The polls are open!

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Come one, come all. The polls are now open! Here (and in the ballot button above) is your link to the ballot where you can vote until 9 a.m. EST tomorrow (Friday, January 23). We set up the ballot so you will vote for your first, second, and third place books, because that is how […]

Pre-voting instructions…it’s almost time!

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I find it hard to believe that we’re less than two weeks from The Announcement at ALA. It was harder than you might think to put our ballot together — and it will be just as challenging for the folks on the Real Committee to narrow the field and choose the titles they want to consider. […]

The year in review

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What a difference a year makes. Last year’s picture book crop included such a strong group of front runners that it was possible to…no, not predict, but at least anticipate some of the Caldecott choices. This year, it seems to me, the field is WIDE OPEN. And this year’s committee has quite a job in front of them. […]

Bad Bye, Good Bye

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You know that feeling that you’ve missed something? Well, I had that feeling last week when I pulled out the titles for my class’s mock Caldecott. I blithely grabbed Bad Bye, Good Bye and thought, “Uh-oh. I never wrote about this one, did I?” In true Robin Smith fashion (ask any of my editors what […]

Nana in the City

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This is a JUST RIGHT kind of book. Just the right size; just the right tone; just the right scope of experience/adventure for the audience. How does Lauren Castillo accomplish this just-rightness in the art? 1) Through the use of color. In the beginning she communicates the noise and smells and sheer overwhelming-ness of the big […]

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse

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Waaay back in January 2014, I saw this book. Hadley Hooper’s art blew me away. It still does. (And here Joanna Rudge Long reviews it for The Horn Book.) Henri Matisse is presented as a youngster, growing up in a dreary gray town. His mother introduces color to his life as she paints plates, arranges […]

Mock Caldecott results? Share right here

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It’s less than a month before the Awards Announcements, but it’s not too soon to hear results of mock Caldecott deliberations. Many libraries host meetings where readers discuss books and vote on their winners. It’s impossible for us to keep up with all of the results, but we do want to know all about your […]

My Grandfather’s Coat

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Heart-on-sleeve confession about My Grandfather’s Coat: I cannot read this book without crying. Some days even thinking about it makes me weepy. It’s not like anything bad happens (the grandfather doesn’t die!), and the tone is neither wistful nor melancholy. It’s such a joyful book, and then oy vey! The emotion sneaks up. The first […]

Neighborhood Sharks

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I didn’t look very carefully at Neighborhood Sharks when it first came in to the office, mostly because I’ve got such a soft spot for harbor seals (close relatives to elephant seals, the preferred prey for the great white sharks in this book). Also, I was kind of turned off by the limp dead seal and […]

Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads

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As I sit here typing, I am staring at a poster for last year’s Caldecott winner, Brian Floca’s Locomotive. Would the committee that honored that wonderful book have given the time of day to the utter silliness that is Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads? Of course, I have no idea. Anyway: new year, new […]