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 […]

The Right Word

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While we took a short break over the holidays, you can bet that the members of the Real Caldecott Committee did not. Neither sleet nor dark of night nor even New Year’s or Festivus celebrations can deter committee members from their responsibilities. And now it’s January. Less than one month to go until…Deliberation Weekend! followed by…Announcement Monday! So […]

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

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It’s Boxing Day, friends. Time to talk about a sweet gift of a book. Because I know many of you are sneaking a peak at your phones and computers in between holiday cleanup, entertaining relatives, and furtive trips to the mall, I will make it a quick review. Beekle is an extremely adorable imaginary friend […]

More golden

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I’ve talked before about what a (surprisingly) rich year it’s been for picture books. As have others. It’s also been another strong year for graphic novels (viz. Sisters and El Deafo and This One Summer and more) — an art form that, based on the definition of the picture book in the criteria, is arguably eligible for Caldecott consideration: “1. A […]

Gravity

Gravity

In the past, Jason Chin has added a fantasy element to his information books. In Redwoods, for instance, a boy in the city reads about the redwood forest and is transported there, returning to his urban reality at the end of the book. In Gravity, Chin has gone fully meta: the children we see are […]

The Farmer and the Clown

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Things are beginning to heat up. Mock Caldecotts are being decided; best-of-year lists continue to be released; over at Fuse #8, Betsy Bird has made her final predictions. It’s time to talk about a book that’s been one of my favorites all fall: Marla Frazee’s The Farmer and the Clown. I find it difficult not […]

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

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 I have written about and talked about this book a lot elsewhere, so it seems time to put my finger on why the Caldecott committee should take a close look at All Different Now. Before I start, I want to dispel a myth I hear a lot. It goes something like this: this is really […]

Buried Sunlight

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Full disclosure: Molly Bang is one of those children’s-book people I’ve gotten to know a bit. Not so well that, as Robin puts it, she is likely to look me up on Facebook to see if I’m over the flu. But she’s visited my class a few times, we’ve corresponded by email, and I’ve visited […]