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Tell us about your mock Caldecott results

Three mock Caldecott groups meeting at Harvard Graduate School of Education in fall 2017.

Every year we like to solicit responses from anyone who has held a mock Caldecott with their students, library patrons, or bookstore customers. The first few years of Calling Caldecott, I was in awe of Robin Smith’s annual mock Caldecott with second graders, but it seemed like so much work! Eventually, I took the plunge with my own (adult) children’s literature students, and now I wonder what I was so afraid of? The benefits FAR outweigh the logistical issues.

So now it’s your turn. What were the results of your own mock votes? If you’ve never held any, use the comments to ask for advice. To get that started, I offer some links below.

Finally, Colby Sharp’s 24-second video of his students waiting to hear the results of a 2015 mock Caldecott is the all-time best advertisement for why you should give this a try. He’s got it pinned to the top of his twitter page here. (Be ready to turn your volume down — the screams are deafening!)


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. Aye, Robin’s Mock Caldecott was the model for all. It is a lot of work, and I just today began the final preparation. Our voting will take place this coming Tuesday in our school’s gymnasium. I will be physically displaying 92 books from 2017 that are now owned, and were read/presented since this cycle commenced in late September. I also have referenced around 70 other titles (and will again read them off) secured from area libraries but since returned after they too were read. Of around 162 books, there were be twenty-five (25) that will end up as announced “winners” though in conforming with Caldecott regulations there will be only one Caldecott Medal winner. We’ve traditionally been very liberal with the number of Honor books, naming eight (8), based of course on the vote totals. Last year our gold medal winner was Vera Brosgol’s “Leave Me Alone.” We announced eight Honor winners as well. The point of naming twenty-five is to acknowledge the popularity of a large number of titles from such a deep pool. So one Gold, eight Honors and and sixteen other books that made the final cut gaining entrance to our 2017 “Hall of Fame.” As always the kids’ tastes does not reflect what I personally would choose as the year’s best books, though I still like almost all of these. From reading sessions and the celebratory response I already have no doubt that books like “Boo!”, “The Bad Seed” and the Creepy Carrots sequel will almost definitely finish formidably. At least two non-American books (always eligible by our rules) “The Blue Hour” (France) and “My Dog Mouse” (Sweden) appear to be wildly popular with the seven classes (five first grades and two second grades) adding up to a total of around 230 students.

    I will return here enthusiastically on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning with the final results.

  2. Amy Miele says:

    We are just heading into the last week of the reading and reviewing for our Mock Caldecott. We will vote the following week. This is the end to an intensive session of exploring many facets of what makes a picture book live in our hearts forever. We try to stay as close to the traditional Caldecott rules as possible, reading only(for these lessons) books published in America and illustrated by artists currently living in America. I present my around 300 first through third graders with a list of books chosen originally by me although I usually include a few student picks in the mix. We vote using ballots with a picture of all of the books we have been enjoying. I set up a little voting “booth” for private voting. After the voting we choose 1 gold medal winner and 3 or 4 honor books, depending on the closeness of the 3rd and 4th books. We have a fairly decent track record here. We predicted the win of Beekle, Winnie, Flotsam, Daisy, and This is Not my Hat. We didn’t get it right last year but we did pick Leave Me Alone and They All Saw a Cat for honor books. This year with some anonymous polling (through a white board polling station) we are leaning toward; Wolf in the Snow, After the Fall, Grand Canyon, Big Cat, Little Cat and A Different Pond. I can not wait to see the final voting tallies. And of course we are super excited to see what the committee announces in a couple of weeks.

  3. The greater Cincinnati-region Mock Caldecott took place on Thursday – we had around 70 librarians, teachers, and media specialists. We started with 25 titles, discussed in small groups, and narrowed it down to 8 titles for a final round of group discussion. The results:

    MOCK CALDECOTT MEDAL: A Perfect Day (Lane Smith)
    MOCK CALDECOTT HONORS: The Book of Mistakes (Corinna Luyken); A Different Pond (Thi Bui); A Greyhound, a Groundhog (Chris Appelhans); Wolf in the Snow (Matthew Cordell)

  4. Brian Wilson says:

    At the Evanston Public Library we had 19 children in grades 1 to 5 meet on 4 separate occasions. The final vote came down to 9 books.

    GOLD: Wolf in the Snow
    SILVER: Accident!; After the Fall; Big Cat, Little Cat; The Ring Bearer

  5. Our group’s award vote went to Mike Curato, the illustrator of Margarita Engle’s All the Way to Havana (Henry Holt and Company, 2017)
    Honors go to:
    Illustrator Keith Mallett –
    First time author Andrea J. Loney tells the story of an innovative photographer in Take a Picture of Me, James Vanderzee! (Lee and Low, 2017)
    Illustrator: John Rocco
    Fans of the forever popular writer Virginia Lee Burton will love this look at Burton’s life and artistry, Big Machines The Story of Virginia Lee Burton, by Sherri Dusky Rinker, with illustrations by John Rocco (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017).
    For more details about our group – the voting and these books visit this blog post at:

  6. Susan Dailey says:

    I conducted 2 Mock Caldecott Workshops in the Indianapolis area this week. On Friday, 35 public and school librarians attended an all-day session at the Carmel Clay Public Library. We examined 100 titles. The results:
    Blue Sky White Stars illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Sarvinder Naberhaus
    Honors (in alphabetical order by title):
    The Antlered Ship illustrated by Terry Fan & Eric Fan and written By Dashka Slater
    Flashlight Night illustrated by Fred Koehler and written by Matt Forrest Esenwine
    The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (the Hard Way) illustrated and written by Patrick McDonnell

    On Saturday, 15 school librarians attended a half-day session sponsored by the Hamilton County Council of the IRA. We examined 48 books. The results:
    A Perfect Day illustrated and written by Lane Smith
    Honors (in alphabetical order by title):
    After the Fall illustrated and written by Dan Santat
    Blue Sky White Stars illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Sarvinder Naberhaus
    The Three Billy Goats Gruff illustrated and written by Jerry Pinkney

  7. We had two Mock Caldecotts at the Takoma Park Maryland Library last week. First, on Monday evening, Jan. 22, our Caldecott Club for kids and adults re-read our eight finalists, then chose a winner. (Our finalists list was composed of the books that were voted best of the night for each month’s meeting during 2017; we usually read 4 books each month). The winner for our Caldecott Club Mock Caldecott was “Big Cat, Little Cat,” written and illustrated by Elisha Cooper. Mock Honors went to: “Jabari Jumps,” written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall, and “The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABCs (the Hard Way),” written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. Then, on Saturday, Jan. 27, a group of adults (and a couple of teens) gathered for our 4th annual Mock Caldecott for Adults. Alison Morris of First Book and I pulled together a list of 22 “finalists” which we read/skimmed and briefly discussed at the program before voting. Our Mock winner was “Little Fox in the Forest,” written and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin. Mock Honors went to: “A Different Pond,” illustrated by Thi Bui and written by Bao Phi; “Jabari Jumps,” written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall; and “The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse,” written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen. Can’t wait to find out the actual winners — I’ll be there in Denver!

  8. Allison Grover Khoury says:

    Our votes are the week of February 5. We always vote the week before the awards are announced. I’ll report back.
    I really enjoy the results everyone reports.

  9. Wolf in the Snow”, “The Antlered Ship” and “Little Fox in the Forest” score mightily in Fairview’s 2018 Mock Caldecott Vote:

    Matthew Cordell has been handed Fairview’s 2018 Mock Caldecott Gold Medal in the balloting of 216 first and second graders at the #3 Annex today for his nearly wordless picture book “Wolf in the Snow.” Dashka Slater; Eric Fan and Terry Fan’s “The Antlered Ship” and Stephanie Graegin’s “Little Shop in the Forest” both came within three votes of “Wolf” to score Caldecott Honors. The other Honor books were determined by a cut off in totals, allowing a total of nine books to win Honors. I have also listed the other thirty-three (33) books that received votes beyond a total of 20. 170 books were read and considered over the past four months.

    Caldecott Medal: Wolf in the Snow (Matthew Cordell)

    Caldecott Honor: The Antlered Ship Dashka Slater; Eric Fan; Terry Fan

    Caldecott Honor: Little Fox in the Forest (Stephanie Graegin)

    Caldecott Honor: Big Cat, Little Cat (Elisha Cooper)

    Caldecott Honor: Ana and the Sea Star (L. Roelfs; Jamie Hogan)

    Caldecott Honor: Crown (Derrick Barnes; Gordon C. James)

    Caldecott Honor: How to Be A Bigger Bunny (Florence Friedmann Minor; Wendell Minor)

    Caldecott Honor: The Hawk in the Castle (Danna Smith; Bagram Ibatoulline)

    Caldecott Honor: Red and Lulu (Matt Tavares)

    Caldecott Honor: Pony in the City (Wendy Wahman)

    The cut off of 255 total points in a weighted ballot for Wahman’s book, was followed by a dip into the 220’s where these titles finished from 224 down to 20. But when it is considered that 170 books were considered this group of thirty-three did extremely well:

    The Little Red Cat/ABC’s (Patrick McDonnell)
    After the Fall (Dan Santat)
    All the Way to Havana (Margarita Engle; Mike Curato)
    Creepy Pair of Underwear (Aaron Reynolds/ Peter Brown)
    The Five Forms (Barbara McClintock)
    A Perfect Day (Lane Smith)
    Egg (Kevin Henkes)
    The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet (Agra/Yelchin)
    Miguel’s Brave Knight (Margarita Engle; Raul Colon)
    Things to Do (Elaine Magliaro; Catia Chien)
    Boo! (Ben Clanton)
    Thank You Bees (Toni Yuly)
    I Have a Balloon (Ariel Bernstein; Scott Magoon)
    That is My Dream! (Langston Hughes; Daniel Miyares)
    A Different Pond (Bao Phi; Thi Bui)
    My Dog Mouse (Eva Lindstrom; Swedish)
    Town is By the Sea (Joanne Schwartz; Sydney Smith)
    The Unexpected Love Story/Alfred Fiddlesduckling ( T. Ering)
    The Blue Hour (Isabelle Simler; French)
    Bob, Not Bob (Liz Garton Scanlon; Audrey Glassman Vernick; Matthew Cordell)
    Wake Up! (Helen Frost; Rick Lieder)
    Life on Mars (Jon Agee)
    The Bad Seed (Jory John; Pete Oswald)
    The Secret Project (Jonah and Jeanette Winer)
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Jonah Winter; Stacy Innerst)
    The Boy and the Whale (Mordecai Gerstein)
    When’s My Birthday? (Jilie Fogliano; Christian Robinson)
    A Boy, a Mouse and a Spider (B. Herkert; Lauren Castillo)
    Dazzle Ships (Chris Barton; Victo Ngai)
    Windows (Julia Denos; L. B. Goodale)
    Robinson (Peter Sis)
    Anne of Green Gables (Jennifer Adams; Allison Oliver)

  10. Susan Dailey says:

    For more Mock Caldecott results, you can check the ALSC blog.

  11. Susan Dailey says:

    Here’s the web address for the ALSC blog:

  12. Thanks, everyone. Keep ’em coming.

    Susan, I saw that yesterday too. Thanks for thinking to share it here!

  13. Bill Wright says:

    Kensico School (Valhalla, NY), Mr. Wright’s third grade class here…

    MEDAL: Blue Sky, White Stars

    HONORS: Claymates, Grand Canyon, Red and Lulu

    Eagerly awaiting hearing the announcements on the 12th!

    Thank you Calling Caldecott (as well as the Fuse 8 blog) for all the help to me in choosing our initial list of books!

  14. Susan Dailey says:

    I conducted my third and final Mock Caldecott yesterday at the Wells County Public Library where I work. We are located in northeast Indiana. There were 41 participants and here are the results:

    After the Fall illustrated and written by Dan Santat
    Book of Mistakes illustrated and written by Corinna Luyken
    Claymates illustrated by Lauren Eldridge and written by Dev Pety
    Little Fox in the Forest illustrated and written by Stephanie Graegin
    The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (the Hard Way) illustrated and written by Patrick McDonnell

    Can’t believe I have to wait more than a week to find out the “real” winner! But I’m anxious to find out what we “Calling Caldecott-ers” pick.

  15. We just got our results on Friday. Since we do this in a public library our nomination system looks a little different. We look at all of the mock short lists and choose ten titles, trying to hit varying reading levels, of which people can vote for their top five. Then once voting is closed we weight those ballots and are left with one medalist and four honor titles. Our Caldecott picks this year are
    Medal: Little Fox in the Forest
    Honors: Big Cat Little Cat
    Wolf in the Snow
    Grand Canyon
    Over and Under the Pond

  16. Beleaguered School Librarian says:

    We are voting this week so I’ll post the results sometime over the weekend. We are voting on 12 nominees that I selected.

    However, I’m wondering for those of you who work in schools, particularly public schools, about the administrative support you receive. I’m impressed – and frankly amazed – at the number of books you are able to read and discuss and the high level of your discussions.

    Here at my NYC public school, my library was closed for 4 mornings in January and will be closed again for 4 mornings this month for mock testing. (Children with special accommodations get tested in the library – there are not enough rooms in the school. As usual, space constraints and real estate prices dictate much of NYC life.) The library is closed for meetings all too often. And sometimes classes just don’t come to library, often when the teacher is pressed to finish assessments by a certain date, or to do test prep.

    Is this just a NYC thing? (This happens at the other NYC public schools I’ve worked at, too.)

  17. The Mock Caldecott at our elementary school is finished, with the clear winner THE LEGEND OF ROCK PAPER SCISSORS. Honors went to AFTER THE FALL, BIG CAT LITTLE CAT, and CLAYMATES.

  18. The 5th graders at Alexandria Country Day School selected…

    Medal Winner:
    Claymates by Dev Petty and Lauren Eldridge

    Honor Books:
    Dazzle Ships by Chris Barton and Victo Ngai
    The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken

  19. Emmie Stuart says:

    It has been so fun reading all of the Mock Caldecott results! We’re voting today (last minute is this librarian’s modus operandi) and I’ll announce our school winner this afternoon right before dismissal.

    Here are a few things that we do in our library (a public elementary school in Nashville) that help the Mock Caldecott process run smoothly. Library testing, being crunched for time, and snow days can be definite obstacles…hopefully these ideas will be helpful!

    In late November and early December, I dedicate an entire class period (typically about 45 minutes) to the Caldecott Medal and the Caldecott process. During this lesson we discuss the history of the medal, the Caldecott Committee, past winners, and then we practice reading a picture book “like the Caldecott Committee”. In our library it’s called being a “Robin Reader”, after Robin Smith. Being a Robin Reader means looking at the book’s shape and size, feeling the cover, unfolding the book, noticing the endpapers, illustration techniques, fonts, etc. Calling Caldecott contributor Megan Dowd Lambert’s book “Reading Picture Books With Children” is a great resource for this lesson. During the last 15 minutes, I give each student a past Caldecott Winner and we go through the process together. I’ve found that laying this strong foundation helps the rest of the Mock Caldecott process run efficiently.

    Another tip is letting teachers borrow the books to read aloud to their classes. Several of my teachers enjoy reading one book right before dismissal each day. I make sure the teachers know how to be a Robin Reader. 😉

    I also have a Caldecott Corner in the library. I keep all of our nominees on a silver tray on the table. Students know that they can come in and look at the titles whenever they have free time during the day. A few teacher use this as a reward for students who finish their class work.

    Last tip – and this may not work for all public schools – I have an interactive white board. I buy the Kindle versions of the books for class read alouds. I hold the actual book in my hand while I read, but the size of the illustrations on the interactive white board are great for class read alouds.

    Each year I tweak the process. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. BUT it is one of “the most wonderful times of the year”.

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