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Calling Caldecott 2015 ballot #1 results

This is when it gets really exciting for Martha, Robin, and me. We had access to the secret link where we could see more and more votes come in yesterday. I stopped checking around 11 p.m. last night but got right back online at 6 a.m.

If we count up the first-place votes, a total of 296 people cast their ballots here. There were 286 second-place votes and 283 for third place. I guess some people figure fewer votes will give more weight to the books they really love, or they had one or two big favorites and just wanted to vote for those.

All three of us have done the full-ballot math, weighting the votes as the real committee would: 1st choice votes x 4; 2nd choice votes x 3; 3rd choice votes x 2; then add them all up for the total points. Phew! More power to Robin who has to do this kind of thing all year long.

Here are the results:

1st choice
(4 points)
2nd choice
(3 points)
3rd choice
(2 points)
Total points
The Adventures of Beekle
19 12 22 156
All Different Now
2 5 7 37
Bad Bye, Good Bye
13 7 11 95
8 17 19 121
Buried Sunlight
1 3 6 25
14 13 12 119
The Farmer and the Clown
52 32 18 340
Firefly July
11 11 6 89
Gaston 12 12 14 112
3 7 18 69
Hug Machine
5 13 10 79
The Iridescence of Birds
15 18 13 140
Josephine 16 15 8 125
Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads
4 7 9 55
A Letter for Leo
15 10 9 108
My Bus
1 0 4 12
My Grandfather’s Coat
6 6 12 66
Nana in the City
3 14 8 70
Neighborhood Sharks
5 7 6 53
The Pilot and the Little Prince
4 9 5 53
The Right Word
17 14 17 144
5 7 4 49
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
27 29 21 237
Viva Frida
24 10 17 160
Winter Bees
14 8 6 92


Next we had to decide how many books to move over to the second ballot. With the magic of FluidSurveys and Excel, I was able to create this visual. (I tend to go cross-eyed looking at a list of numbers, but everything becomes clearer when I can see the relative differences.)


It’s clear that two books are at the front of the pack (with, actually, Marla Frazee’s Farmer and the Clown well ahead of Jon Klassen’s Sam & Dave Dig a Hole), and most of the rest are closer together. But it’s important to send a healthy number of titles onto the second ballot, because we might be surprised: once people are looking at a new group of books, votes will shift around. Someone whose favorites are no longer available will not necessarily cast their next votes for what seem now to be the frontrunners.

We decided to move all books getting 100 or more points onto the second ballot, which gives us eleven books out of the original twenty-five. For us, the second ballot will also be the final one. (On the real committee, they would keep voting until one book got the majority of first choice votes.)

Here are the books that will be on the final ballot, available Monday morning at 9 a.m. EST and closing at the same time Tuesday:


The Adventures of Beekle (Dan Santat)
Blizzard (John Rocco)
Draw! (Raúl Colón)
The Farmer and the Clown (Marla Frazee)
Gaston (Christian Robinson)
The Iridescence of Birds (Hadley Hooper)
Josephine (Christian Robinson)
A Letter for Leo (Sergio Ruzzier)
The Right Word (Melissa Sweet)
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole (Jon Klassen)
Viva Frida (Yuyi Morales)

Now it’s time, perhaps, to mourn a favorite book that didn’t make the cut-off and isn’t going to win here (but of course every book still has a chance with the real committee). You can also use the comments to try to persuade others to choose the book you think is most worthy. This is exactly what happens at this stage on the real committee. Here is where everyone becomes passionate (maybe even teary) and super-articulate.


Lolly Robinson About Lolly Robinson

Lolly Robinson is the creative director for The Horn Book, Inc. She has degrees in studio art and children's literature and teaches children's literature at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She has served on the Caldecott and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committees and blogs for Calling Caldecott and Lolly's Classroom on this site.



  1. The way the illustrations support the text in The Right Word make this a top vote for me! The pages are filled with lists like Roget created and completely capture his brain overflowing with ideas. This art style matches beautifully and makes this a fascinating book.

    I watched the YouTube video of making Viva Frida and the attention to detail, the amount of work Morales put into this beautiful book, plus the way she combined styles digitally, I think it’s amazing, unique and in my mind, distinguished.

  2. Very interesting. A few surprises – I was of the opinion that WINTER BEES, BAD BYE GOOD BYE, FIREFLY JULY and MY GRANDFATHER’S COAT would make it to the next round. As much as I do love BLIZZARD I was thinking it wouldn’t have the support it did. I also thought NANA IN THE CITY would edge its way in, and that QUEST had a lot of support. Both did well but didn’t make it.

    The biggest winner of all obviously was Christian Robinson, illustrator extraordinaire.

    Of course next week we may see some that didn’t make wind up with one of the Caldecotts. I love every finalist here

    I noticed that the book I liked least on the original list garnered the least votes by far. Not sure of people have the same sentiments or if its lightweight nature in the shadow of meatier books doomed it.

  3. Sam Bloom says:

    I’ll speak to your last point, Sam. I didn’t vote for MY BUS, but came very, very close. I think it is an absolutely brilliant book and would be THRILLED to see it get recognized by one of the committees on Groundhog’s Day. But your comment is the one that people at my table shared at our Mock Caldecott… not much love for this one Caldecott-wise. I think the child-like nature of the art makes it hard sometimes to think about it as a work of art, but I can’t imagine the amount of work it would take to create his art. Anyway, I most definitely agree with your comment: I too love every finalist. This round may be even harder than the first, and that one just about killed me.

  4. Sam, I hear ya. I’d venture to add that the first graders I read to daily adored MY BUS, which came in ninth place in my classroom Mock Caldecott polling of several weeks ago. With my own past tendencies, I am sure I will see the worth and appeal of it in time. In any case, what you say about the “child nature of the art” making is difficult to appreciate as art makes a lot of sense to me. That round was definitely a killer, agreed, and now we have some more difficult choices to make. Thanks Sam!

    On another note, though I have maintained over the past two months that Marla Frazee’s THE FARMER IN THE CLOWN was a prohibitive favorite to win the gold medal. After the first stage of the this voting, where it finished in poll position handily, I’d be shocked if it didn’t win a week from Monday, and there are several other scene specific reasons I could cite. I am not saying I am in favor of it winning, nor that I am against it winning. I love the book, and love many others. While the book seems heading for the big win, I think it remains very unclear what 3, 4, or 5 honors books will be named, and the Horn Book results, though offering clues, don’t really give us a clear picture, though they never intended to. I am predicting four (4) honors this year, but am not close to figuring out what they will be. 🙂 I will go out on a limb and predict that two of the four projected Honor books will come from the pool of books that were just eliminated in this voting, while the other two will come from those still alive in this vote. In the end I will be licking my wounds Monday morning! Ha!

  5. “Someone whose favorites are no longer available will not necessarily cast their next votes for what seem now to be the frontrunners.”
    Lolly, that is perhaps the clearest expression of that very important idea that I have ever encountered. Thank you.

  6. I just did some quick math (thanks, Excel) and find that of the 864 votes cast, 571 (66%) went to the books sill in contention, and 293 (34%) went to books that have fallen away. Interesting (at least if you’re a numberer).

  7. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Oh, THOM, are you applying for a job at Calling Caldecott? Be still my heart with your statistical analysis! I love it!

    So, 34% of the vote is up for grabs. And then there is voter’s remorse: some people who voted for the remaining books might switch their votes.

    One of the things that makes me nervous is this: what if we have one winner for ballot #1 and a different winner for ballot #2? We had nearly 300 voters. There is nothing to stop people who slept through the first ballot to wake up for the next one…

  8. Last year the results of the first stage of the balloting ended up with JOURNEY at 561 points and MR. TIGER GOES WILD at 560. Both were hundreds of votes ahead of all the other books that survived the cut.

    The second and final vote confirmed the incomparable popularity of both books, with JOURNEY winning by two votes – again with all the other books ay behind. This is what led me to think that THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN has some series grass roots support that will translate to another very strong showing on Monday. But like everyone else I like surprises, and hope that some of the suggestions posed above by Lolly, Robin and Thom will make this anything but predictable. But if Frazee’s book should prevail, I will celebrate like everyone else, as it is such a beautiful book in concept, theme and illustrations.

  9. “Someone whose favorites are no longer available will not necessarily cast their next votes for what seem now to be the frontrunners.”

    I completely agree with this, but when a specific book or books (in this case THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN) has already established numerical dominance in the first balloting, it is highly unlikely the numbers will show a drastic change. Hence I suggest there is a trend here. I would project that 40% or so of the votes being cast by those whose favorites have fallen away with go with the book that is leading. But even if that number turns out to be at 25% or so, it will still be enough for that book to win handily.

    This is an opinion, nothing more. You people have been doing this for years and know far more about the various trends, the pollings dating back years and the actual experience of serving on committees and building consensus after some other books failed to receive it. I like drama, excitement and surprises, and would love to see a competitive vote this coming Monday. 🙂

  10. Lynn Van Auken says:

    This is a little off-topic, but I can’t let it go without saying . . .
    Josephine and Frida: Each in their own splendid picture books this year.
    Together in our top 11.
    Most likely on the table next weekend.

    This is when you know that ANYTHING – ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING – is possible.

  11. Lolly Robinson Lolly Robinson says:

    Yes, I like that. And apparently they were (more than) friends, too.

  12. I missed the first round of voting, but I’m saddest to see WINTER BEES go – it would have been my #2. I can’t imagine any argument that would sway me from my devotion to THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN – it’s my personal favorite, and it handily survived a lot of discussion (and an examination using Visual Thinking Strategies) at my local Mock Caldecott. I haven’t been this invested in a particular book winning in a long time!

  13. Am I to understand that there will be a rush of votes in the next few hours for BLIZZARD???

    🙂 🙂 🙂

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