Subscribe to The Horn Book

Here we go again!

Welcome to Year Two of Calling Caldecott, talking about this year’s picture books — what can win, what will win, what should win.

Last year we started with a list so we’ll do the same this year. What follows is a list of  picture books that have been starred in more than one journal or that one of us especially wants to talk about.

  • And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano and Erin E. Stead
  • Bear has a Story to Tell by Phillip C. Stead, Erin E. Stead
  • Chloe by Peter McCarty
  • Extra Yarn  Mac Barnett, illus. by Jon Klassen
  • Goldilocks and the three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
  • Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
  • Hello, Hello by Matt Cordell (or Cordell’s Another Brother)
  • Home for Bird by Phillip C. Stead
  • Insomniacs by Karina Wolf, illus. by the Brothers Hilts
  • Life in the Ocean by Claire A. Nivola
  • Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic by Mônica Carnesi 
  • Machines Go to Work in the City by William Low
  • Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten by Hyewon Yum
  • Mousterpiece by Jane Breskin Zalben
  • The Obstinate Pen, by Frank W. Dormer
  • Ocean Sunlight by Penny Chisholm and Molly Bang, illustrated by Molly Bang
  • Penny and her Song by Kevin Henkes
  • Step Gently Out  by Helen Frost, photographs by Rick Lieder
  • This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
  • Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham, illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky

Please use the comments to tell us which books you think are award-worthy — and what other books we should be talking about. And remember that there are still four more months of books we haven’t seen yet, so this is just a start.

If you are new to this blog, follow these links to learn more about Robin and Lolly.

Now… Let the discussion begin!


About Robin Smith and Lolly Robinson

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.
Lolly Robinson is the designer and production manager for The Horn Book, Inc. She has degrees in studio art and children's literature and teaches children's and adolescent literature at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She has served on the Caldecott and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committees.



  1. Could you talk about ONE COOL FRIEND by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small?

  2. jennifer laughran says:

    ME AND MOMMA AND BIG JOHN by Mara Rockliff, Illus William Low. Candlewick. (er not that i am biased or anything!)

  3. How I wish Kyo Maclear’s and Isabelle Arsenault’s Virginia Wolf were eligible. It isn’t, right?

  4. Lolly Robinson Lolly Robinson says:

    No, I’m afraid they are Canadian — or at least the book is (Kids Can).

  5. Loved And Then It’s Spring and Extra Yarn, the photos in Step Gently Out were wonderful. Will have to check some of the others out at the library!

    Two suggestions from me:
    Plant a Little Seed by Bonnie Christensen
    Looking at Lincoln by Maira Kalman

  6. I do very much like Extra Yarn. Though British, Alice Melvin’s “High Street” would be on there if it met the requirements. And The Obstinant Pen is very clever.

  7. I’ve read (and loved) each of the titles on the list, but (IMO) none is as deserving as Z Is For Moose. It is the most original, complex/accessible alphabet book/story imaginable. Works for many levels and has many levels- so much more than any other alphabet book I’ve ever seen.

  8. I am pulling for [BGHB Awardee] Face Book by Chuck Close. Anyone else?

  9. Katie Klamm says:

    How is it possible that no one is talking about Chloe and the Lion?!

  10. Sharon Grover says:

    Yes, please do talk about One Cool Friend. It’s one of my favorites of the year!

  11. Robin Smith says:

    Make a case for it, Katie!

  12. Katie Klamm says:

    Adam Rex is long overdue for Caldecott recognition, and he totally outdoes himself in CHLOE–he combines hand-painted sets, clay puppets, and digital illustrations in a book that actually, literally proves the very power of illustration. The sheer ambition and success of his project merits significant Caldecott discussion.

  13. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    I think you should write about all the ineligible books that are remarkable. We found about a gazillion, give or take a few.

  14. I’m partial to anything the Steads have touched this year. But I really can’t wait to see I Have a Dream; based on the cover alone it looks stunning. Every year I think Kadir is going to win the gold; in classic Cubs’ fan fashion, I again must say, I think this is our year.

  15. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    And I have not seen it either…

  16. Dean Schneider says:

    Philip Stead’s A Home for Bird has been my favorite picture book all year long, such a lovely circular story about friends and home. I love the illustrations–not sure the media, but they look like crayon and watercolor, so I’ll say mixed media.

  17. Yes, Dean; that is a favorite in our house. It looks to me like he used the same “stuff”/mixed media in Jonathan and the Blue Boat, but I could be wrong. Whatever he used, it really is a wonderful story.

    Robin, have you seen the cover to Kadir’s book? It’s unbelievable, even by his standards.

  18. I fear I will appear all blog-pushy, but Phil Stead addressed his media for this book in this post from May, even including pics. Scroll down to “All that was left for me to do was to decide on an art style….” and there ya go.

  19. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Thanks, Jules! I should have your blog on speed dial. (Does anyone really say “speed dial” anymore?

  20. That really is amazing; thanks, Jules! Robin, are you sure you don’t want to come up to Cincinnati tomorrow for their signing?

  21. From the titles I’ve had a chance to look at, the ones that I’d add to your list would be CHLOE AND THE LION (Barnett/Rex); DINOSAUR THUNDER (Bauer/Chodos-Irvine); HOMER (Cooper); FISH HAD A WISH (Garland); I, TOO AM AMERICA (Hughes/Collier); and LAUNDRY DAY (Manning). There are too many favorites at the moment!

  22. I love One Cool Friend. There’s so much detail to appreciate on a second or third read-through and the blue grid backgrounds on the field trip are something I haven’t seen before.

  23. Yay! SO happy you are back. Thanks for the great list. Claire Nivola’s book ‘Life in the Ocean’ is one of my favorites, and I’d agree with the comments – ‘One Cool Friend’ is great.

  24. I picked up THE QUIET PLACE by Sarah Stewart and David Small today. Small’s art is really stunning. Probably makes its way into my top 3 along with EXTRA YARN and CHLOE AND THE LION. Still itching to see THIS IS NOT MY HAT and now (thanks to Philip Stead’s recommendation) eagerly anticipating Matthew Cordell’s HELLO! HELLO!

  25. I also would love to see Calling Caldecott discuss The Quiet Place, as well as Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann’s Oh, No!

    I learn so much from this blog and am happy it exists!

  26. I would love to add Barbara Kerley’s Those Rebels, John and Tom, and discuss Edward Fotheringham’s gloriously original and ebullient illustrations. (He also illustrated Kerley’s What to Do About Alice.) His voice and style are so mesmerizing and enhance Kerley’s text in a way that’s just WOW!

  27. Susan Dailey says:

    Thanks Lolly and Robin for authoring this blog again. I would love for you to discuss “Magritte’s Marvelous Hat” by D. B. Johnson. I’m just not sure what I think of it.

  28. Don’t forget about Lee White’s fantastic book “Sophie’s Fish”. The illustrations really carry that one since the text is so minimal. I saw his work on the “Design of the Picture Book” blog today and just love it!

  29. Terry Pailes says:

    I also love, A Home for Bird…it is such a tender story, heartfelt story about how frog tries to find a home for bird. Reading books like this one aloud to children is something I look forward to everyday!! So far, this gets my vote for the Caldecott!

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.


  1. […] CALLING CALDECOTT LIST is pretty amazing this year. Such an honor to be included. Which books are your favorite on this […]

  2. […] With your help, we will cover as many books as we can in the next two months. Since making our initial list back in September, a lot more titles have come to our attention. I can’t promise that our […]

Speak Your Mind