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And we’re off!

Hello again! If you saw Tuesday’s post from earlier this week, during which we officially kicked things off, you know that we are back today to bring you all a list of books we plan to cover this Calling Caldecott season.

Below is that preliminary list of eligible books we hope to discuss this year. Please remember that this is not a definitive list. We will most likely add titles, especially based on the feedback we get from commenters. Something special may also pop up between now and the end of the year, a book we feel compelled to write about. Some of the books below could even drop off of our list. Essentially, we always want to welcome new titles, and we don’t want to stubbornly cling to books that are no longer relevant.

Also, other more topical posts will pop up during the fall and winter. For instance, this has been a strong year for picture-book biographies, so we may very well devote an entire post to that. Comics and graphic novels, too.

As we always like to remind readers, there is no science behind this. There are many factors that go into deciding what we’ll cover at the blog in a given year. Is it a book that is high on our respective lists of superb 2018 books—that is, Martha’s list, Lolly’s list, and Jules’s list? Is it a book lots of people are discussing? Is it outstanding in one way or another? Was it created via an interesting artistic medium? Most of all, however, we keep the Caldecott criteria in mind. Always. That is, we and our guest posters are going to cover what we think are the most distinguished books of the year.

And we also want to hear from you about your favorites. So, without further ado, here’s our preliminary list, and please do weigh in below in the comments.

  • Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse (Corinna Luyken)
  • Alma (Juana Martinez-Neal)
  • Be Prepared (Vera Brosgol)
  • A Big Mooncake for Little Star (Grace Lin)
  • Blue (Laura Vaccaro Seeger)
  • The Day You Begin (Rafael López)
  • Drawn Together (Dan Santat)
  • Dreamers (Yuyi Morales)
  • The Field (Jacqueline Alcántara)
  • Fox + Chick: The Party (Sergio Ruzzier)
  • Hawk Rising (Brian Floca)
  • Hello Hello (Brendan Wenzel)
  • Hello Lighthouse (Sophie Blackall)
  • Hey, Kiddo (Jarrett J. Krosoczka)
  • A Home in the Barn (Jerry Pinkney)
  • A House That Once Was (Lane Smith)
  • Imagine! (Raúl Colón)
  • Julián Is a Mermaid (Jessica Love)
  • Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten (Tatyana Fazlalizadeh)
  • Martin Rising: Requiem for a King (Brian Pinkney)
  • New Shoes (Chris Raschka)
  • Nothing Stopped Sophie (Barbara McClintock)
  • Otis and Will Discover the Deep (Katherine Roy)
  • A Parade of Elephants (Kevin Henkes)
  • Pie Is for Sharing (Jason Chin)
  • The Prince and the Dressmaker (Jen Wang)
  • Seeing into Tomorrow (Nina Crews)
  • Stop That Yawn! (LeUyen Pham)
  • The Stuff of Stars (Ekua Holmes)
  • They Say Blue (Jillian Tamaki)
  • This Is the Nest That Robin Built (Denise Fleming)
  • Water Land: Land and Water Forms Around the World (Christy Hale)
  • We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga (Frané Lessac)
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. Susan Savory says:

    I would love to add some of my favorites to your already stellar list…
    = The Digger and the Flowers (Joseph Kuefler)
    = Mabel and Sam at Home (Linda Urban)
    = Forever or a Day (Sarah Jacoby)
    = Thank you, Omu (Oge Mora)
    = Carmela Full of Wishes (Matt de la Pena)
    And, while I know it’s apt to be controversial, I think that Leo Espinoza’s illustrations for Islandborn (Junot Diaz) are exceptional.

  2. Excting. I’m trying to think if there are any others I love and would like to see incuded. I guess I can post again.

  3. Thom Barthelmess says:

    I love many on your list but my favorite (American) picture book of the year is WHAT CAN A CITIZEN DO? with illustrations by Shawn Harris, written by Dave Eggets. I hope it will get some attention, here and elsewhere!

  4. My Hair is a Garden (Cozbi A. Cabrera) and Be Prepared (Vera Brosgol) are fantastic as well.

  5. Sam Juliano says:

    Welcome Back Julie and the Calling Caldecott committee for what will surely be another year examining an inordinate number of picture book treasures!

    Like most I am still in the discover stage, and though I have either held some of the books on this list in my hands or have seen the art through other means, I still need to get to many on this lineup. I am prepared to make several observations and sentiments:

    The Julie Fogliano/Lane Smith collaboration “A House That Once Was” is without any question for me one of the great books of this past decade and one in spirit, emotion and pictorial resplendence to stand with the illustrator’s previous masterpiece “Grandpa Green.” It is a true partnership here though as Fogliano’s aching language is as integral as Smith’s resplendent art. I still have not recovered from this book.

    I can’t say how thrilled I am to see Frane Lessac’s “We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga” on this as recognition for her sublime artistry is a breakthrough of sorts at CC. I graduated the same year in the same New Jersey High School with Frane, and she will be making a second appearance this fall at the school I teach at to present her new books to some lower grade classes.

    Raul Colon’s “Imagine”, Barbara McClintock’s “Nothing Stopped Sophie,” Sophie Blackall’s “Hello Lighthouse,” Yuyi Morales’ “Dreams” and Ekua Holmes’ “The Stuff of Stars” are towering works, each a tour de force for their creators, as is the unlisted latest Burleigh-Minor collaboration “Night Train Night Train” due to street on October 9th. Can’t wait to see Sergio Ruzzier’s new book as well!

    There are plenty of others here that look fantastic, but as I say like others I have only starting to sort things out.

  6. Carol Munro says:

    Not HEARTBEAT by Evan Turk? Standout art in that one, I thought.

  7. Susan Savory says:

    I’d like to add a few favorites to your already impressive list –
    • The Digger and the Flower (Joseph Kuefler)
    • Mabel and Sam at Home (Linda Urban)
    • Forever Or a Day (Sarah Jacoby)
    • Thank You, Omu (Oge Mora)
    • Carmela Full of Wishes (Matt de la Pena)
    And, while it’s bound to be controversial, l think Leo Espinoza’s illustrations for Junot Diaz’s Islandborn are exceptional.

  8. What about This Is My Eye by Neela Vaswani? It’s photography. I second Islandborn. I love The Girl and the Dress but Julie Morstad may be ineligible (I think she’s Canadian). Iver & Elssworth (Melissa Larson). (I think Iver must be Amos McGee’s brother.) Lucy and the String (Vanessa Roeder).

    I wish Madeline Kloepper of tiny, perfect things was eligible but alas, Canadian.

  9. I haven’t seen Zola’s Elephant yet but it also looks beautiful. And what about Saffron Ice Cream?

  10. I love your list, especially The House That Once Was and Hello Lighthouse. I can’t wait to read Hey, Kiddo, and I would definitely agree with adding The Digger and the Flower. I also just read Good Rosie! by Kate DiCamillo and fell completely in love with it. So many great books!

  11. Sam Juliano says:

    Another book I feel is major for 2018, and I pose to add it here:

    Ocean Meets Sky (Fan brothers)

  12. Thanks for the comments, everyone!

  13. Tiffany Patterson says:

    Drawn Together is amazing! Also The day you begin is wonderful too!

  14. Love, love these titles and illustrations. There are always so many wonderful children’s books and ever year the pool grows larger! We’re from a smaller publisher but I dare suggest that illustrator Carol Quirk (while battling lymphoma) has drawn exceptional illustrations in Who Will Roar If I Go? See to peek at these beautiful endangered animals!

  15. I hope you’ll take a look at Let the Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson. The artwork by Frank Morrison is stunning; my five-year-old actually teared up when the children were marched to jail! And with the recent protests stemming from the Parkland school shootings, the topic couldn’t be more relevant!

  16. Vicky Gudelot says:

    Fan brothers aren’t eligible 🙁

  17. THE ROUGH PATCH by Brian Lies. The art is exquisite.

  18. Cardboard Kingdom was a graphic novel that I would like to hear discussed for Caldecott.

  19. A wonderful list with some known treasures and many to explore…and I was thrilled to see We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga on your shortlist. Frané Lessac is a joyous yet powerful illustrator; books like these, which create magical, safe and honest worlds for children to explore, are vital right now as we struggle to teach how to accept, if not traverse, cultural differences.

  20. How about “The Greatest Adventure” by Tony Piedra?

    (Disclosure: I’m a tad biased since I’m the author and illustrator 🙂

  21. Sam Juliano says:

    Vicky Gudelot:

    The Fan Brothers most definitely ARE eligible as the book community well knows after prior discussions. They were born in the US, hence are US citizens, though they have chosen to live and work in Canada for the time being.

  22. Emily Mills says:

    I highly recommend that The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld be added to the list! It may be very minimal but the message of dealing with grief is so poignant and important. I’m frankly obsessed with it!

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