Three Mentors

Peter Sis

I was illustrating before I knew what illustrating means. And I knew Hans Christian Andersen stories before I knew who he was. I was always drawing because I was a child growing up in the age before television, computers, and iPhones. I did not know anything about the size of my country or the politics […]

New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books winners 2012


Breaking news! The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2012 have just been announced via Twitter. This year marks the 60th anniversary of this annual picture book award. Judges Chris Raschka, Bruce Handy (Vanity Fair), and Cathryn Mercier (director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College) selected the […]

“My Favorite Caldecott” matching game featuring Emily Arnold McCully

Photo courtesy Emily Arnold McCully

Emily Arnold McCully received the 1993 Caldecott Medal for Mirette on the High Wire, the story of a 19th-century Parisian girl who learns to walk the high wire and, in the process, helps her mentor overcome his fears. Which of the books below is the illustrator’s favorite Caldecott-winning picture book? a) The Man Who Walked […]

“My Favorite Newbery” matching game featuring Sharon Creech

Photo by Lyle Riggs

Sharon Creech received the 1995 Newbery Medal for Walk Two Moons, the tale of 13-year-old Sal’s quest to find her missing mother. Can you guess her favorite Newbery-winning novel? a) Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (1992) b) Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (2000) c) Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt (1983) This post is […]

“My Favorite Newbery” matching game featuring Russell Freedman

Photo by Evans Chan

Russell Freedman received the 1988 Newbery Medal for his meticulously researched Lincoln: A Photobiography. Which of these books is the historian’s favorite Newbery winner? a) Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (1973) b) The Story of Mankind by Hendrick Willem van Loon (1922) c) A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck (2001) This […]

2012 Mind the Gap Awards

2012 Mind the Gap Awards

Most likely to haunt award committees Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol   Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann Better luck next time Good Luck, Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke, illustrated by Lauren Tobia Tragic and tragically overlooked America Is Under Attack: September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell by Don Brown   Amelia Lost: The Life […]

“My Favorite Caldecott” matching game featuring Paul O. Zelinsky

Paul Zelinsky

Paul O. Zelinsky took home the 1998 Caldecott Medal for the lush oil paintings in his retelling of Rapunzel. Guess which of the following titles is the illustrator’s favorite Caldecott-stickered book. a) Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears written by Margaret Musgrove and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon (1977) b) Make Way for Ducklings […]

Newbery 2012: The Year in Words

Dead End in Norvelt

Newbery speculation is alive and healthy, with even the mock awards receiving national news coverage (and with the USA Today reporter who interviewed me also confiding that his fifth-grade son was participating in one). Happily, the growing din of the buzz doesn’t seem to affect the pleasure of the surprise at the award press conference. […]

Caldecott 2012: “everything…which is yes”

A Ball for Daisy

Just as the proof of the pudding is in the eating, real appreciation of a picture book depends on more than a first taste, or a first look; truer evaluation becomes possible only after savoring every nuance. At first glance, illustrations may delight us with their beauty — their drafting, palette, forms, composition; with how […]

“My Favorite Caldecott” matching game featuring Jerry Pinkney

jerry_pinkney sm

In 2010, Jerry Pinkney received the Caldecott Medal for his near-wordless, Serengeti-set retelling of Aesop’s fable The Lion and the Mouse. Guess which of the titles below is his favorite Caldecott-winning picture book. a) Tuesday by David Wiesner (1992) b) The Hello, Goodbye Window by Chris Raschka (2006) c) Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky (1998) […]