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Jerry Pinkney, the Lion of the Caldecott

The late Jerry Pinkney was a Caldecott giant, winning five Caldecott honors before striking gold with his historic 2010 win for The Lion and the Mouse. Let's take a moment — here on this blog that's all about the Caldecott — to appreciate his impact on the award as we remember a great...

Jerry Pinkney: A Tribute

We here at Calling Caldecott are tremendously sad to learn about the death yesterday of author-illustrator Jerry Pinkney at the age of 81. As noted in the NPR obituary, released last night, Pinkney illustrated over one hundred books in his magnificent career, which began in 1964 with the publication of...

Survivor Tree and This Very Tree: A Look at Two 9/11 Picture Books

We have seen numerous books about 9/11 published in 2021, 20 years after that tragic event. Included among those titles are two outstanding picture books about what is known as the Survivor Tree, the Callery pear tree that was buried underneath the rubble of the World Trade Center and nursed...


As a picture book author, whenever I write a new manuscript, I always fret about ensuring that my words leave room for an artist’s interpretation. Mượn Thị Văn’s words in Wishes are so powerful — yet incredibly spare (75 words in total). I can only wonder how Victo Ngai felt when she read them for the...

Yes & No

In my previous post about Matthew Cordell’s Bear Island, I noted that I had been on the 2018 Caldecott Committee, which picked Cordell's Wolf in the Snow as our medal winner. Now I’m looking at Elisha Cooper’s new book, Yes & No, and his Big Cat, Little Cat was one of our honor...

Have You Ever Seen a Flower?

If there were a comic about my first sighting of Shawn Harris’s Have You Ever Seen a Flower?, it would show my eyes as wide as the child’s on the cover, my mouth open far enough to be visible through a mask, and an oversized cumulus-style thought cloud floating above,...

Wonder Walkers

My deeply held beliefs on childhood, teaching, and education are rooted in the writings and methods of Charlotte Mason, a teacher living at the turn of the twentieth century. Miss Mason believed that children should spend as much time as possible outdoors, writing: “Never be within doors when you can rightly be...


Watercress is a powerful story about how memory flows between generations through the stories we tell and the experiences we share. Andrea Wang’s artfully restrained text serves the story well, evoking both the suppressed memories of the parents’ generation and the complex emotions roiling within their daughter. This gives illustrator Jason...

Someone Builds the Dream

I could tell from the dust jacket alone that Someone Builds the Dream, written by Lisa Wheeler, was something special. And after multiple readings, poring over Loren Long's illustrations and thinking about the text accompanying them, I still just plain love this book.   Long’s signature style, with its rich colors, careful...
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