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A Big Mooncake for Little Star

Jules got to write the Magazine review for this book, so I need to thank her for letting me take it on for Calling Caldecott. It has been on my top five list since I first saw it in the Horn Book office. It’s the story of Little Star, who helps her mother bake an […]

Nothing Stopped Sophie

Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain (written by Cheryl Bardoe) is the story of the groundbreaking self-taught mathematician and physics pioneer Sophie Germain, whose work on the concept of vibration patterns made her the first woman to win a grand prize from France’s distinguished Royal Academy of Sciences. It’s a truly […]

Blue

Texture and depth pulled me into Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s Blue, and texture and depth are what carried me through (and then back to the beginning, and then through again). Picking it up for the first time, my immediate instinct was to manipulate the book — to feel its weight, to run my fingers over the […]

The 2018 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books list

Did you all see on Friday the 2018 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books list? I’ve said this before, but the announcement of this award, along with the return to hot cocoa and turning the clocks back an hour, is one of my favorite things about fall. This year’s winners are: Dreamers, […]

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

As we watch the news and scroll through social media, it seems like everyone has an opinion on what it means to be indigenous, but the voices shouting loudest and being heard the clearest are not indigenous voices. How do we share with children what it means to be a contemporary indigenous person? How can […]

Drawn Together

I was instantly intrigued when illustrator Dan Santat described on social media how he developed the display type for Drawn Together, writing, “It originates from the original Thai alphabet. Then I integrated Western alphabet components into the design to show a melding of cultures. Lastly, for design reasons, I modified certain characters for legibility.” This […]

Water Land: Land and Water Forms Around the World

I saw the cover and a single preview page of Christy Hale’s Water Land online and thought gleefully (and a little smugly) to myself that Hale probably had no idea she’d put together a perfect Montessori picture book. It’s just like our Water and Land Forms! Simple! Elegant! Clean! If only she knew! Once I finally pored […]

Hawk Rising

If the flight of a hawk is poetry in motion, then this book is, too. Author Maria Gianferrari provides the poetry, and illustrator Brian Floca provides the hawk in motion. Parallel stories are at work here: Father Hawk hunts, while Mother Hawk stays with their chicks; a human girl, binoculars in hand, observes the hawk, […]

They Say Blue

Have you noticed? This is a powerhouse year for the Caldecott. We are seeing so many spectacular books worthy of Caldecott recognition — and many are illustrated by women. Jillian Tamaki’s They Say Blue is one of those extraordinary picture books. Although we know Tamaki’s work from of the Caldecott Honor-winning graphic novel This One Summer, They Say Blue is her first picture book […]

The View from Robin’s Rocking Chair

Robin Smith, my wife, co-founded Calling Caldecott, and when she died last year, I knew that each fall would have me wondering which current picture books Robin would love most. The way I decide is to think of Robin’s rocking chair, painted in vivid reds and yellows and greens by Alabama outsider artist Chris Clark […]