustained humor and enormous child appeal.

SUCH a preliminary list. From now on I’ll be busy tracking down the suggestions of my fellow Calling Caldecott bloggers and commenters: discovering new books, adding to the list, comparing and re-weighing and perhaps taking books off the list — just like the actual committee.

 

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Taking stock http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/calling-caldecott/taking-stock/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/calling-caldecott/taking-stock/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40529 Now it’s my turn, and I find myself not quite as ready as I’d like to be. My job here involves looking at every picture book we review in search of the perfect art with which to illustrate the review. This means I have leafed through lots of books but only spent quality time with the […]

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Now it’s my turn, and I find myself not quite as ready as I’d like to be. My job here involves looking at every picture book we review in search of the perfect art with which to illustrate the review. This means I have leafed through lots of books but only spent quality time with the ones I reviewed myself, plus a few more that caught my eye at the time.

So my list today is fairly short, but I expect it to grow in the next few weeks as we all start discussing titles.

Starting at the top, I have a hunch these two books will be on our final ballot:

  • Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, written by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated by Christian Robinson (The art is jazzy, tactile, and grounded. Robinson is a new illustrator to watch.)
  • Viva Frida, written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Just wow. Can’t wait to talk about this one.)

CC robinson twobooks 500x281 Taking stock

These are both picture-book biographies, which tend to present extra challenges since they need to get the facts right while keeping everything visually interesting. But also, the art style needs to reflect the essence of the person the book is about. If the author isn’t going to illustrate the book, it’s up to the editor to choose someone with just the right vibe. I won’t name titles here, but there are a number of well-received picture book biographies with good text and good illustrations that don’t quite work together to illuminate the spirit of their subject.

*Ooof* <– That’s me stepping off the soapbox and getting back on track.

This year doesn’t feel quite as rich in picture book greatness as 2013, but then we still have a few more months. Publishers sometimes time their best books to come out late in the year. Other books I’m eager to discuss here are:

  • Draw! by Raúl Colón (it’s about time for this guy to win the Medal!)
  • Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox, illustrated by Brian Floca (last year’s winner gets on my list by default, even if the new book isn’t as good — but this one is a real charmer)
  • The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee (getting lots of buzz here in the office)
  • Buried Sunlight by Penny Chisholm and Molly Bang, illustrated by Molly Bang (admittedly a long shot, but I want us to discuss it)
  • Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet (of course!)
  • Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Christian Robinson (another title from newcomer-to-watch Robinson)
  • My Bus by Byron Barton (can a book so simple win?)

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Getting to the top shelf http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/calling-caldecott/getting-top-shelf/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/calling-caldecott/getting-top-shelf/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 14:00:39 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40572 Here is the truth of the matter: in less than three months, each individual Caldecott committee member will nominate seven books out of the hundreds he or she has seen this year. It’s kind of a sickening task: either you appreciate SO MANY that you have trouble cutting any out, or you really only have […]

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IMG 4044 225x300 Getting to the top shelfHere is the truth of the matter: in less than three months, each individual Caldecott committee member will nominate seven books out of the hundreds he or she has seen this year. It’s kind of a sickening task: either you appreciate SO MANY that you have trouble cutting any out, or you really only have found a few that make your heart go pitter-patter. I won’t say what kind of year I am having with the 2014 books,  but I am going to limit myself to seven right now. I always fear that I will overwhelm others if I name too many. In no particular order, here are the seven that are on my top shelf right now, either because they really wow me or because I am intrigued by them and want to hear further discussion. (Because I live in mortal fear of Missing Something, I must say that I am waiting on a few books right now, including The Iridescence of Birds, A Letter for Leo, and Nana in the City. I know there are many more to come, so I am clearly hedging my bets here.) (And don’t try to figure out what is on the tiny shelf adjacent to my dining table. It’s one of many shelves, incomprehensible even to me.)

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus (illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jen Bryant)

Separate Is Never Equal (by Duncan Tontatiuh)

Hug Machine (by Scott Campbell)

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom (illustrated by E.B. Lewis, written by Angela Johnson)

The Farmer and the Clown (by Marla Frazee)

Gaston (illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Kelly DiPucchio)

Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads (illustrated by Lane Smith, written by Bob Shea)

I can’t wait to see what Lolly and Martha have in mind right now. Of course our minds will change many, many times over the next few months. I look forward to the roller coaster.

 

 

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Dusting off the blog http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/calling-caldecott/dusting-blog/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/calling-caldecott/dusting-blog/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 14:00:40 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40402 School has started, and you know what that means…yup, we’re baaaack! For me, it means my second graders are getting in the groove, and now it’s time for me to relearn WordPress and try to twist Lolly’s arm for amusing graphics to brighten up the blog. Lolly Robinson, Martha Parravano, and I are going through our […]

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callingcaldecott featherduster 271x288 Dusting off the blogSchool has started, and you know what that means…yup, we’re baaaack! For me, it means my second graders are getting in the groove, and now it’s time for me to relearn WordPress and try to twist Lolly’s arm for amusing graphics to brighten up the blog.

Lolly Robinson, Martha Parravano, and I are going through our stacks of picture books, reading reviews, and trying to figure out a thing or two. First, what in the world is going to win the Caldecott Award this year? Second, how can we get into the hearts and minds of the committee members and figure out how they are managing the boxes of books that are currently invading their homes and taking over every available space?

Here’s how it’s going to go down this year. Pay attention: we are Changing Things Up a bit.

First, each of us is going to post very briefly about what we are seeing that we like. We are not going to put together a definitive list quite yet. Then, what we want from you, smart readers and people of strong opinions, are your suggestions. Tell us what you are loving and why you think the real committee will love your choices as well. We will be reading the comments closely. Lolly, Martha, and I will have a little chat (yes, it’s Project Runway season again!) and proceed from there.

In addition, we will be addressing some issues that we have been thinking about over the last few months, and we’d be happy to know if there is anything you are burning to talk about with us. For example, I know we will be talking about diversity in picture books, the wealth of books from other countries, and the dearth of longer story books. There is a lot more to consider, so chime in with ideas you might like to discuss with us.

We will start writing about specific books in week or so.

Check back in frequently to see which books we think will make some noise in January.

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Mr. Tiger love at last! http://www.hbook.com/2014/06/blogs/lollys-classroom/mr-tiger-love-last/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/06/blogs/lollys-classroom/mr-tiger-love-last/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 14:01:59 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=38080 Readers of Calling Caldecott — and all my students — will understand my joy at hearing the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards announced Saturday. FINALLY some award love for Mr. Tiger Goes Wild! You can read the press release and reviews of the winning books here. We’ll put up photos from the announcement soon and you […]

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brown mr tiger goes wild Mr. Tiger love at last!Readers of Calling Caldecott — and all my students — will understand my joy at hearing the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards announced Saturday. FINALLY some award love for Mr. Tiger Goes Wild!

You can read the press release and reviews of the winning books here. We’ll put up photos from the announcement soon and you can read the tweets here.

Being on the BGHB committee is a unique experience. The judges are responsible for knowing about ALL the children’s books published in a 12-month period, not just picture books or fiction or nonfiction as with the ALA awards. But at the same time, the three-person committee streamlines the process and allows for email discussions and sitting-in-someone’s-living-room discussions that just don’t work with a 15-member committee. Congratulations to judges Nina Lindsay, Claire Gross, and Amy Pattee. Well done!

I hope you will all check out these books and read them over the next few months if you haven’t already. And you should STRONGLY consider coming to the Horn Book at Simmons colloquium in the fall. It’s a one-day conference the day after the BGHB awards and always features the winners and the award judges. Since we only just learned who won, Katrina and Roger are still working on the details, but you can save the date now: October 11, 2014. Here’s a link to last year’s program to give you a general idea. As you can see, it’s a great conference for working teachers — and anyone who loves children’s books.

HBAS Mr. Tiger love at last!

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Worlds collide http://www.hbook.com/2014/03/blogs/calling-caldecott/worlds-collide/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/03/blogs/calling-caldecott/worlds-collide/#respond Wed, 05 Mar 2014 19:20:49 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=35910 Readers of this blog will know exactly why I am linking to this month’s School Library Journal‘s cover story: kudos to Brian Floca, Locomotive, and our own Robin Smith!

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locomotive1 268x300 Worlds collideReaders of this blog will know exactly why I am linking to this month’s School Library Journal‘s cover story: kudos to Brian Floca, Locomotive, and our own Robin Smith!

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Picture Book Fix, the linked-up edition http://www.hbook.com/2014/03/blogs/calling-caldecott/picture-book-fix-linked-edition/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/03/blogs/calling-caldecott/picture-book-fix-linked-edition/#respond Tue, 04 Mar 2014 14:00:44 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=35874 I assume you are all waiting next to your mailbox for the newest Horn Book magazine. It’s ALL ABOUT ILLUSTRATION, people! While you are waiting, here are a few teasers that have been released early for your picture book pleasure. Let me walk you through the digital content while you wait for the whole gorgeous […]

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barton my bus Picture Book Fix, the linked up editionI assume you are all waiting next to your mailbox for the newest Horn Book magazine. It’s ALL ABOUT ILLUSTRATION, people! While you are waiting, here are a few teasers that have been released early for your picture book pleasure. Let me walk you through the digital content while you wait for the whole gorgeous magazine to get to you. 

  • First, here is a link to the last time The Horn Book published a special edition about picture books. The “Studio Views” from 1989 are right here. Isn’t that amazing?
  • Second, this article about design by Jon Scieszka and Molly Leach is being reprinted in the new print edition, too.
  • And right here is a fabulous piece by smart person and frequent Calling Caldecott poster Julie Danielson about media.
  • KT Horning, friend and brilliant reviewer (remember the guest posting on our blog??) has this review of My Bus by Byron Barton for your reading pleasure.
  • Wonder just what it takes to be recognized as a new illustrator? This piece by Shadra Strickland will challenge your assumptions and make you appreciate (and read and buy)  books by new illustrators and by illustrators of color.

Stay warm, check your mailbox, and settle in for some good reading about picture books and their makers.

PS And, in case you missed it, Lolly has a new blog! It’s all about teaching with good books. Join in the discussion right here. 

 

 

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See you soon? http://www.hbook.com/2014/02/blogs/calling-caldecott/see-soon/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/02/blogs/calling-caldecott/see-soon/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 16:59:39 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=35053 It’s been a blast visiting with you over the past few months. At times, we had to scramble to keep up with all the reading and writing, but I hope you all enjoyed the ride with us. Martha, Lolly, and I will pop in over the course of the coming months to let you know […]

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 See you soon?It’s been a blast visiting with you over the past few months. At times, we had to scramble to keep up with all the reading and writing, but I hope you all enjoyed the ride with us.

Martha, Lolly, and I will pop in over the course of the coming months to let you know what we are adding to our personal Caldecott shelves. If you see something YOU think is promising, please leave the title in the comments below. As I say all the time, I have to rely on reviews and recommendations to help make up my potential slate of Caldecott contenders, so don’t be shy!

I have not seen any finished books yet, but I am pretty excited about Lois Ehlert’s newest– The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life. It just got a star in The Horn Book, and Kirkus liked it too. I am a nut for R. Gregory Christie’s illlustrations, so I am also looking forward to seeing the book he did with Carole Boston Weatherford, Sugar Hill: Harlem’s Historic Neighborhood. I did not see it at ALA, so it might not even be a picture book. I don’t care — I have to have it.

I have quite a substantial pile of good-looking books for review, but I will wait to comment until I actually read them.

Thank you for all your recommendations, comments, opinions, and questions. Before long, it will be time to start up our postulating about next year’s crop of Caldecott-eligible books.

 

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