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Drum Dream Girl


I love a story that I have never heard before. Enter Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music, which tells, in the simplest language, the story of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga. It does not surprise me that I had not heard of one little girl in Cuba; what surprised me was that girls were […]

Leo: A Ghost Story


This book is one of my favorites of the year, and I would imagine it’s one that the Caldecott committee will discuss at length. (It has also recently been named a NYT Best Illustrated book.) Mac Barnett’s excellent storytelling, combined with Christian Robinson’s illustrations, make this a true picture book. Robinson’s childlike illustrations (a mix […]

I Yam a Donkey!

yam donkey

Who remembers a little book from last year called El Deafo? Graphic novel memoir? About growing up deaf? Won a Newbery Honor and an Eisner Award — that one. Cece Bell’s follow-up to El Deafo — that smart, witty, sensitive, unique, personal story — is a picture book about … a dumb-ass (literally!) donkey and the pompous yam who […]

Water Is Water: A Book about the Water Cycle

water is water

In this exploration of the water cycle, Jason Chin uses watercolor and gouache to paint lovely scenes of a family’s pond-side, rural homestead. Each season is shown in vibrant colors and thoughtful details, and water is shown in a different form on each page. I particularly liked the choice to present the house and its […]

The Night World

night world

There’s a lot to like about The Night World, from Caldecott medalist Mordicai Gerstein. Unlike your esteemed leaders here at Calling Caldecott, I’ve never been on the Caldecott committee, but if I were, this book would be in my serious-consideration stack. Let’s start with the dust jacket. It welcomes readers with a window, as a […]

Meet the Dullards

pennypacker_meet the dullards

Today we’re considering Meet the Dullards by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri. If you haven’t had a look at this book yet, do yourself a favor and go find it. It’s far from dull. As you can see from the cover, there’s something going on here between the text and the art similar to […]

The Skunk


I admit to being a leeetle unsure of what to make of this one. In an SLJ interview, author Mac Barnett was less than definitive: “What is The Skunk about? Is it a comedy? A romance? A ghost story? A tale of paranoia? An allegory of trauma?” And the Kirkus review called it “peculiar, perplexing, and […]

My Pen

my pen

There are few things more exciting than a picture-book artist creating in an unexpected style. Christopher Myers, winner of the 2015 Coretta Scott King Book Award for his illustrations for Firebird, written by Misty Copeland, provides a fanciful exploration of creativity with pen and ink drawings in My Pen. The intrigue begins on the book […]

Wolfie the Bunny

wolfie the bunny

With Wolfie the Bunny we welcome another new-sibling picture book into the world — this one with tons of humor and age-appropriate drama, and with plenty of child appeal in both text and art. (And carrots. Lots of carrots.) What will the Real Committee be looking at? I imagine they will ooh and aah over the actual cover (under the jacket) […]

Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America

gordon parks

KT: I was excited to see this book come in because I have long been a fan of Gordon Parks’s photography, and I was eager to learn more about him. Carole Boston Weatherford’s book is less a biography than it is the story of how he found his calling. When he was twenty-five, he was […]