I thought I’d update my post on predicting the Caldecott, Newbery and Printz possible 2014 winners now that the year is almost to a close. What are your favorites? Care to make a prediction for the Caldecott, Newbery or Printz? It doesn’t matter if it wins or not!
Possible Caldecott 2014 Winners
Journey by Aaron Becker
A wordless picture book seems to have an advantage in an award for best illustration. I’ll put my money on this one if a wordless picture book takes it though Bluebird by Bob Staake is another strong contender! My son loved Harold and the Purple Crayon series and this is Harold Meets Where The Wild Things Are but with a girl heroine and in a magical castle setting! The artwork is lush with details of the little girl’s imagined world that is realized through a magical red crayon.
I think Journey and Mr. Tiger Goes Wild! both have an equal shot at winning the Caldecott award. Whoever doesn’t get it between these two picture books, will surely get a Caldecott honor.
Bluebird by Bob Staake
In his most beautiful and moving work to date, Bob Staake explores the universal themes of loneliness, bullying, and the importance of friendship. In this emotional picture book, readers will be captivated as they follow the journey of a bluebird as he develops a friendship with a young boy and ultimately risks his life to save the boy from harm. Both simple and evocative, this timeless and profound story will resonate with readers young and old.
I have to get this book. Even my husband was raving about it from a review he found online. Wordless picture books seem to have en edge for a Caldecott too. We also love Bob Staake’s Look a Book! and Look Another Book!
If I were to vote, I’d pick Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown. His illustrations are extraordinary! There’s something about the graphic nature with subdued colors contrasting with the pop of orange tiger. I love the story too!
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown
From Caldecott Honor artist Peter Brown comes a story that shows there’s a time and place for everything…even going wild.
I think all kids (and even adults) can relate to feeling confined by rules. Mr. Tiger decides to shake things up by leaving his civilized life behind and go a little wild. Eventually, he returns because he misses his friends and he finds that perhaps his influence has rubbed off. Everyone at home is little wild too!
There’s a lot of buzz for Locomotive by Brian Floca, also a strong non fiction picture book.
Knock, Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty, illustrated by Bryan Collier
I’d like to see Knock, Knock get a Caldecott nod. Beaty’s words read like poetry that both comfort and inspire any child who has a lost a parent to incarceration (his experience), divorce or death. The illustrations by Bryan Collier use subtle color changes to show the young boy’s emotions as he grieves for the loss of his father and grows up without his influence into a strong black man.
This is my dark horse pick but I would love for it to get a Caldecott Honor. We need more books that speak to kids who can say, “This is my story too.” That it inspires and heals in a very powerful way to an audience that most needs to be drawn into books is my reason for rooting hard for this excellent picture book! (Yes, I know the Caldecott is about the pretty pictures but here’s a chance to make a real difference in children’s lives.)
Can Jon Klassen continue his Caldecott domination? Last year he won both the award and an honor. That seems tough to pull off. I think the bar gets raised for previous Caldecott winners or honorees. If he does, it will be with The Dark by Lemony Snickett.
The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen
This is the story of how Laszlo stops being afraid of the dark. With emotional insight and poetic economy, two award-winning talents team up to conquer a universal childhood fear.
My son saw the trailer and asked for this book. We loved the surprise ending. I’m not sure if this is strong enough to win but only because Klassen swept the Caldecotts last year. It’s a wonderful picture book but I feel like the bar gets raised for past winners.
The MatchBox Diary by Paul Fleischman
There’s a lot of buzz about this immmigration themed picture book. I have haunted a few local bookstores in hopes of reading it there but haven’t managed to find it yet.
If You Want to See A Whale by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin Stead
This comes up on many a Mock Caldecott list. I love Erin Stead’s illustrations but I’m not sure just because she won with her husband for A Sick Day for Amos McGee recently.
Non Fiction picture books are strong this year as usual. My son loves math-y books so I have a soft spot for this one.
The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman
Most people think of mathematicians as solitary, working away in isolation. And, it’s true, many of them do. But Paul Erdos never followed the usual path. At the age of four, he could ask you when you were born and then calculate the number of seconds you had been alive in his head. But he didn’t learn to butter his own bread until he turned twenty. Instead, he traveled around the world, from one mathematician to the next, collaborating on an astonishing number of publications. With a simple, lyrical text and richly layered illustrations, this is a beautiful introduction to the world of math and a fascinating look at the unique character traits that made “Uncle Paul” a great man.
Jack Prelutsky has never won a Caldecott. His entry this year might though!
Stardines Swim High Across the Sky by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Carin Berger
The poet, author, and indomitable naturalist Jack Prelutsky, having returned safely from far-flung places with an extensive collection of unique creatures that are a blending of the animate and inanimate, has worked in close collaboration with the fine artist Carin Berger, who herself conducted considerable field operations in preparing Mr. Prelutsky’s specimens for exhibition and publication. While many creatures (two dozen species in all) were discovered and recorded and their precise qualities examined, we are presenting sixteen here for the first time and for the enjoyment and education of the general public.
We don’t read enough poetry and everyone raved about Prelutsky’s latest. My kids already adore this man, so yes, adding it to my ever-growing pile.
Take Me Out to the Yakyu by Aaron Meshon
The bold illustrations and the cross cultural message put this baseball picture book on the Caldecott list.
Building Our House by Jonathan Bean
This picture book about building a house while also demonstrating how to build a family gets quiet but consistent praise.
Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle
I just read this at the bookstore and it is adorable! I think wordless picture books have a slight edge in the Caldecott. I loved the lift the flap concept for a wordless picture book. I’ve never seen that before. The facial and full body expressiveness are what setst this book apart! I didn’t expect to love this picture book as much as I did!
What is your pick for the 2014 Caldecott? It’s fun to guess, isn’t it?!
Possible Newbery 2014 Winners
The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
I’d love to see Ursu’s gorgeously written fantasy get a Newbery nod. There are just so many layers to this richly imagined fantasy book. In the same way the Alice in Wonderland criticizes English artistocracy and One Hundred Years of Solitude reflects Latin American history, you could say that The Real Boy is the history of certain first world countries like the United States. In the islands past, there are have and have nots. Those who are exposed to a terrible plague are forced into a walled city where most do not survive. That reminds me of leper colonies or the history of Native Americans.
The island is rich is natural resources, in this case … magic! But greed and commerce turn those who are supposed to be guarding the island from harm into merchants who sell it to the highest bidder off island.
And there is young Oscar, adopted by the most powerful magician in the village because he is unwanted and therefore going to be loyal. Oscar seems to be on the Austism spectrum living in the basement in the company of his cats and trying to avoid the magician’s apprentice who bullies him mercilessly. Is Oscar part of this magic? Is his story a retold Pinochio story embedded into this bigger story of lies, greed, power and magic?
As the magic fades from the island, something terrible emerges. Could it be the magic’s dark side?
Oscar must enlist friends to help him and must dig into the island’s past to discover how to save them from this latest of horrors. And, in doing so, he might also discover his own past and who is really is.
There’s a lot of buzz if you just ask people what great book they’ve read this year for Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan.
Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli
Welcome to Hokey Pokey. A place and a time, when childhood is at its best: games to play, bikes to ride, experiences to be had. There are no adults in Hokey Pokey, just kids, and the laws governing Hokey Pokey are simple and finite. But when one of the biggest kids, Jack, has his beloved bike stolen—and by a girl, no less—his entire world, and the world of Hokey Pokey, turns to chaos. Without his bike, Jack feels like everything has started to go wrong. He feels different, not like himself, and he knows something is about to change. And even more troubling he alone hears a faint train whistle. But that’s impossible: every kid knows there no trains in Hokey Pokey, only tracks.
Doll Bones by Holly Black
A doll that may be haunted leads three friends on a thrilling adventure in this delightfully creepy novel from the New York Times bestselling cocreator of the Spiderwick Chronicles.
Creepy sounds perfect for a Halloween themed book club … I’ll try to sell her on screening this book for a future book club.
The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Ephraim Appledore-Smith is an ordinary boy, and up until his father’s stroke he lived an ordinary life. But all that changes when his family moves to the Water Castle-their ancestral home in the small town of Crystal Springs. Mallory Green’s family has always been the caretakers of the Water Castle-and the guardians of its secrets. She has been raised to protect the legendary Fountain of Youth, hidden on the estate grounds. But ever since her mom left, she’s stopped believing in magic. Will Wylie’s family has been at war with the Applegates for generations, all because of the Water Castle’s powerful secrets. But Will has rejected legend and magic, putting all his faith in science. When Ephraim learns of the Fountain, he’s sure finding it can cure his dad. With Mallory and Will’s help, the trio embarks on a mission that brings them deep into their families’ shared history, through every secret room in the Water Castle, and on a quest that will blur the lines of magic and science, creativity and discovery, leaving readers left to wonder: Do you believe in the unbelievable?
I love the sound of this book. It reminds me of Ruby Holler which PickyKidPix loved.
The Center of Everything by Linda Urban
For Ruby Pepperdine, the “center of everything” is on the rooftop of Pepperdine Motors in her donut-obsessed town of Bunning, New Hampshire, stargazing from the circle of her grandmother Gigi’s hug. That’s how everything is supposed to be—until Ruby messes up and things spin out of control. But she has one last hope. It all depends on what happens on Bunning Day, when the entire town will hear Ruby read her winning essay. And it depends on her twelfth birthday wish—unless she messes that up too. Can Ruby’s wish set everything straight in her topsy-turvy world?
This seems to be a frontrunner for the 2014 Newbery and it sounds perfect for PickyKidPix. I love the cover too.
A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff
Told in multiple viewpoints, A Tangle of Knots is a magnificent puzzle. In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. However, these encounters hold the key to Cady’s past and how she became an orphan. If she’s lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent.
Reminds me of Savvy which my daughter liked. I really loved her book Umbrella Summer so I’m hoping she will get a Newbery nod.
One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
“An adventure, a mystery, and a love song to the natural world. . . . Run out and read it. Right now.”—Newbery Medalist Karen Cushman
In the town of Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871, Georgie Burkhardt is known for two things: her uncanny aim with a rifle and her habit of speaking her mind plainly.
But when Georgie blurts out something she shouldn’t, her older sister Agatha flees, running off with a pack of “pigeoners” trailing the passenger pigeon migration. And when the sheriff returns to town with an unidentifiable body—wearing Agatha’s blue-green ball gown—everyone assumes the worst. Except Georgie. Refusing to believe the facts that are laid down (and coffined) before her, Georgie sets out on a journey to find her sister. She will track every last clue and shred of evidence to bring Agatha home. Yet even with resolute determination and her trusty Springfield single-shot, Georgie is not prepared for what she faces on the western frontier.
A strong girl character may get my kid to read this chapter book that reminds me of the grandmother in A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck. I want to read this!
The National Book Awards (Perhaps One of These Will Win a Newbery?)
The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata
I’m always glad to see an Asian American children’s author thrown into the mix. This book won The National Book Award but I’m not sure if this helps or hurts it. This is my pick! The
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt
Raccoon brothers Bingo and J’miah are the newest recruits of the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts. The opportunity to serve the Sugar Man—the massive creature who delights in delicious sugar cane and magnanimously rules over the swamp—is an honor, and also a big responsibility, since the rest of the swamp critters rely heavily on the intel of these hardworking Scouts.
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
Holy unanticipated occurrences! It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him.
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
Veteran writer Tom McNeal has crafted a young adult novel at once grim(m) and hopeful, full of twists, and perfect for fans of contemporary fairy tales like Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and Holly Black’s Doll Bones.
Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang
Boxers & Saints is one of the most ambitious graphic novels First Second has ever published. It offers a penetrating insight into not only one of the most controversial episodes of modern Chinese history, but into the very core of our human nature. Gene Luen Yang is rightly called a master of the comics form, and this book will cement that reputation.
But I don’t think a graphic novel will ever win a Newbery.
Possible Printz 2014 Winners
I’m not reading much YA these days but my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, is reading mostly YA so I cull the lists hoping to find great books for her to read. She’s an 8th grader.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.
Oh yes. First love of misfits. Perfect middle school reading. I’m getting it.
Thank you to The Raucous Librarian for her comment: “So…Eleanor and Park? Not so much a middle school book…Given its themes, plot, language, style, and tone, I’d say it’s firmly high school even for very mature, advanced readers. Some of the other people I know who’ve read it don’t even really think it’s YA…more like adult fic about teens. I wouldn’t want someone to be thinking they were getting a sweet, light first love story when this book TOTALLY is not that. Don’t get me wrong–it’s wonderful–it’s just very, very mature.”
Oops! Thank you! Too mature for my girls. I will search for more Sarah Dessen for her. (My frustration with YA is that the age range is too wide and I find that very confusing.)
Maggot Moon by Sally Garner
In Sally Gardner’s stunning novel, set in a ruthless regime, an unlikely teenager risks all to expose the truth about a heralded moon landing.
What if the football hadn’t gone over the wall. On the other side of the wall there is a dark secret. And the devil. And the Moon Man. And the Motherland doesn’t want anyone to know. But Standish Treadwell — who has different-colored eyes, who can’t read, can’t write, Standish Treadwell isn’t bright — sees things differently than the rest of the “train-track thinkers.” So when Standish and his only friend and neighbor, Hector, make their way to the other side of the wall, they see what the Motherland has been hiding. And it’s big…One hundred very short chapters, told in an utterly original first-person voice, propel readers through a narrative that is by turns gripping and darkly humorous, bleak and chilling, tender and transporting.
For fans of The Hunger Games? Not sure … What do you think?
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
It’s 1950 and the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie Moraine wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.
Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.
We want to take the kids to New Orleans someday. We love that city … full of interesting characters, incredible food and a feeling of danger lurking around the corner, especially if you are in the French Quarters.
The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr
Lucy Beck-Moreau once had a promising future as a concert pianist. The right people knew her name, her performances were booked months in advance, and her future seemed certain.
That was all before she turned fourteen.
Now, at sixteen, it’s over. A death, and a betrayal, led her to walk away. That leaves her talented ten-year-old brother, Gus, to shoulder the full weight of the Beck-Moreau family expectations. Then Gus gets a new piano teacher who is young, kind, and interested in helping Lucy rekindle her love of piano — on her own terms. But when you’re used to performing for sold-out audiences and world-famous critics, can you ever learn to play just for yourself?
National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr takes readers inside one girl’s struggle to reclaim her love of music and herself. To find joy again, even when things don’t go according to plan. Because life isn’t a performance, and everyone deserves the chance to make a few mistakes along the way.
A serious musician as the protagonist. That’s not something you see everyday in YA! My daughter is one the fence about continuing the flute. She might like this!
The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1) by Rick Yancey
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
Is this the new Hunger Games? If so, count her in.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.