Beekle wins 2015 Caldecott Medal


The actual results are in. The Real Committee has spoken! And now it's time for us all to cheer and mourn and weigh in (in the comments).

Here are the books the committee chose:

The Adventures of Beekle
written and illustrated by Dan Santat

Nana in the City written and illustrated by Lauren Castillo
The Noisy Paintbox by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mary GrandPre
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
Viva Frida written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales
The Right Word by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Martha Parravano, Lolly Robinson, and Robin Smith
Martha Parravano, Lolly Robinson, and Robin Smith are the authors of the Horn Book's Calling Caldecott blog.
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Sam Bloom

Folks, all the complaining about This One Summer seems to point to one thing: we have a very narrow view of our age range. The age range is 0-14, and I surely feel that this book falls into that age range. So what's the problem? Say you're an elementary teacher and you are talking to your students about the winners/honors: good for you. And sorry that you may (or may not) feel awkward about mentioning this book to the young kids, but that isn't the fault of the Real Committee! I've spoken with middle schoolers about past Newbery Honors, and I've touched on the fact that Frog & Toad won, and the world did not end. You can mention that a book for older readers won a Caldecott Honor, even say the name to 1st or 2nd or 3rd graders, and the world will not end. Or, don't mention it at all. Either way, it will be okay. Me? I'm offended that the Caldecott committee stole our thunder. We thought we were pretty cool with 5 honors, and then a couple committees later, BOOM. 6 honors. We're totally forgotten. Thanks a lot, Jonathan! ;-)

Posted : Feb 05, 2015 07:33

Susan Dailey

I can't imagine how difficult it is to choose even 7 books in any given year so kudos to the committee. However, I am disturbed (disappointed? concerned?) that a "teen" book was honored as a Caldecott. I can't help feeling that books for older readers are encroaching on an award meant for children. (And yes I know that this award goes to books for children up to age 14, but from what I've read, "This One Summer" barely squeaks into the age range.) I wonder what would happen if a Newbery Committee chose an honor book meant strictly for preschoolers. Would that be viewed as a brave/bold choice? I doubt that we'll ever know. I checked the last 20 years of Newbery winners and the closest seems to be "Show Way" by Jacqueline Woodson, which SLJ recommends for kdg. to grade 5. (I'm not sure how I feel about a graphic novel winning a Caldecott honor, but I can understand those who argue they are eligible.) On a different topic, did this committee achieve another first in recognizing a book of photography? Should we consider "Viva Frida" by Yuyi Morales as such? The photographer Tim O'Meara isn't mentioned in the YMA press release, but is listed as an illustrator in my library's catalog.

Posted : Feb 05, 2015 12:47

Jonathan Hunt

I would like to address the false either/or conundrum presented earlier in the comments, that is, that the six honors are either evidence of a strong year or a weak committee. In any given year, there are at least a couple dozen books worthy of Caldecott recognition of one kind or another, regardless of whether that year is considered strong or weak. Thus, I do not necessarily believe that there is a correlation between the strength of the year and the number of honor books, nor should there necessarily be one. That can certainly be a factor in the choosing of the honor books, but it is one factor of many. Roger said that it is more work to choose fewer honor books, and that too is not necessarily true. It is more difficult emotionally to choose fewer honor books, and the most difficult decision is to choose only one honor book because it's hard to invest so much time and effort into the process and come up with only two books to celebrate. I misspoke, however, as it is not really the most difficult decision that a committee can make. The most difficult decision has never been made yet: to recognize no honor books. Many committees could easily name a single honor book and arguably should have based on how the votes fell, but they deliberately chose to climb down the ladder for two, three, or four honor books for a more satisfying list--and the farther down the ladder you climb the less likely it is that the books are genuinely clumped together in such a way as to suggest that fewer honor books could not not have been named. Five honor books are as rare as a single honor book for two reasons. First, the farther you climb down the ladder, the further away you move from consensus. And second, there is an enormous amount of peer pressure to not be the committee that lacked self-control, to not be the committee that tried to appease all of its disparate factions (although that charge could probably also be leveled at many of the 2-4 honor book committees if we could only see their deciding ballots). Depending on a committee's reasons for choosing five honor books, this decision can be just as difficult emotionally as choosing a single honor book. Five honor books can be a sign of a weak committee, but not necessarily. Six honor books (like zero honor books) is unprecedented in the history of the Caldecott, and leaving aside the individual merit of the chosen books (and the unchosen books, too) I'm quite pleased that in its quest for the most distinguished picture book for children the Caldecott committee did the following in an organic fashion: (1) We became the first Caldecott committee to recognize three illustrators of color--and in so doing we recognized as many as the last seven committees put together and chose the first Medal winner since Jerry Pinkney in 2010, (2) We became the first Caldecott committee to recognize five female illustrators--there were only 12 in the previous decade so we accomplished almost half of that in a single year, (3) We became the first Caldecott committee to recognize a graphic novel, and (4) Our choices demonstrate the full breadth of our charge--from books to preschoolers (NANA IN THE CITY, VIVA FRIDA) to books for middle schoolers (THIS ONE SUMMER), from a pair of the most child-friendly titles in recent memory (BEEKLE, SAM & DAVE) to ones with decidedly narrower audiences but not necessarily less appreciative ones (THE NOISY PAINT BOX, THE RIGHT WORD)--there is literally a book for everyone on this list. I wish that every committee could be so weak! :-)

Posted : Feb 04, 2015 06:29

Roger Sutton

Well, sure, Jonathan--you can do a lot with seven books ;-)

Posted : Feb 04, 2015 06:29


Congratulations Jonathan, outstanding selections. This experience had to be different than Printz committee 2008 and Newbery committee 2006. Well done and you and the committee are to be commended. You could almost say Right Word is NF, a favorite genre of yours ;-))

Posted : Feb 04, 2015 06:29

Sam Juliano

Jonathan Hunt, if I can say so Sir, in the spirit of Jen Bryant's and Melissa Sweet's THE RIGHT WORD that was one brilliant, terrific, spectacular, awesome, visionary, transcendent comment!!!!!! Kudos to you, Sir!!!

Posted : Feb 04, 2015 06:29

Lisa Yee

Thank you for your insight into the selection process Jonathan. I always wonder what goes on behind those closed doors, and your insider's view was enlightening.

Posted : Feb 04, 2015 06:29


My heart is a bit broken over The Farmer and the Clown, but that disappointment was balanced out by the surprise inclusion of The Noisy Paintbrush, which was one of my favorite books of the year. Perhaps Beekle is a book with more child appeal than Farmer and the Clown?

Posted : Feb 04, 2015 07:01

Sam Juliano

Rebecca, I would suggest that BEEKLE does have more child appeal that FARMER; for me it is the more deserving book, the more imaginative book, the more metaphorical book, the more visionary book, though I do love the deeply moving FARMER quite a bit. Last year on this very same wrap-up thread I moaned and complained and expressed quite a bit of indignation when Peter Brown's MR. TIGER GOES WILD was completely left out of the winner's circle, and the discussion regrettably got quite heated. Most told me that the committee had spoken, while a few suggested that the committee members in all likelihood "found things" that may have caused invalidation, even for example a reversed gutter on one of the spreads. The discussion escalated to the point where some of the respondents intimated that the "system works" (it does work for sure!!) and that the committee's year-round examination of hundreds of books would always yield the best results, and one that we can rally around as a kind of definitive judgement. I responded there was a degree of "taste" that factored in, and that a different committee would not in all likelihood come up with the same result. I still stand by those convictions. As to THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN, yes it did dominate the Horn Book voting, but it did NOT to be sure dominate book critics' lists and award sites to the point where you would see its absence as some kind of a grievous omission. I love THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN, I really do, but this was a year of multiple riches, and this hard-working and visionary committee came up with an amazing group of winners. Like everybody else I was saddened that some of my own favorites, books like GALAPAGOS GEORGE, DRAW!, EDWARD HOPPER PAINTS HIS WORLD, A DANCE LIKE STARLIGHT, FIREBIRD, MY GRANDFATHER'S COAT, BAD BYE GOOD BYE and many others didn't get validation, but I look at the whole picture and say that this committee really did their homework. THE RIGHT WORD, FRIDA and NANA were master strokes, and despite what Lolly says about the muddied colors (not really Lolly, but musician friends) in THE NOISY PAINTBOX I don't see that as really significant myself, and find that choice as a fabulous surprise. This committee has broken with tradition in a big way with THIS ONE SUMMER, and my hands are hurting from too much applause. A shot out of the blue, but a deal breaker, and proof that a courageous committee will not be deterred. SAM & DAVE DIG A HOLE is a great book with one of the profound denouements ever, and well-deserves a citation. In the end, I do not for a second believe that there was any indecision or deficiency in the fact that the committee went with SIX (6) honor books at all. And I'm not so sure that I buy the proposition that it is much easier to give out more honor books. Who's to say that there weren't 20 books in the picture till the latter part of deliberations? So yes, I firmly stand by my contention that the unusual number of winners has far more to do with the year's wealth of picture book riches. Martha has acknowledged this numerous times, characterizing it as a Golden Age. I can't agree with her more. That is my position, but I understand some others see it differently, and that's fair enough. So last year, some of us bemoaned the absence of MR. TIGER and NINO among others, and this year some of us are not happy about FARMER, JOSEPHINE and IRIDESCENCE being left out. As others contended last year, and as I now contend this year, we need to look at the overall picture, and all I see is a brilliant job by the most esteemed Junko Yokota and her diligent committee. But looking at all the awards I'd have to say that EVERY committee named brilliant choices. The Siberts were absolutely incredible, but as I say I think all of them came in with banner results.

Posted : Feb 04, 2015 07:01

Barb Outside Boston

I am so thrilled with the choices! VIDA FRIDA was my favorite--I think a medal to either side of Frida will look just fine. I did not find THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN particularly distinguished and didn't buy it for my school because it seemed to me I have seen books like that before. It's not bad, just not phenomenal, like the award winners. The one that I am sad about not being in this group is NEIGHBORHOOD SHARKS, but at least it got some shiny!

Posted : Feb 04, 2015 03:56

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