Mock Caldecott Results, Please

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That’s a mockingbird, in case you were wondering. Now you know. And now I know that this particular bird, the state bird of my fair state of Tennessee, is called a Mimus polyglottos. I know lots of you will spend the next few weeks running discussion groups about the upcoming children’s book awards. (Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott […]

In which we check in with current Caldecott committee member Travis Jonker

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Time for a reality check, everybody! Robin, Lolly, and I have been immersed in our mock Caldecott world, but in fact there is an actual 2014 Caldecott committee out there ;), feverishly preparing for their closed-door marathon sessions at ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia, which begins on January 24. Travis Jonker – Michigan elementary-school librarian; author of the 100 Scope […]

The Tree Lady

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A few weeks ago we put out a call for titles we might have missed, and Ed Wolfer recommended this book. It’s a complete coincidence — scouts’ honor — but the timing of this post coincides with a blizzard here in New England. The warm colors and desert world evoked in this inspiring picture book […]

Papa’s Mechanical Fish

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Here it is, the week between Christmas and New Year’s. A rather quiet time – so it’s the perfect moment to discuss a distinctly UNquiet picture book. Snoozy and understated this book ain’t. Papa’s Mechanical Fish tells the story of eccentric (and unheralded) inventor Lodner Phillips, who builds a working submarine in the summer of […]

Frog Song

Frog SOng

At the beginning of the year, way back when I was wandering the booths at ALA’s Midwinter convention, a few books grabbed my attention. Some of them have dropped off my list of favorites of the year, but Frog Song continues to find a spot there. Maybe it’s that oversized strawberry poison dart frog on the cover. […]

Little Santa

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You know Dasher and Dancer and the Claus children, Larry, Mary, Willy, Millie, Joey, Zoe, and Santa, right? Okay, maybe you haven’t heard of those other Claus kids, but you definitely have heard of Santa. Roger is a big fan of this one and here is what he had to say. It’s a tricky business, […]

The Mighty Lalouche

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The Mighty Lalouche is something of a late bloomer, showing up on best-of-the-year lists (including School Library Journal’s and this blog) and various libraries’ mock Caldecott ballots. A come-from-behind contender, as it were, which is quite appropriate given its subject: a modest, unassuming Parisian postman who becomes an unlikely champion of the sport of “la box […]

Books Teachers Love

Matchbox Diary

One thing we know is that teachers love picture books. They use them to explain difficult ideas, introduce information, add depth to nonfiction studies, and simply entertain students. Teachers especially love when a book can be used as a model for writing or when it suggests writing assignments that fit in with curriculum. I know […]

Ineligible Internationals

tiny king

The Caldecott and Newbery awards were founded partly as a way to support the publishing of American books for children, and the rules are quite clear about who can win and who cannot. I have pasted part of the Caldecott eligibility criteria below: The award is restricted to artists who are citizens or residents of […]

What’s (new) with computer art? And Crankenstein and a pretty great Unicorn.

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I started having the conversation about using computers to create or enhance picture book illustrations back when this was what my computer looked like. It was already clear how quickly technology was advancing. I sure thought that by now our thinking about computers and picture books would have advanced further than it has. At first, […]