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Pre-voting instructions + ballot 1 choices

This year, Calling Caldecott has zoomed by! It’s not just our imagination. Last year there were 22 weeks between Labor Day and ALA; this year, only 18. But it feels rushed every year because there are so many good books out there. Even posting three times a week — and sometimes two books to a post — will leave us with books left out.

After looking back over the comments and at which books made it onto your Top Five lists, Martha and I have come up with a ballot of 25 books. Don’t think for a moment that it was easy. We worry that whatever eventually wins the real Caldecott might not be on our ballot, and we both had moments of sadness when we realized that a favorite wasn’t likely to be a contender. This stage is just as difficult for the Real Committee. I remember those pre-vote moments when it felt as if I was saying goodbye to a best friend who was moving away. The fact that it is inevitable doesn’t make it hurt any less.

Here are the 25 titles we have chosen to appear on our 2016 Mock Caldecott ballot:

  1. The Bear Ate Your Sandwich (Julia Sarcone-Roach)
  2. Bird & Diz (Ed Young)
  3. Boats for Papa (Jessixa Bagley)
  4. Drowned City (Don Brown)
  5. Drum Dream Girl (Rafael López)
  6. Finding Winnie (Sophie Blackall)
  7. Float (Daniel Miyares)
  8. If You Plant a Seed (Kadir Nelson)
  9. In a Village by the Sea (April Chu)
  10. It’s Only Stanley (Jon Agee)
  11. Last Stop on Market Street (Christian Robinson)
  12. Lenny & Lucy (Erin E. Stead)
  13. My Bike (Byron Barton)
  14. My Pen (Christopher Myers)
  15. The Night World (Mordicai Gerstein)
  16. Out of the Woods (Rebecca Bond)
  17. Tricky Vic (Greg Pizzoli)
  18. Two Mice (Sergio Ruzzier)
  19. Voice of Freedom (Ekua Holmes)
  20. Wait (Antoinette Portis)
  21. Waiting (Kevin Henkes)
  22. Water Is Water (Jason Chin)
  23. When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt (Molly Bang)
  24. The Whisper (Pamela Zagarenski)
  25. Wolfie the Bunny (Zachariah OHora)

We’re assuming that you all have New Years events to attend, so this is our last post for the week. When our vote goes live at 9 a.m. Monday morning, this blog truly becomes a Mock Caldecott.

Since Robin is temporarily sidelined, I get to be the heavy who pleads with you all to vote, but please do not make this a popularity contest by sending the ballot link to all and sundry with instructions to vote for your favorites. We want all of our voters to be serious about books. If you haven’t read every single title, that’s okay. But do try to read as many as you can before voting. Please DO send this list to others who know this year’s picture books but haven’t necessarily been following the blog.

As you revisit your favorites, remember that you will vote exactly as the real Caldecott Committee does: you will vote for three books: your first, second, and third choices. When the ballot closes, we will weight them differently. The number of first place vote will be multiplied by 4, second place by 3, and third place by 2. So it’s important to decide not just your top three, but what order you want them to be on the ballot.

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

Right now! Discussion of books on ballot
9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 4 Ballot 1 open for voting
9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5 Voting on ballot 1 ends
Noon Tuesday, Jan. 5 Ballot 1 results announced on Calling Caldecott
Noon Tuesday, Jan. 5 Ballot 2 opens
9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6 Voting ends
Noon Wednesday, Jan. 6 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. Each member 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 8, so they are down to the wire, just as we are here.

And now we would love to hear pleas for your favorite books in the comment section below. Have a happy New Year and we’ll see you Monday when you vote.

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. Wow, that is one pretty list of 25 books. For some reason, year in year out, I always find it harder to choose just 3 in a Mock Caldecott than in a Mock Newbery. I’m sure there is a reason for that, but I’m not sure what it is.

    At any rate, I really can’t make pleas for my favorites because I’ve got nothing but love for pretty much all of those titles up there.

  2. Such a great list. 🙂 I’m still hoping for Float to win it all and Last Stop On Market Street and If You Plant a Seed as definite Honors. So many good ones. One I wish had made it to your final 25 is Hiawatha and the Peacemaker! Looking forward to voting next week. Happy New Year.

  3. This is a great list. Thank you both for a great year! You both wrote some excellent reviews/studies of books on this list. It will take me while to finalize my vote. There are some tough choices ahead. Looking forward to Monday. Happy New Year.

  4. I must say I prefer SPECIAL DELIVERY (illustrations by Matthew Cordell) as the Phillip C. Stead choice for this year, and I mourn the absence of some other gems that I consider among the year’s best, but it is no easy task to narrow the field to 25, and the Horn Book has done a yeoman job towards that end. Obviously to choose three from among this field is exceedingly difficult, but like everyone else here I will do some zero hour soul searching. 🙂

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