Results of the 2024 Calling Caldecott Mock Vote

The votes are in!!

The results of the 2024 Calling Caldecott Mock Vote yielded a winner and two honor books.

Big, written and illustrated by Vashti Harrison, is the winner.

The two honor books are:

There Was a Party for Langston, written by Jason Reynolds and illustrated by Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey,


An American Story, written by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Dale Coulter.


Excellent choices! Congratulations to our mock winner and honor books, and to everyone who participated so respectfully of the process.

The only picture book to be a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, Big was also BIG winner with Calling Caldecott voters, with almost forty more total points than the two honor books. (Remember, first-place votes are allotted 4 points, second-place votes 3 points, and third-place votes 2 points.) And there was a large dropoff in number of points after the two honor books — a differential of nearly twenty points between them and the next-highest point-earners. Hence our decision to choose only two honor books.

All three books are by Black creators, and two delve into aspects of African and African American history, albeit producing different moods, and occupying very different emotional states of being. All of them have distinctive illustration styles and make unique use of the art to heighten the impact of the story.

Author and illustrator Vashti Harrison masterfully employs color, size, perspective, and the physical confines of the book itself to convey the damaging messages sent to the book's young Black girl protagonist about body size. In her Calling Caldecott post, Monique Harris notes that "the artwork is expansive, the color palette soft and warm, contrasting with the hardness of the subject." Harrison represents the girl's inner turmoil and sense of herself as being "too" big by portraying her filling up double-page spreads as if she's trapped in a too-small space. The pain of other people's cruelty pours out in her tears, and Harrison incorporates the words themselves ("moose," "ha ha ha") in the tears that pool at the bottom of the pages. But rather than lose herself in the messages she receives, Harrison's protagonist takes hold of her own narrative and "decide[s] to make more space for herself." Three gatefold spreads brilliantly reinforce the power of a young girl reclaiming her space and sense of self-worth, as the girl pushes at the margins of the actual page until the page itself must grow to accommodate her size. 

Now let's take a closer look at our two honor books: 

Illustrators of There Was a Party for Langston, the Pumphrey Brothers, as they're known, are no strangers to accolades. Working as both authors and illustrators, the brothers won an Ezra Jack Keats Award in 2020 for The Old Truck, while The Old Boat was on the New York Times/New York Public Library's 2021 Best Books for Kids list. In Party for Langston, their artistic style seems like it, too, is partying; it's unrestrained and joyous. In her Calling Caldecott post, Kimberly Fakih notes how the book and the illustrations celebrate not just Black joy "but an era, a culture, and a turning point in history," and the illustrations excel in their ability to invite children into a raucous celebration, "to boogaloo and shimmy and shake with names as familiar as their own aunts and brothers." 

Illustrator of An American Story Dare Coulter incorporates sculpture and mixed-media artwork into illustrations that take readers to some of the most difficult moments in American history. The texture in the illustration work gives readers a sense of history and time, but also suffering and pain. There is a visceral, emotional pull with these illustrations and in the way they contrast historical images with more modern ones. Calling Caldecott contributor Annisha Jeffries notes that Coulter's illustrations "beautifully reflects the richness and diversity of Black culture, an aspect often overlooked in more traditional historical accounts. This inclusion adds depth to the narrative, effectively representing the complexities of American history."

We thank all of you who took the time to participate in this mock vote, which, we need to remind everyone, is not predictive. We will all stay at the edge of our seats until the real commitee announces its results on Monday, January 22, at 8 a.m. EST (here is the link to watch the livestream). Check back with Calling Caldecott next week, and please share your reactions to the announcement.

Julie Hakim Azzam, Kitty Flynn, and Martha V. Parravano
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Allison Grover Khoury

Very exciting results! This was another well written, thoughtful season of Calling Caldecott. Thank you to all 3 of our host/moderators. I am very excited to find all the award recipients tomorrow.

Posted : Jan 21, 2024 06:07

Kimberly Fakih

Thank you for the thank you but oh, how hard you all work! And it's all a labor of love for me, keeping watch over the books all year long and then seeing how stories hold up, seem to grow stronger with every turn of the page through rereadings. This is and is not a competition but it is always a celebration--so happy to be at the party!

Posted : Jan 19, 2024 07:49



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