2024 Calling Caldecott Mock Ballot — Now Open!

It's been one heck of a Calling Caldecott season. Since we kicked things off on September 5, with the help of our ever-brilliant and dedicated contributors, we have covered twenty-five individual books plus many others in discussions that have touched on folklore, awards (the National Book Award for Young People's Literature), and annual "best ofs" (the New York Times/New York Public Library's Best Illustrated Children's Books). We've talked about the Caldecott evaluation criteria from a variety of perspectives and looked at distinguished books that were ineligible for the Caldecott. We've also acknowledged the books that are eligible, but that we didn't have time to discuss. (So many books, so little time!

And now, we try to pull it all together, gather our thoughts on what we think stands out as the most distinguished American picture books of the year. We are not the real Caldecott committee, but we will attempt to mimic the actual committee's process by presenting you all with a ballot from which you must choose three titles, ranking them in order from first to third. The reason for that is that first-place choices (with 4 points) are more heavily weighted than second- (3 points) and third-place (2 points) choices.

Of course, we are not mimicking the actual process. Far from it! The Real Committee will discuss and discuss and discuss before they vote, often into the wee hours. I'm sure there are coffee and snacks, and plenty of debates and discussions. Oh, to be a fly on the wall! They will then take the winnowed-down roster of titles that results from that vote and discuss again; they will then take another vote...and continue to do so until they have a clear first-place winner. (For a complete explanation of the process, see — as ever! — the Caldecott manual.) 

We ask you to remember that Calling Caldecott's is a mock vote. Mock, meaning "not real." It is not predictive. It has no bearing on the real world, or on the committee's deliberations and choices. We hold the vote so that the blog's readers can feel part of the process. You've stuck with us for nearly five months; thank you for all those who commented on the blog or on social media.  It's all about process, not outcome. So, as we ask every year, please refrain from engaging in or promoting ballot stuffing. It's pointless and counterproductive.

And now that you've read that lengthy preamble, here is the list of twenty-one books on our mock ballot: 

An American Story (Dare Coulter)

Beautiful Noise: The Music of John Cage (Il Sung Na)

Big (Vashti Harrison)

Evergreen (Matthew Cordell)

Fungi Grow (Diana Sudyka)

Game of Freedom: Mestre Bimba and the Art of Capoeira (Duncan Tonatiuh)

I'm From (Oge Mora)

In the Night Garden (Carin Berger)

Jumper: A Day in the Life of a Backyard Jumping Spider (Jessica Lanan)

Mine! (Eric Rohmann)

Nell Plants a Tree (Daniel Miyares)

Night in the City (Julie Downing)

Once Upon a Book (Grace Lin)

Remember (Michaela Goade)

The Skull (Jon Klassen)

Stars of the Night: The Courageous Children of the Czech Kindertransport (Selina Alko)

There Was a Party for Langston (Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey)

Tomfoolery!: Randolph Caldecott and the Rambunctious Coming-of-Age of Children's Books (Barbara McClintock)

The Tree and the River (Aaron Becker)

A Walk in the Woods (Jerry Pinkney and Brian Pinkney)

We Are Here (Bryan Collier)

When you have made your final three choices, in ranked order, head here for the ballot. 

The ballot closes Tuesday, January 16, at noon (ET). We will announce the winners on Wednesday, January 17, at noon.

Happy voting, everyone!

Julie Hakim Azzam and Martha V. Parravano
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