Rachel Payne

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Red

Arguably one of the hardest things Caldecott committee members must do is put previous books by prolific illustrators out of their heads. While Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger stands gloriously on its own, will the committee be able to put aside the experience of reading Green, which won a 2013 Caldecott...

Board Book Roundup: Young at Heart

The conventional wisdom is that board books are for birth to three years, and I’m a firm believer that board books need to be developmentally appropriate for their audience (see my November/December 2019 column “Board Books Build Brains”). Board books are, at their core, for babies and toddlers. But is...

In the Woods

We’ve already had a half dozen nature-themed books highlighted at Calling Caldecott, and there are at least that many still to come! Will In the Woods, a poetry collection exploring woodland life during the course of a year, be a stand-out in this impressive field? Veteran illustrator Rob Dunlavey has built his career...

Packs: Strength in Numbers

Hannah Salyer may not be a name you know, but her book, Packs: Strength in Numbers, is a rarity. It’s a debut picture book by a young and talented illustrator receiving award buzz. She has already been featured in interviews at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast and Kirkus. With fluid lines created...

Board Book Roundup: Board Books Build Brains

They rarely win awards. Few make it to the annual “best of” lists. They get stepped on, chewed, drooled on, and thrown. Their core audiences may not remember a word of them in a few scant years. Their pages are frequently viewed out of order. But board books are some...

Out of Wonder

Ekua Holmes burst on the children’s book scene in 2015 with her phenomenal debut, the multiple award–winning — including a Caldecott Honor — Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement (written by Carole Boston Weatherford). But she didn’t come out of nowhere. She was an established fine...

Banquets and bling

Continuing with this series of behind-the-scenes of the Caldecott committee, I thought it would be fun to give you peek at the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder Banquet, which took place just last month at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. (If you haven’t yet, please read Javaka Steptoe’s Caldecott speech and Martha’s post...

The Good, the Bad, and the Self-Published: Could an Indie Picture Book Win the Caldecott?

Right about now, the 2018 Caldecott chair is likely receiving a steady trickle of self-published books in the mail. Yes, these books are completely eligible for the award! As long as their illustrators are American, that is. But is this an exercise in futility? Could a self-published picture book actually win?...

It's Raining Books

The 2018 Caldecott committee is likely getting some interesting parcels right about now. Brown cardboard boxes, shiney red bubble-wrap envelopes, annoying padded mailers that spew paper fibers all over the place when opened. The book deluge has begun. As Karen MacPherson (who served with me on Caldecott 2016) remembers, “It was...
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