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Calling Caldecott 2013 ballot #1 results

It’s amazing anything got done last night, what with me checking the results every thirteen seconds or so! My finger was permanently adhered to the refresh button, I tell you!

Lolly has constructed this dandy table and I have done the math. (Fingers crossed that I haven’t messed anything up. Frantic calculating while second graders are entering the room is not in my normal skill set.)

Behold the power of weighted voting! Behold the power of the second place votes! Look at the third place column and feel the anxiety of What To Vote For Last.

This leaves us with nine titles for the second (and last) ballot. We picked any title that garnered more than 150 votes. Here is the place where some of you might want to have a moment of silence for books that are now off the table. Or maybe a sigh of relief for those that have held on by a thread.

1st choice
(4 points)
2nd choice
(3 points)
3rd choice
(2 points)
Total points
Abe Lincoln’s Dream
9 8 9 78
And Then It’s Spring
14 24 16 160
Baby Bear Sees Blue
48 15 6 249
Bear has a Story to Tell
7 12 18 100
Chloe and the Lion
17 17 18 155
Each Kindness
5 7 19 79
Extra Yarn
64 31 37 423
Fifty Cents and a Dream
2 3 8 33
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs
5 10 19 88
Green 18 38 28 242
Hello, Hello
22 6 6 118
A Home for Bird
19 17 13 153
I Have a Dream
11 19 13 127
Island 9 8 15 90
Life in the Ocean
2 7 8 45
Little Dog Lost
4 11 8 65
Machines Go to Work in the City
1 3 2 17
Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten!
1 3 4 21
Mouseterpiece 1 2 3 16
The Obstinate Pen 3 3 6 33
Ocean Sunlight 1 3 4 21
Step Gently Out 13 21 14 143
This Is Not My Hat 20 29 21 209
Unspoken 27 21 16 203
Z is for Moose 30 32 36 288


We had more than 300 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. Friday as originally planned. For now, take another look at the remaining books and make a pitch for the ones you appreciate and tell us what concerns you about the others.

And, I as I asked in my last post, let’s agree not to scrounge for specific votes on social media. We want a lot of votes, but we want folks who are educated voters, not just an illustrator’s college roommate’s BFFs from Facebook.

If we talk here, in the comments, we can approximate the begging  lobbying that happens around the Caldecott table. It’s a lot more fun if we hear from you.

All those titles who have left the table had votes attached to them. All those votes need to go to other books now. Here is where things get interesting. We hope that all of you will vote when the next ballot is posted, even if some of your best buddies are no longer on the ballot.

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

Books on the 2nd Calling Caldecott ballot, 2013

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff
Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
A Home for Bird by Phillip C. Stead
This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole
Z is for Moose
by Kelly Bingham, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

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. I missed the first ballot but I have definite strong opinions–am I missing the second ballot link? Will check back : )

  2. I read too fast. This afternoon. See, strong opinions make me anxious ; )

  3. KT Horning says:

    Whaaaah! My first choice didn’t make the cut, so now I’m going to have to figure out another favorite.

    I’m going to have to take another look at Extra Yarn since it’s getting so much attention here and elsewhere from people I admire and respect. I read it when it first came out and thought it was just okay. I found the story sort of bland, and while the illustrations were a bit more more interesting, but I much prefer the style in Klassen’s other book we are considering. (How great it is that we have two vastly different books by the same illustrator to compare!)

    But then I don’t knit.

    I went back and read the comments in the original post about this for some insight into what makes it stand out, and most of them — okay, all of them — were about the knitting and the position of the needles. If I were on the committee, this wouldn’t really be a deciding factor for me either way because I really don’t care about the needles that much and I would soon get tired of listening to people talk about them. So for someone like me who doesn’t care about knitting, what makes this book stand out as distinguished.

    Try to convince a non-knitter that this should get one of my three votes.

  4. What an amazing year, when anyone can point to several books outside his/her favorites as also well-poised to last.

    I’m three-for-three (A Home for Bird, Extra Yarn, and Moose), but the second ballot may break me. I purchased all three for after-school reading programs, and then both Home and Extra Yarn for myself.

    Extra Yarn is v. nearly word and picture-perfect, and the best work yet by two of our most accomplished – Barnett and Klassen. “She still had extra yarn” is my new mantra, a reminder that we can always bring more to any situation. Kids love the transformation of Paul Simon’s My Little Town; the sweaters “for things that didn’t even wear sweaters; and the ultimate mystery of how the box is empty for the archduke, but full for Annabelle. Utterly life-affirming, and yet completely devoid of schmaltz .

    But, but – A Home for Bird is also v. nearly perfect, and the best work yet by the stelllar Philip Stead. Here he’s written a story, not a situation like the lovely Amos McGee, and one that germinates in a reader’s soul. Why? Perhaps it is the echos of Lear, as Vernon and Bird – in an outfitted teacup and spoon-oar – “followed the river into the great unknown.” Perhaps it is the cheerful menschiness of Vernon, who always assumes the best (shy? sad? brave?) of his mute friend. Perhaps it is the luxurious satisfaction that Vernon finds Bird’s undeniably true home, even though Bird never can himself express what he seeks.

    Both books join the canon of classics.

  5. Sam Bloom says:

    Wow. Did I go 0-for-3? I think I did. No, wait – two Stead books are still alive, so I must assume I voted for one of them. Still, I bid a tearful goodbye to Kadir and Step Gently Out. I only hope the real committee shows more love for one or both of those lovely books.

    I’m with KT – to me there is nothing necessarily wrong with Extra Yarn, but I don’t find it all that fantastic. Gimmicky, yes – distinguished, no. If I had to rank our remaining 9 titles, it would be in the bottom third. And KT, I got quite a laugh out of your comment about the knitting needles!

  6. Jonathan Hunt says:

    I don’t understand all the EXTRA YARN love either. I’d much rather see Klassen win for THIS IS NOT MY HAT.

  7. Lolly Robinson Lolly Robinson says:

    I’m fascinated by the possibilities here among the young folks on the ballot: chances for both a win and an honor, two honors, whatever. With two illustrated by Jon Klassen, two written by Mac Barnett, and one each from the Steads (the sweetest couple in picturebookdom?), there’s something inevitable going on here. If not this year, then soon.

    That said, I am also REALLY hoping for good news for both Z Is for Moose and Green.

  8. Though I am a knitter, I couldn’t care less about the whole knitting needle issue. (My knitting kids here noticed it right off, though!! ) Though Extra Yarn was one of my class’s honor books, I couldn’t get my children to explain what it was about Extra Yarn that they appreciated. The kids who disliked it really disliked it. One boy, who was in the Green and Step Gently Out camp, hated the pickup truck scene, saying “the strings are in the wrong place for knitting, Ms. Smith!!” They really did not like the ending–the part about being happy. Kids of this age love a lesson book and they saw this as a lesson book–stick up for yourself, even if people offer you money; make the world more beautiful is what they thought the book is about. They also love, love Ungerer’s The Three Robbers and there was a lively discussion about that and the fact that the windows reminded them of the hats, though they were dying to see the actual robbers.

    For what it’s worth, my children chose Z if for Moose by a landslide, with Abe Lincoln’s Dream. Chloe and the Lion and Extra Yarn as honor books.

  9. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    I will add one thing about Extra Yarn: it definitely improves with repeated readings. Of course, I always like a book a lot more after I hear my students talk about it.

  10. Susan Dailey says:


    Did your 2nd graders vote for a Caldecott winner? If so, do you mind sharing the results?

  11. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    This thread has gotten wonky, so I can’t reply to you directly in the right place.
    I will share my students’ Mock Caldecott results. I am writing a new post in two seconds.

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