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2018 Calling Caldecott ballot #1 and voting instructions


Drumroll, everyone. We are very close to the 2018 ALA Youth Media Awards announcements (Monday, February 12), during which we will find out the names of the books that impressed the 2018 Caldecott committee. This is one of those years where I’ve heard many people say, “My favorites change daily!” and “How will the real committee ever decide?” May those committee members be blessed with lots of coffee and energizing snacks.

Our Calling Caldecott ballot this year is a long-ish, meaty one. Just like last year, we have decided to err on the side of more, rather than less. Wrote Robin last year: We always want to include everything and miss nothing. We do NOT want to be surprised on awards day. Yes. That! Again! Ditto.

In two days — on Friday, February 2, at 9 a.m. — our ballot for voting will open. We hope that all of you, consistent commenters and lurkers alike, will vote. You will have the opportunity to choose the three books you think are the most distinguished picture books of the year. You do not have to have read all the books, though perhaps you can use this time (before our ballot opens) to head to a library or bookstore to read the ones you have yet to see with your own eyes.

We hope you send this link to all your friends and colleagues who love picture books as much as you do, and we hope you encourage them to vote. But please follow the rules and vote only once. And please, for the love of all things dear in this world, refrain from ballot-stuffing. This means we would like you to avoid sending this link to everyone you know to build support for the one book you love. That throws things way out of whack for those of us keeping up with the votes.

Here are the 25 titles on this year’s mock Caldecott ballot:

  1. After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat
  2. All the Way to Havana, illustrated by Mike Curato and written by Margarita Engle
  3. The Antlered Ship, illustrated by The Fan Brothers and written by Dashka Slater
  4. Before She was Harriet, illustrated by James E. Ransome and written by Lesa-Cline Ransome
  5. Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper
  6. Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton, illustrated by John Rocco and written by Sherri Duskey Rinker
  7. Blue Sky, White Stars, illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Sarvinder Naberhaus
  8. The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken
  9. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, illustrated by Gordon C. James and written by Derrick Barnes
  10. Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion, illustrated by Victo Ngai and written by Chris Barton
  11. A Different Pond, illustrated by Thi Bui and written by Bao Phi
  12. Egg by Kevin Henkes
  13. Grand Canyon by Jason Chin
  14. Her Right Foot, illustrated by Shawn Harris and written by Dave Eggers
  15. How to Be an Elephant by Katherine Roy
  16. Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin
  17. The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (the Hard Way) by Patrick McDonnell
  18. Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets, illustrated by Ekua Holmes and written by Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjory Heath Wentworth
  19. A Perfect Day by Lane Smith
  20. Robinson by Peter Sís
  21. The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney
  22. When’s My Birthday?, illustrated by Christian Robinson and written by Julie Fogliano
  23. Windows, illustrated by E. B. Goodale and written by Julia Denos
  24. Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell
  25. The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse, illustrated by Jon Klassen and written by Mac Barnett

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

Right now! Discussion of books on ballot
Friday, February 2 at 9 a.m. Ballot 1 open for voting
Monday, February 5 at 9 a.m. Voting on ballot 1 ends
Monday, February 5 in the afternoon Ballot 1 results announced on Calling Caldecott; ballot 2 list posted for discussion
Tuesday, February 6 at 9 a.m. Ballot 2 open for voting
Wednesday, February 7 at 9 a.m. Voting ends
Wednesday, February 7 around noon Calling Caldecott mock vote results posted

At this point, the Real Committee is busy rereading all their nominated books and making notes on what they appreciate and what concerns them. They start face-to-face deliberations soon. We wish them productive and passionate discussions, and how we wish we could be flies on the wall.

Happy voting!

As of 9:00 a.m. Friday, February 2, the ballot is open for voting!

Julie Danielson About Julie Danielson

Julie Danielson writes about picture books at the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. She also writes for Kirkus Reviews and BookPage and is a lecturer for the School of Information Sciences graduate program at the University of Tennessee. Her book Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, written with Betsy Bird and Peter D. Sieruta, was published in 2014.



  1. Allison Grover Khoury says:

    OK, this is exciting, but unfortunately I’m at at least 5 books, and I can’t budge. Heartbreaking agony and suffering starts now! Good thing I have a few days before the voting. Thanks to all 3 of you for excellent work and a very fine list. Thanks to the illustrators and writers for the very, VERY fine books.

  2. That’s a lot of male illustrators listed.

  3. There is not a single mis-step, as every book is fantastic. There are two books that received reviews in the Calling Caldecott line-up that are not on the ballot, but I am assuming you had to make decisions with the large number of worthy candidates. Yes there a some other books I really love too, but one can’t ask for a better nominating ballot than this one. Now to vote, ha, that is the killer!

  4. Sam Juliano says:

    “We wish them productive and passionate discussions, and how we wish we could be flies on the wall.”


  5. Where are the female illustrators? puzzled

  6. Paula Guiler says:

    What about Muddy? (ill. by Evan Turk) Such powerful imagery; an extraordinary example of expressionism. Such color saturation! Such a great marriage of text and illustration Can you add a #26???

    Paula Guiler
    North Canton City Schools
    North Canton, OH

  7. Blue Sky, White Stars blew me away, but my students were less than impressed.
    We all – adults and kids alike – loved After the Fall, so that would have to be my number 1 pick.
    I enjoyed The Antlered Ship, but the kids were kind of confused by it. I preferred the Fan Bros work on Hadfield’s The Darkest Dark.
    We all enjoyed All the Way to Havana, but it didn’t feel like a stand-out.
    I think my students’ two favorites were “Dazzle Ships” and “How to be an Elephant,” with the former probably in the lead a bit.
    A Perfect Day looks like an easy Caldecott winner to me. We all loved that one, too! I think it would be my number 2 pick.
    The kids didn’t respond to “When’s My Birthday,” although I thought the illustrations were lovely.
    I didn’t get a chance to share it with my students, but I thought “Crown” was fantastic.
    Not on this list, but an overwhelming favorite among my students is “Poor Louie” by Tony Fucile.

    Thinking about it, I’d probably go: After the Fall, A Perfect Day, Dazzle Ships.

  8. Julie Danielson, Martha Parravano, and Lolly Robinson says:

    Re: gender imbalance in awards: Yes, this has been a consistent pattern throughout the years. The Caldecott is won more often by men; the Newbery is won more often by women. Travis Jonker (of 100 Scope Notes) provided some numbers back in 2015:

    “These numbers are approximate, since I haven’t recalculated for the last two winners, but right around 66% of Newbery Medalists (note: not honor winners) are female. That number is almost exactly flipped for Caldecott Medalists, where approximately 66% are men.”

    See Calling Caldecott’s ratios this year: eighteen men vs. seven women. See Heavy Medal’s (the mock Newbery blog) ratios this year: thirteen women vs. five men. More men than women were on previous mock ballots here at Calling Caldecott. More males than females consistently win other major illustration awards. What accounts for this? How do we change it? All perennial questions. 

  9. Wolf in the Snow
    Three Billy Goats Gruff
    All the way to Havana

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