Calling Caldecott 2022

Hello! We interrupt your Target shopping for all the spectacular Christian Robinson products to announce that it's time to kick off our Calling Caldecott season. We are happy you are here to join us in discussing All Things 2021 Picture Books! (Or, well, the Caldecott-eligible ones anyway.) We last saw you back in May, when we checked in to briefly note a few 2021 picture books of interest. 

If you are new to Calling Caldecott, welcome! What is our deal? you may wonder. We shine a spotlight — in anticipation of the ALA announcement in January of the winner of the 2022 Caldecott Medal — on the year’s most outstanding Caldecott-eligible picture books. We don’t have any crystal balls, Tarot cards, or even those old-school folded-paper constructions that children make with the numbers and flaps and surprise fortunes, usually devised to reveal your secret middle-school crush. (This is remarkably difficult to describe, but I just fell down the internet rabbit-hole and see that it goes by many names, including Salt Cellar and chatterbox. Wouldn’t it be fun to make a lavishly illustrated picture-book version of one of those?)

Because we don’t have any elaborate fortune-telling devices and because no one knows what the Real Committee will decide, we essentially sit on pretend committees in our minds and geek out about what we see, forever and always appreciating the picture book as the unique art form it is. If that’s your thing, you’re in the right place.

We have a host of talented writers who join us and write about these picture books. They are the Max to our Wild Rumpus. In other words, we couldn’t do this without them, and we love them so. We wrap it all up with a (very casual) mock vote to see which 2021 picture books are your favorites.

I had hoped the tone of this post would be significantly more upbeat than last year’s. We greeted you with joy in 2020 — because we are always glad to have you here — yet also acknowledged the year’s travails, including the pandemic and the ways in which it had upended our lives. I had hoped this year’s greeting would not involve any mention of it, but the virus is still with us. We hope all of you reading this, and the people you love, are safe and healthy.

And the pandemic still has a grip on the ways in which we access books. Those of you who regularly review picture books have likely spent most of this year reviewing digital copies or PDF versions of them. We have also seen this year how COVID-19 and its deviant best friend, the Delta variant, have delayed the publication of books for all ages. The pandemic continues to alter the working lives of many people, and publishing is no exception.

That is to say: we hope you have been able to get your hands this year on the books we plan to discuss, because we would love to hear your thoughts about them. As always, we will do our best to post about books in order of publication (books published early in 2021 will get our attention before books recently published) so that you can find copies and follow along.

Very soon, we will post the list of books we plan to discuss this year — with the understanding that, as always, the list is ever-evolving in nature. And we will hear next week from Michaela Goade, the 2021 Caldecott Medalist, to read about how her year has gone. We hope you’ll join us.

In the meantime, which 2021 Caldecott-eligible books have you fallen for? Let us know!

Julie Danielson
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.
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Free Access

Thanks, Martha and Kate, for the suggestions! -- Jules

Posted : Sep 10, 2021 12:08

Martha Lambertsen

Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham pub. 1/21 gorgeously shares a powerful & positive message.The Little Library by Margaret McNamara, ill. by G Brian Karas 3/21 champions reluctant readers.I am the Shark by Joan Holub, ill. by Laurie Keller 5/21 stunning illustrations and so informative & comprehensive for the many shark fans.

Posted : Sep 06, 2021 04:54

Kate Brasch

My favorite picture book of the year, by leaps and bounds, is The Night Walk by Marie Dorleans ~ but, as I understand it, because Dorleans is French, the book doesn't qualify for the Caldecott. So I go to my 2nd choice - another book I absolutely love for its quiet and design - A Boy Named Isamu by James Yang.Kate BraschChildren's Buyer ~ Tattered Cover Denver CO

Posted : Sep 05, 2021 08:08

Free Access

Thanks, Kate. You are right that Marie Dorléans is, unfornately, not eligible. I love that book too!

Posted : Sep 05, 2021 08:08


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