Calling Caldecott, and Calling You!

Hello from me, your new coauthor, and welcome to the 2023 season of Calling Caldecott from me!

Julie who?, you might be asking. As another Julie taking on Calling Caldecott, I feel I have some big shoes to fill, and want to take a minute to thank Julie Danielson for her work. We have some fun in store for you this season, but Jules, you set the bar high, and I am, as my kids like to remind me, vertically challenged; I can only hope to Fosbury flop myself up to the level to which Calling Caldecott readers are accustomed. 

But first, some housekeeping. You may know the drill, but it’s always good to remind ourselves about what we’re doing here. 

This is a discussion of Caldecott-worthy picture books that will run from September through late January, when the real awards are announced. We are not the real committee, but we hope to have a great conversation about books and illustrations. And that is what it’s really about. It’s about calling out some great picture books, but it’s also about calling you to participate, and to join this community of folks who care about picture books.

As ever, we’ll launch our own mock vote as we get closer to the actual award date. In between now and then, we’ll hear from some amazing guest contributors as they discuss individual books and their merits. Sprinkled in, we’ll include some interviews, thematic discussions, and some surprises, so bookmark this page and check back in with us frequently. 

Part of the excitement of any award is the thrill when an unexpected or unknown book gets a well-deserved accolade. Another part of the excitement is in the act of predicting and the satisfaction that comes with predicting correctly. Have you ever successfully predicted the recipient of the Caldecott award or honor books? Do tell — we’d love to hear about it. 

Which reminds me! In order for this blog to be interesting, we need your discussion, your comments, heck, even your disagreements, which you can put in the comment section below. Did you think you were going to get away with just reading Calling Caldecott? You gotta participate! 

Because we all know what it’s like to ramble on about a book we love to somebody whose eyes glaze over as you get the  “Uh oh, there she goes again” vibe. Well, here you can ramble all you want, and we will get it! And we will validate your obsessions with dissecting the tiny details of picture book art or discussing page turns, typography, the use of color, or layout. 

Your thoughts are important, so take a minute to make a comment on the blog and tell us what Caldecott-worthy picture book you’re most enthusiastic about now. If you're like me, you get very enthusiastic about books, and that enthusiasm changes almost daily, based on what I’m reading. We know that might change next week or next month, and that’s ok, because you can (and should) comment again next week to let us know what you’re most enthusiastic about then.

Watch this space in the coming days for our list of 2023 picture books we hope to consider here, but as you know, this list will be revised as we go, so make sure to add suggestions of books you think should be included. If we miss something, let us know.

Until next time!

Julie Hakim Azzam

Calling Caldecott co-author Julie Hakim Azzam is the assistant director of the MFA program in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She holds a PhD in literary and cultrual studies, with a specialization in comparative contemporary postcolonial literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Southeast Asia. Her most recent work focuses on children's literature, stories about immigrants and refugees, and youth coping with disability.

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Kevonamous O

We did a mock Caldecott at my library system years ago, and while nobody got the winner, I was the only person to even predict an honoree- Grand Canyon by Jason Chin. I felt smug about contributing the only title that won anything. Wolf in the Snow won that year, which wasn't even discussed. A few years later, I finally predicted the winner- Watercress, also by... Jason Chin! We of course didn't do a mock vote that year : ( D@MN you COVID!

Posted : Sep 25, 2023 10:01


Julie Danielson

Julie, a belated thank-you for the kind words. I am soooo excited that you have joined Martha, and I know the blog is in great hands! Looking forward to the discussions this year. WOOT!

Posted : Sep 15, 2023 11:11


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