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Calling Caldecott ballot #1 results

I have to say that watching the votes come in was plenty exciting for me! Lolly gave me the super-secret location of the returns so I could check them obsessively all night long.

Lolly and I had a face-to-face (really screen-to-screen) chat about how to decide where to go from here. It’s clear that FIVE  titles have risen to the top. Since the vote is weighted, it’s important to look at all the votes for each title and where the votes were cast. Go on, look at the dandy Lolly-made chart below.

1st choice
(4 points)
2nd choice
(3 points)
3rd choice
(2 points)
Total points
A Ball for Daisy 12 9 17 109
Balloons Over Broadway 25 23 19 207
Blackout 21 16 17 166
Bone Dog 3 10 12 66
Grandpa Green 37 23 19 255
Great Migration 4 1 4 27
Heart and Soul 15 13 11 121
I Want My Hat Back 25 42 21 268
Little White Rabbit 3 9 9 57
Me…Jane 43 27 24 301
Mouse & Lion 6 6 6 54
Naamah and the Ark at Night 5 9 9 65
Neville 4 9 9 61
Swirl by Swirl 8 14 17 108
Where’s Walrus? 8 8 23 102


Every book got at least one first place vote.  That surprised me. There were other surprises too–some books (Where’s Walrus, for example) garnered a LOT of third place votes, but not a lot of second places. On the real committee, if there is not a clear winner in the first ballot, much discussion will ensue. Farewells would be made to the books that did not have enough support to continue. (For me, saying “goodbye” to Neville is very sad.)

And all those votes would now be up for grabs.

We had 221 people voting.  As we enter into our second (and final) vote, we would love to have at least as many voters. We’ve decided to post the second ballot later this afternoon — earlier than scheduled —  but will leave the polling tool up until 9 a.m. Thursday as originally planned. For now, take another look at the remaining books and make a pitch for the ones you really, really love appreciate and tell us what concerns you about the others. It’s a lot more fun if we hear from you.

Here are the five books that will move on to a second ballot:

   Blackout   Grandpa Green      Me...Jane

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet
Blackout by John Rocco
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell

On your mark, get set, COMMENT!


Robin Smith About Robin Smith

Robin Smith is a second-grade teacher at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a reviewer for Kirkus and The Horn Book Magazine and has served on multiple award committees.



  1. Poor Walrus! That was one of my favorites. That said, Grandpa Green is truly lovely, and Me…Jane already feels like a classic.

  2. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    I know.
    I was surprised by Walrus, but it is really hard to only choose three titles. I have a feeling that some of these titles (Walrus, Daisy, Swirl by Swirl, Bone Dog) might have more longevity with the committee.

  3. I really loved Grandpa Green AND Me, Jane! I purchased both for my “must-have” picture book collection. Balloons over Broadway is sitting in my cart while I think it over.

    To me, I feel that Grandpa Green is a true masterpiece. The whole book is so beautiful to me. The way that Smith evokes the detail of each and every leaf without actually detailing the leaves is something that startles me every time I open the book. And the gradual fading of the colors, the use of browns as Grandpa’s memory fades is a little heartbreaking to me. I just love this book.

  4. Angela Reynolds says:

    I too, am sad to see NEVILLE drop off the list, as I was one of the 4 who chose that as my #1 vote (no secrecy here). The choices that remain, however, are good ones. Grandpa Green is so imaginative, the use of shape and color are brilliant. I have one concern about Blackout, but maybe it is not troubling to others — is the main character a boy or a girl? Does it matter? I think the design of this book is fantastic, but I keep going back to that little issue for me. Me..Jane has a wonderfully nostalgic feel, and i love the journal feel to the pages. Thanks for letting us vote in your virtual election!

  5. Thom Barthelmess says:

    I, too, had Neville as a first choice and join in your sorrow.
    I feel less sorrowful about Walrus. I have always been troubled by its cultural representations. I find it unfortunate that it depicts a New York City without any people of color. I find it unfortunate that women are relegated to being Can Can dancers and mannequins and onlookers. But that, evidently, is just me.
    I will say that I am very fond of Me…Jane and Balloons Over Broadway and I Want My Hat Back, each of which seems particularly indelible in its own way.

  6. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Thanks, Angela. I hope NEVILLE didn’t get votes because maybe people haven’t seen it yet. (I know, I live in a state of denial when it comes to my love of a book.)

    I do have a question about the gatefold in Grandpa Green–why do y’all think there is a big green trunk to the left of the gutter, blocking the elephant? I just didn’t have a great answer when my second graders asked today. They have looked at these books a lot and just noticed it today.

  7. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    I obviously started my post and finished it with a few hours in between! I am comforted knowing that you too loved Neville. I just hope someone on the committee will be able to put into words just how marvelous it is. I do like all the remaining books a lot, but, Neville will always be my first love. And Daisy.
    See how fickle I can be?

  8. Susan Dailey says:

    Can someone explain why they love “Balloons over Broadway?” I haven’t had time to study it, onlly glance at it. However, it didn’t strike me. What am I missing? (And I’m sure I am missing something since it made Horn Book and PW’s best picture books of the year lists.)

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  1. […] Aaaaand they’re off! Here is a link to the second and final ballot. We’ll leave the polls on this one open until Thursday morning and aim to post the final results Thursday noon. If you missed the results of the first ballot, they are here. […]

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