The 2022 Caldecott Announcement


The winner is Watercress, written by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Jason Chin, edited by Neal Porter, and published by Holiday House. Let's just sit with that cover a minute as we remember the impressive strengths of this book — for Caldecott purposes, the myriad ways Jason Chin's art amplified the text's already considerable emotional impact (for instance, that empty bench when the text says, "but it was still not enough"); the segues between present and past, including an ingenious use of the gutter; the use of light to highlight settings and set mood. 

The committee chose four honor books. They are:

Have You Ever Seen a Flower?, by Shawn Harris, published by Chronicle Books


Mel Fell, by Corey R. Tabor, published by Balzer + Bray, HarperCollins


Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre, written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, published by Carolrhoda


Wonder Walkers, by Micha Archer, edited by Nancy Paulsen, published by Penguin


Congratulations to all these books, each so deserving of Caldecott recognition! Seeing the winning covers together really brings home how stunning the books are. (For anyone unfamiliar with them, you can read the Horn Book reviews of them here.) And congratulations to the hard-working and discerning 2022 Caldecott committee. Thank you so much for your service.

And speaking of congratulations, the participants in our Mock Caldecott vote did very well. Our readers overwhelmingly chose Watercress as Calling Caldecott's winner, and our two honor books were Mel Fell and Unspeakable. You all should give yourselves a hand as well.


Let's dig a little deeper into the Caldecott results. Unlike last year, when a huge barrier was broken when Michaela Goade became the first BIPOC woman to win the Caldecott, this year may be less momentous. Jason Chin is already a Caldecott honoree for Grand Canyon and now joins Dan Santat and Ed Young as an Asian American Caldecott winner; as usual, there are more men than women artists represented (REALLY not sure if that will ever change); the number of honor books chosen is fairly typical.

But here are a few nuggets of interest. Watercress won not only the Caldecott Medal but also the Asain/Pacific American Award for Literature in the children's book category (and author Andrea Wang won a Newbery Honor for Watercress). Unspeakable won the Coretta Scott King Book Author Award (for Carole Boston Weatherford) AND the CSK Illustrator Award (for Floyd Cooper) AND was named a Sibert Honor Book. Sadly, Floyd Cooper died this past July. We will look into the incidence of an illustrator being award Caldecott recognition posthumously. As far as we know this is the first time.

So, this year may be groundbreaking yet. As we did last year, if we need to clarify or correct anything in this (hastily written!) post, we will be back to follow up tomorrow. If not, stay tuned to Calling Caldecott for the announcement of the annual Robin Smith Picture Book Prize.

A wonderful year for the Caldecott! Congratulations to all, again!

Martha V. Parravano and Julie Danielson
Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog. Julie Danielson, co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog, writes about picture books at the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.
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