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The Guests Are Here; or, We Kick Off Our List

Well, since Tuesday’s post was called “Let’s Get This Party Started,” we’ll continue with our party metaphor by telling you that all the guests are here, the mixed nuts are out, and the dance music is blaring. That’s right: We’re here today with our list of several dozen 2017 Caldecott-eligible books. We have gathered them together into a group and convinced them to come to our shindig. (We’ll save a few cocktails for February 2018, when the 2018 Caldecott winner will be announced at ALA Midwinter.)

This list was generated in primarily two ways: The three of us each submitted a list of books we’d like to see discussed this year, and from those three lists (which included some overlapping titles), we built a master list of books. Then we added many of the titles you all suggested in the comments of Tuesday’s post. Did we mention that we value your input a great deal? We do, so thank you to everyone who weighed in.

We must note, however, that this list is not definitive. Some titles will be added, and some may even drop off. This is how we roll here at Calling Caldecott. We don’t want to get so married to one list that we refuse to welcome in new titles or cling to ones we no longer feel are relevant to discuss. Please do let us know if titles you don’t see here, especially those scheduled to be published in the latter months of the year, become ones you’d like to read about on Calling Caldecott. And, as always, if there are any topics/issues you’d like to see us discuss here, please do share.

As Robin explained so well last year, many factors can drive the decision to write about a book, including: lots of people are talking about said book; we think it’s outstanding in one way or another; something special pops up we want to discuss; the artistic medium interests us; etc. Most of all, we are guided by the Caldecott criteria we included in Tuesday’s post, asking ourselves: Which distinguished books do we think might rise to the top of the committee’s list?

So, here it is — the kick-off list (here presented alphabetically by title; we’ll be covering the books in, loosely, publication-date order), one that leaves us room to be ever-growing and always adapting:

  • After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat
  • All Ears, All Eyes, written by Richard Jackson and illustrated by Katherine Tillotson
  • All the Way to Havana, written by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Mike Curato
  • The Antlered Ship, written by Dashka Slater and illustrated by The Fan Brothers
  • Before She Was Harriet, written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James Ransome
  • Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper
  • Blue Sky, White Stars, written by Sarvinder Naberhaus and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
  • The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
  • The Boy and the Whale by Mordicai Gerstein
  • Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, written by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James
  • Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion, written by Chris Barton and illustrated by Victo Ngai
  • A Different Pond, written by Bao Phi and illustrated by Thi Bui
  • Egg by Kevin Henkes
  • Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre
  • Grand Canyon by Jason Chin
  • Her Right Foot, written by Dave Eggers and illustrated by Shawn Harris
  • How It Feels to Be a Boat by James Kwan
  • How to Be an Elephant by Katherine Roy
  • Life, written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
  • Life on Mars by Jon Agee
  • The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (the Hard Way) by Patrick McDonnell
  • Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad, written by Emma Otheguy and iIllustrated by Beatriz Vidal
  • Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters, written by Michael Mahin and illustrated by Evan Turk
  • Now by Antoinette Portis
  • Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets, written by Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjory Wentworth and illustrated by Ekua Holmes
  • A Perfect Day by Lane Smith
  • Red Again by Barbara Lehman
  • The Ring Bearer by Floyd Cooper
  • Rivers of Sunlight: How the Sun Moves Water Around the Earth by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm
  • Robinson by Peter Sís
  • The Secret Project, written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Jeanette Winter
  • Stay: A Girl,  a Dog, a Bucket List, written by Kate Klise and illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney
  • Tony, written by Ed Galing and illustrated by Erin E. Stead
  • Triangle, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen
  • When’s My Birthday?, written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Christian Robinson
  • Who Am I?: An Animal Guessing Game by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
  • Windows, written by Julia Denos and illustrated by E. B. Goodale
  • The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen
  • Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell


About Julie Danielson, Martha Parravano, and Lolly Robinson

Julie Danielson, Martha Parravano, and Lolly Robinson are authors of the Calling Caldecott blog.



  1. Sam Juliano says:

    This magnificent kick-off list (one I am sure Robin would be proud of) does happen to include the lion’s share of my own favorite books of the entire year. While I love far more than ten, I will list here what I feel at this point are my own top choices, though there are several in the group I have not yet seen or have not been yet released (Muddy Waters for example). I continue to mourn the ineligibility of ‘Town is By the Sea’ because the illustrator is Canadian, while simultaneously applauding the Horn Book for giving it one of their own top awards this past year. Bravo! It is surely one of the year’s very best.

    Wolf in the Snow
    The Secret Project
    A Perfect Day
    Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets
    The Antlered Ship
    Life on Mars
    How to Be an Elephant

    Still hard for me to say which titles deserved to be added to this fabulous and extremely helpful list, but expanding the research will no doubt widen the pool from everyone’s perspective. I will say that Wendell Minor illustrated three wonderful books, and I’d have to believe all or at least two of the three for me deserve to be considered (The Seashore Book; How to Be a Bigger Bunny; Ben’s Revolution) and Helen Frost and Rick Lieder again collaborated on a magnificent poetry/photo book, Wake Up!. I would also give high marks to the Neil Gaiman/Divya Srinivasan work, Cinnamon. I do love Triangle, but am particularly interested in the other Klassen book as well as the Fogliano/Robinson collaboration and a book by Ed Young that Betsy Bird has been touting. But I need to see all of these. It appears to be shaping up as yet another awesome year for picture books. There are some other books I love, but it is too early in this gleeful process to broach them. 🙂

  2. Allison Grover Khoury says:

    OK, great – so glad to have the list! I’ll get busy and start looking at the books I haven’t seen yet. I haven’t been terribly excited about this year for some reason, so I’m hoping this list will rejuvinate me and I can get it together. Thanks.

  3. Thanks for the feedback, everyone (and for comin’ to the party).

  4. Allen Say’s Silent Days, Silent Dreams? Would generate a fascinating conversation, I think. Stephanie Graegin’s Little Fox in the Forest?

  5. Sam Juliano says:

    I beg your indulgence for a second comment on this thread.

    I wanted to add a few others I have gotten hold of copies of over the weekend. I feel all are Caldecott worthy. One of these is the one Monica Edinger cites above, Stephanie Graegin’s extraordinarily beautiful “Little Fox in the Forest”.

    Mighty Moby (Ed Young)
    Little Fox in the Forest (Stephanie Graegin)
    Creepy Pair of Underwear (Reynolds/Brown)
    Round (Joyce Sidman/Taeeun Yoo) This is gorgeous in every sense, but tricky as Yoo divides her time between the US and South Korea)
    That Neighbor Kid (Daniel Miyares)

    Since my previous comment I have discovered Blu Sky White Stars – The Ring Bearer – Grand Canyon – How to Be an Elephant – The Book of Mistakes – Muddy and When’s My Birthday?, all of which are fabulous titles. Like all the other readers I am working to get to all on the list.

  6. Sara Coffman says:

    I’m new to this discussion, so a short introduction: Sara Coffman, serving as Director of Learning Commons at a PreK-12 school in Chattanooga, TN. I’m fairly new to the position, having taught English for many years before making the jump to library, but I have followed the Newbery and Caldecott conversations for years and am pleased to have this resource. I just got When’s My Birthday the other day and love it, and not on this list (is it eligible?) is The Fog by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Kenard Pak. I’m a big fan of the artwork of Pak, so I’m rooting for it!

  7. Sara, I am pretty sure Pak is eligible. His books have been covered here previously (such as,

  8. Eric Carpenter says:

    I don’t see any comics on this year’s list. In terms of artistry I think my favorite of 2017 is GOOD NIGHT, PLANET by Liniers.

  9. Martha V. Parravano Martha V. Parravano says:

    Eric, I was just about to bemoan the fact that (Argentinian) Liniers isn’t eligible for the Caldecott — but I think he is! The bio in PLANET states that he now lives in Vermont. So, thanks for the heads-up, and we will get it covered. (And I wish he’d been living in Vermont when HENRIETTA was published!)

  10. Angela Moffett says:

    It looks like The Antlered Ship is illustrated by the Fan Brothers, who make their home in Toronto, Canada according to the jacket bio. I believe this makes it ineligible for the Caldecott. Is that right?

  11. I think they were born in the States, Angela. I can try to confirm.

  12. Happy to see many of my favorites in the guest list and comments. Here’s a few extras to consider :
    The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling by Timothy Basil Ering
    The Road Home by Katie Cotton
    This House, Once by Deborah Freedman
    Dad and the Dinosuar by Gennifer Choldenko
    Frederick Douglass: the Lion Who Wrote History by Walter Dean Myers (art technique is AWESOME)
    The Jelly Bean Tree by Toni Yuly
    I Just Want to Say Good Night by Rachel Isadora
    Nope by Drew Sheneman
    Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson
    Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines by Jeanne Walker Harvey

  13. For your consideration: A Greyhound, A Groundhog.

    Say what you will about the text, both those watercolor drawings are pure delight.

  14. Kazia Berkley-Cramer says:

    I haven’t seen it mentioned much at all this year, but has anyone read ALFIE by Thyra Heder? Our copy just came in and it’s such a lovely surprise. I’d love to know what folks think!

  15. Good morning, Calling Caldecott moderators!

    If, when you discuss THE SECRET PROJECT, you want to cite what I’ve written about it, please use the review I loaded today. It is more complete than the one I did in March.

  16. Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions. We certainly can’t cover everything, as you know, but we will make note of all recommendations.

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