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It’s a bit of a theme week here on Calling Caldecott: on Monday, Megan Lambert extolled the gifts found in Kevin Henkes’s Waiting; today, we also Wait. Antoinette Portis taps so perfectly into that universal tension between adults’ approach to experiencing the world (“Hurry!”) and a child’s (“Wait”). A tension made visually manifest on the cover, as the busy mother is moving forward […]



Many have praised Kevin Henkes’s artistic achievements in Waiting. The Horn Book review, for example, cites “confident brown outlines filled in with a muted palette of light greens, blues, and pinks in colored-pencil and watercolor.” While I recognize and laud such successes, I believe the criterion of “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child […]

Crunch time for the Committee is NOW


This is the time of year where everyone feels stressed by looming deadlines. Families coming for the holidays, last-minute gift decisions, year-end reports, and of course, final preparations for the Caldecott committee meetings. As a member of last year’s committee, I can tell you that December is a high-pressure month. The final round of nominations […]

Flop to the Top!

flop to top

After Jillian Tamaki received Caldecott recognition for the graphic novel This One Summer last February, you can bet your honor seals that people are looking closely at all types of picture books in 2015. One title that I hope this year’s Caldecott committee will bring to the table is Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing’s Flop […]

Funny Bones

funny bones

You know that skeleton woman with the big flowered hat? Guess what? Her name is la Catrina, and she wasn’t created by Russell Stover. You may not recognize the name José Guadalupe Posada, but you’re probably familiar with his most iconic illustration. La Catrina is everywhere these days, especially since el dia de los muertos […]

Mock Caldecott Catch-up, part 1

moon is going to addy

In a recent post we asked for your local school and library Mock Caldecott lists, and several titles came up that we wanted to add to the Calling Caldecott conversation. Two of these are the subjects for today: Big Bear little chair by Lizi Boyd and The Moon Is Going to Addy’s House by Ida Pearle. Boyd’s Big […]

Lenny & Lucy

lenny lucy

It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when full-color picture books were uncommon. It was usually an indication that the artist had somehow proved himself worthy (::cough:: Maurice Sendak) and was awarded with a full palette to use on his masterpieces (::cough:: ::cough:: Where the Wild Things Are). When you look back […]

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans

drowned city

I was fortunate enough to be in the crowd when the Tamaki cousins’ This One Summer was announced as a Caldecott Honor book (at the Youth Media Awards, where the Coretta Scott King, Caldecott, Newbery, etc. are announced) this past January. I remember hearing more than a few audible gasps in the theater, and with […]

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

voiceof freedom

One thing the members of the Caldecott Committee are looking for each time they open a new box is the wonderful feeling of New. When I was on the committee, whenever I opened a Caldecott box, I would feel the burden of The Same. A book would remind me of another book. The illustrations would […]

Two Mice

two mice

This little book packs a whole lotta wow per square inch. It took me some time to see everything it has to offer, but now that I have, I’m totally sold. (Philip Nel raved, too; Two Mice “exemplifies the elegant efficiency of the picture book” and “unfolds with perfect economy.”) Before we even open the book, there’s much to remark on. […]