Taking a Peek at 2018 . . .

Have you had a chance to catch your breath since the announcement of the 2018 Caldecott winners? Speaking of which, I highly recommend this video that newly minted Caldecott Medalist Matthew Cordell released, thanking the Real Committee. (Hoooowl!)

The first part of the year feels like it’s flown by, hasn’t it? It is already March, and before we know it, we’ll probably be reading about 2019 Caldecott predictions somewhere on the big, wide world of the interwebs. Whew.

Here at Calling Caldecott, we’ll be back in full swing again later in the year. Around August is when we really dive in and start discussing the books people are talking about as contenders. But that doesn’t stop us from taking a look at what’s ahead (and already here) in the world of picture books. We plan to check in with you all every month and see what’s being published and what looks intriguing.

Since we’re already three months into the year, let’s look now at some books with January to March publication dates. Below are some we’ve seen that have caught our eye.

Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten (January). The soft-focus graphite illustrations are by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (the artist responsible for the 2013 art series Stop Telling Women to Smile). Written by musician Laura Veirs, this book is about the life of the self-taught African American guitarist responsible for “Freight Train,” one of the world’s most iconic folk songs.

Baby Monkey, Private Eye (February), illustrated by Brian Selznick. Does your head spin from trying to categorize this one? This book, which Selznick created with David Serlin, has received starred reviews all around and is a blend of picture book, graphic novel, and beginning reader.

The Prince and the Dressmaker (February) by Jen Wang. Yes, a graphic novel! We all know from the groundbreaking 2015 Caldecott year that graphic novels can receive Caldecott love. The art in this one is exquisite.

Seeing into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright (February) by Nina Crews. Crews shares her appreciation for Richard Wright’s haiku, written late in his life, with photo-collage illustrations, laid out in beguiling overlapping frames featuring brown-skinned boys in nature.


Hello Hello (March) by Brendan Wenzel. A 48-page parade of animals on display — creatures from around the world, many of them endangered. The narrative’s construction is such that page-turns are compelling and readers are reminded that creatures all over the globe are connected in ways we may not have imagined.

Honey by David Ezra Stein (March) – Ah, this is a sequel to Leaves, published in 2007 (and one of my favorite picture books ever). I’m so happy to see Bear again.

Islandborn (March), illustrated by Leo Espinosa (born in Colombia but living here in the States). Written by Junot Díaz, this is about one girl’s exploration of identity and her attempts to learn more about the island where she was born.

This Is the Nest That Robin Built (March) by Denise Fleming. After nearly thirty years of paper-making, Fleming tries a new medium in this original cumulative tale.


What have you seen early in 2018 that you like? Let us know in the comments — and come back in April for more new books to keep an eye on.

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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Elisa Gall

Yep, Bolivar was totally 2017. I guess you can all put me in the bucket of people still writing 2017 on stuff. Thanks for the correction, Jules!

Posted : Mar 10, 2018 07:38

Julie Danielson

Elisa: Good point. I assumed Tamaki was still eligible, but I'm not sure. Bolivar is a 2017 publication, yes? I will look up the others! I've only seen some of them. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. Some of the ones named above are on our radar, but we're taking this month by month. We'll be sure to include them later.

Posted : Mar 10, 2018 06:23

Elisa Gall

I'm down with what everybody has shared already. I was a big fan of They Say Blue but am wondering about eligibility. Tamaki is Canadian and currently lives in Canada, correct? (I remember she lived in NYC when This One Summer was published.) Others on my watch list (haven't seen them all IRL) that come to mind & I'm interested to hear what people think about are Bolivar, Martin Rising, Be Prepared, A Gift from Abuela, Black Girl Magic: a Poem, Black Bird Yellow Sun, The Dragon Slayer, Lena's Shoes Are Nervous, and The 5 O'Clock Band.

Posted : Mar 10, 2018 04:01

Allison Grover Khoury

Very exciting. I'm so glad there will be posts from time to time. Thank you. The months between the awards and early September have felt very long in the past. This will be great.

Posted : Mar 09, 2018 07:38

Fuse #8

Brian already mentioned most of mine. I'd give some love to Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love, If I Had a Horse by Gianna Marino, and New Shoes by Chris Raschka as well.

Posted : Mar 06, 2018 02:58

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