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Pre-voting instructions…it’s almost time!


I find it hard to believe that we’re less than two weeks from The Announcement at ALA. It was harder than you might think to put our ballot together — and it will be just as challenging for the folks on the Real Committee to narrow the field and choose the titles they want to consider. With every new Mock Caldecott announcement, I feel that same pang of anxiety I felt when I was on the committee some years ago. It usually starts with, “What are they seeing that I am not seeing?” and moves on to, “WHAT? I have not even seen that book!” Breathe in, breathe out.

Here are the 25 titles the three of us have chosen to appear on our mock Caldecott ballot:

  1. The Adventures of Beekle (Dan Santat)
  2. All Different Now (E. B. Lewis)
  3. Bad Bye, Good Bye (Jonathan Bean)
  4. Blizzard (John Rocco)
  5. Buried Sunlight (Molly Bang)
  6. Draw! (Raúl Colón)
  7. The Farmer and the Clown (Marla Frazee)
  8. Firefly July (Melissa Sweet)
  9. Gaston (Christian Robinson)
  10. Gravity (Jason Chin)
  11. Hug Machine (Scott Campbell)
  12. The Iridescence of Birds (Hadley Hooper)
  13. Josephine (Christian Robinson)
  14. Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads (Lane Smith)
  15. A Letter for Leo (Sergio Ruzzier)
  16. My Bus (Byron Barton)
  17. My Grandfather’s Coat (Barbara McClintock)
  18. Nana in the City (Lauren Castillo)
  19. Neighborhood Sharks (Katherine Roy)
  20. The Pilot and the Little Prince (Peter Sís)
  21. The Right Word (Melissa Sweet)
  22. Quest (Aaron Becker)
  23. Sam & Dave Dig a Hole (Jon Klassen)
  24. Viva Frida (Yuyi Morales)
  25. Winter Bees (Rick Allen)

Tomorrow (Thursday), Calling Caldecott will become MOCK Caldecott: all of you get to vote for the winners and honor books. We are going to repeat this next part tomorrow, just so everyone reads it. When it comes time to vote, please just vote for the three books you think are most deserving. Please, for the love of all I hold dear, do not send out links to your grandma, your second cousin, and all the people in your publishing house so that they can vote for your favorite book (or the book you wrote or illustrated). It’s fine (and we encourage this) to send the link to folks who love picture books and who have opinions about many of the books on the list. Just, please, let everyone decide for her- or himself. Get it?

So, take the last few hours before voting opens to take another look at your favorites. Maybe get to a library or bookstore to find the ones you have missed.

Here’s the schedule. All times listed are Eastern Standard Time.

Right now! Discussion of books on ballot
9 a.m. Thursday, January 22 Ballot 1 open for voting
9 a.m. Friday, January 23 Voting on ballot 1 ends
Noon Friday, January 23 Ballot 1 results announced on Calling Caldecott
9 a.m. Monday, January 26 Ballot 2 opens
9 a.m. Tuesday, January 27 Voting ends
Noon Tuesday, January 27 Calling Caldecott mock vote results posted


At this point the Real Committee is busy rereading all their nominated books, making notes on what they appreciate and what concerns them. (Experience tells me that a lot of time will given to the concerns — a person has to be ready to defend against others’ concerns and to lay out their own concerns in a way that the others can hear. Minds will have to be changed!) The real committee starts face-to-face deliberations on Friday, January 30, so they are down to the wire, just like we are here.

And here, we would love to hear your pleas for your favorite books — use the comment section below! See you when you vote tomorrow!

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. Sam Bloom says:

    Well, let me be the first to say thanks to Lolly, Martha and Robin for a stupendously outstanding year of Calling Caldecott. Like a fine wine, this blog gets better with age. Bravo!

    I’m 96% thrilled with this longlist. Twenty-four of these books are untouchables, in my opinion. But here’s my one beef: Firebird was robbed. If I had my Druthers (which, by the way, was another pretty sweet little titles from this year, by Matt Phelan) I’d cut Quest – sorry to Aaron Becker, no offense, it’s AWESOME but just not quite in the same league as Firebird. A bunch of people commented on the Firebird post that they thought the text was lacking, but I think otherwise. So I’m sad that I won’t have the chance to vote for that one tomorrow, but I’m definitely seeing some outstanding books in this list.

  2. What a terrific year for picture books! Makes me very happy.

  3. Alas, I am in full agreement with Sam Bloom in regards to FIREBIRD. Without any question it did belong on this ballot as did the other ravishing book about an aspiring ballerina, A DANCE LIKE STARLIGHT. (Dempsey and Cooper). Both books are among my very top favorites of the entire year. The omission of GRANDFATHER GANDHI (Hegedus/Turk) is admittedly shocking, especially as by all my surveying, it stands an excellent chance of acknowledgement from the committee. Another eye-opening omission is HUGO AND THE BEAR by Katy Beebe and S.D. Schindler. I was certain that sublime work would get on the ballot.

    You are asking here for please for favorites books, perhaps by way of replacement. There are only two books in this entire 25 that I could contest, and one of those two (BURIED SUNLIGHT) I like too much to make a case against. I never got MY BUS, but the problem is with me on that one.

    All of the other choices are superlative, a treasure trove of riches, and again like Sam I do commend everyone for the work that was diligently and passionately rendered over many months.

    As you have politely asked for please, I will propose mine, but they are NOT done for any other reason than to extend the discussion in the benign spirit of the request made above. I am NOT at all disappointed with the list above; it is simply stupendous.

    These are the books I would have had myself a nearly impossible time leaving off:

    Firebird (Copeland/Myers)
    A Dance Like Starlight (Dempsey Cooper) could be the most emotional book of the year
    Gapapagos George (George/Minor)
    Grandfather Gandhi (Hegedus/Turk)
    Mama Had A Little Nest (Ward)
    Hugo and the Bear (Beebe/Schindler)
    The Mayflower (Greenwood/Lessac)
    Maple (Nicols)
    Never Say A Mean Word Again (Jules/Bernhard)
    Henny (Stanton)
    Have You Seen My Dragon (Light)
    Bunjitsu Bunny (Himmelman)
    The Pet Book (Staake)
    Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas (Floca)
    Number One Sam (Pizzoli)
    Sequoia (Johnson/Minor)
    The Noisy Paint Box (Rosenstock/GrandPre)
    Edward Hopper Paints His World (Burleigh/Minor)
    A Home For Mr. Emerson (Kersey/Fotheringham)
    Little Melba and Her Trombone (Brown/Morrison)
    Harlem Hellfighters (Lewis/Kelly)

  4. Where’s Mommy (D’Onofrio/McClintock) is another.

  5. ***pleas*** not ***please***

  6. Seven final pleas of books that I feel should have been on the final ballot, and then I will withdraw to engage in the great list we do have:

    Separate is Not Equal (Duncan Tonatiuh)
    The Baby Tree (Sophie Blackall)
    As An Oak Tree Grows (G. Brian Karas)
    Queen Victoria’s Bathing Machine (Nancy Carpenter)
    Daddy Hugs (Nancy Tafuri)
    Bad Apple’s Perfect Day (Edward Hemingway)
    Dare the Wind (Emily Arnold McCully)

  7. My Teacher is a Monster (Peter Brown)

    Done, backing off, adios, auf wiedersehen, au revoir…………

  8. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Yup–it was a great year! Imagine how hard the real committee has it! Such richness. My own students moaned today when I showed them the ballot and showed them that I could only vote for three and could only vote once! (One boy said, “And my favorite is not even on this list!!” (MAPLE, since I know you want to know!)
    It’s heartbreaking to choose just three, let alone just 25 for the ballot.

  9. I agree. I agree. That boy who chose MAPLE has exceeding good taste! 🙂

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