A Quick Pause for Nominations

It's that time of year again at Calling Caldecott where we pause briefly in our coverage of 2020 picture books to ask for readers' input. What books that are eligible for the Caldecott are your current top favorites?

It's not been a typical year, to put it mildly. And award committees have surely had to make some adjustments, as the pandemic has thrown us all into a strange new all-virtual world. But so far in the process, at least, the Real Caldecott Committee will have been able to follow its system of (informal) suggestions and (formal) nominations that will eventually result in the body of books it will consider when the committee makes its deliberations in January. (Whatever that will look like this year!)

Just to briefly recap the official Caldecott system: suggestions by committee members have been accumulating for months, in order to put titles of interest on the radars of fellow committee members. A committee member may suggest as many or as few titles as they wish:  

"The Chair solicits suggestions of eligible titles from committee members, usually on a monthly basis. Each time, committee members are asked to suggest books deemed to be strong contenders based on the award criteria."

Nominations are more formal, and occur in a much more regimented way, as follows:

"Prior to the Midwinter Selection Meeting the Chair will request three rounds of nominations from committee members. Committee members will be asked to nominate 3, 2, and 2 books (for a total of 7 distinct nominations) and to provide justification for each book."

(You can read about the process in more detail in the manual.)

Here at Calling Caldecott, we won't attempt to replicate exactly this (very thorough and effective!) system of suggestions and nominations. But as we did last year, let's pause briefly so that each of you can nominate eligible titles, if you so choose. In the comments, name four of your top contenders. We'll ask for three more nominations in mid-December. That way, if you want to participate, you will end up "nominating" seven titles, just as the Real Committee members will. (Written justifications for your nominations are not necessary in order to participate, however.)

Again: it's an unprecedented time. Access to physical books is limited. Those of us who usually see dozens -- even hundreds -- of picture books may have seen far fewer this year. And it may be harder to get a handle on the relative merits of books when you can't physically sort them into piles or spread them out on a table. But of the 2020 books you've encountered or seen covered so far here on Calling Caldecott, what would your top four choices be at the moment? Remember, you will have a chance to add three more book choices next month. Please let us know in the comments. And thank you, as ever, for your participation.

Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.
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