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Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

As I write this, we’re having the first snow of the season in Chicago. My kids could not wait to go outside. They ran back and forth, trying to catch snowflakes on their tongue. They asked when they would be able to have a snowball fight and when we could go sledding. Like most adults […]

Henry & Leo

Those of us who look at lots and lots of new children’s books see a lot of familiar plots and art styles that resemble one classic or another in some way. Whenever I see a book that is fresh and unlike anything I’ve seen before, I celebrate. That’s all very well, but I need to remember […]

Leave Me Alone!

Leave Me Alone! has everything necessary for a great picture book: a frustrated main character, epic adventure, and derpy goats. A book with derpy yarn-eating goats may be being considered for the Caldecott Medal, and I’m pretty thrilled about it. This is cartoonist Vera Brosgol’s first picture book, and though I’ve heard great things about […]

Time to share your mock award results

When the teachers in my children’s lit class completed their mock awards last week (three Caldecott committees plus a Sibert and a Geisel), I encouraged them to hold mock Caldecotts with their own students when they are back in the classroom. I also shared the best incentive I’ve found: Colby Sharp’s 24-second video of his […]

A list of great 2016 picture books

Blogger (and Horn Book reviewer and Calling Caldecott poster) Minh Lê has just released his annual list of best picture books, sorted into his own unique categories. His lists are always terrific; this year especially! Check it out here.    

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles

This is not my kind of picture book. The story is too wispy for me, the language occasionally too twee, and the premise . . . well, I just don’t buy it. But one of the things committee members must do for an award like the Caldecott (or even a mock Caldecott!) is put aside their own personal likes […]

March: Book Three

I know that my anticipation for March: Book Three, the final book in John Lewis’s trilogy, matched that of everyone who read the first two graphic novels chronicling the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. Obviously, the National Book Award committee felt the same excitement, as it was awarded the Young People’s Literature award a few weeks ago. The […]

Thunder Boy Jr.

Yuyi Morales first appeared on my radar in Spring 2012. Running late for a baby shower, I had popped into our local bookstore to purchase a gift. As I walked past the “New Picture Books” table, Georgia in Hawaii caught my eye. Twenty seconds later, I was headed toward the register with Georgia in Hawaii on […]

Snow White

When I first heard Matt Phelan was working on a graphic novel that would transpose Snow White from her traditional fairy-tale locale to Depression-era New York City, I was more than a little excited. Phelan’s previous graphic novels (Storm in the Barn; Bluffton) are favorites of mine and have been a hit with my comics-obsessed students. […]

Du Iz Tak?

Have you seen Du Iz Tak? Carson Ellis’s oversized gouache and ink spreads are impressive to be sure, but it’s her ear for entomological dialogue that shines in this one; well, I’ll let you be the judge. Not to give too much away, but at the emotional climax (***spoiler alert*** when the flowering plant that has […]