Usually, I only make one Caldecott prediction list. First I research what the pundits think will win. Then, I make a mad dash to read every picture book that keeps coming up on the lists. This strategy has worked pretty well as the last few years, I’ve been pretty successful in picking Caldecott winners: 2018 Caldecott Predictions, 2017 Caldecott Predictions, 2016 Caldecott Predictions, and 2015 Caldecott Predictions.
This year, I’m stepping out. I have deliberately not consulted any Caldecott prediction list, but instead, I have gathered up the picture books that have come my way from publishers, and chosen my very favorites. Granted, some of these are dark horses, but one can hope!
How about you? What books do you think will win the Caldecott and/or Geisel? I’d love your suggestions. I promise that I will chase down each one for my final prediction list! Thanks for sharing!
Drawn Together by Minh Le, illustrated by Dan Santat
I met Minh Le at The Color of Children’s Book Kweli Conference and he was kind enough to share both his manuscript and finished book of Drawn Together. Right there on the spot, I told him that I think his book will win a ton of awards. I think the only reason why this book does not get a Caldecott nod is that Dan Santat won fairly recently for Beekle. It’s not really fair, but I feel like the bar is higher for an illustrator who has already been recognized. Still, this should win an APALA and hopefully, a lot more awards. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
This book is just generating a lot of buzz. It’s the gorgeous artwork but also the message of tolerance for LGBTQ self-expression. I think Jessica Love does a nice job balancing the story that it leans towards transgender, but it could also be read as a boy who is expressing his creativity and love for mermaids. I think a picture book needs to walk this line to win a Caldecott, because … politics. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Now for my dark horses…
Welcome to Country: A Traditional Aboriginal Ceremony by Aunty Joy Murphy, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy
I think this picture book has an important message about respecting the land and that we are caretakers for this earth. I also like that this is an indigenous story of how strangers need to be invited onto the land of the Aboriginals. Partaking in the ceremony ensures that the values of caring for the land are passed onto the new people who will walk it. The artwork is spectacular. I think Aboriginal Art is having a moment in the art museums and galleries, and this is the first celebration of Aboriginal Art that I have seen in a picture book. So, I choose this book based on its important and timely message and hope that everyone who reads it will be moved and inspired when they walk onto new and wild places. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Marwan’s Journey by Patricia de Arias, illustrated by Larua Borras
This could not be a more timely message. Marwan is an orphan who is making a refugee’s journey from a desert land (could be Syria) to someplace else. He dreams of the day he will have a permanent home where he can find happiness. Isn’t this the wish of all refugees and immigrants and shouldn’t they be able to have their dreams realized? I really loved the muted color palette and artwork that conveyed both the darkness of the life he fled and his dream for the future. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
tiny, perfect things by M. H. Clark, illustrated by Madeline Kloepper
The binding is yellow cloth. I just love the texture of that binding. The title and some of the images on the cover are embossed. This is a book to be savored through many senses but especially touch. The message is about mindfulness and finding beauty in the everyday. Noticing and appreciating what is around you in nature and in the community. “The world is full of wonders, no matter where we go.” The world is full of tiny, perfect things, just like this book. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
My Wordless Picture Book Pick
A Stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker
Of these three wordless picture books, my money is on A Stone for Sasha, though again Aaron Becker has won Caldecott honors with his debut picture book, Journey. This book has a poignant message about loss and grief that also manages to tie in STEM concept of Earth Science of how rocks are formed. In this case, a special piece of rock makes a monumental journey across centuries and different civilizations to find its newest home as a source of comfort for a little girl. Aaron Becker has again succeeded in taking us on a magical journey that just might end with a sticker on a book. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
I am partial to Pool by JiHyeon Lee’s Pool picture book and new latest, Door, is also spectacular. But I think that I prefer Pool to Door. Her illustration spreads in Pool were just more impactful and the magical realism portion was the perfect amount. Door has a few too many page turns of this netherworld that makes it less special. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Dog On A Digger by Kate Predergast
Dog On A Digger has the disadvantage of being rendered with a very small color palette. It’s mostly pencil drawings with splashes of yellow and blue. So the illustrations have to work overtime. There are no words to tell the story. There isn’t much color to do the heavy lifting. Think silent, black and white films against technicolor IMAX 3D. Right? It’s tougher. So, it’s like The Invention of Hugo Cabret winning a Caldecott. It did! But it seemed like it defied all the odds. [wordless picture book, ages 4 and up]
For Geisel (which hopefully gets renamed this year)
Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Emily Hughes
I am pretty sure that despite winning the Geisel once for Charlie & Mouse, Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy will win again. Why? This early chapter book just as perfect as Charlie & Mouse. It’s an instant classic the way Frog and Toad, and Little Bear are. Also, this award category is not as competitive as the Caldecott. The usual suspects always seem to win (Fly Guy, Elephant and Piggie) and it gets boring. Twice is not that often. [early chapter book, ages 5 and up]
Fox + Chick: The Party and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier
This is the new Frog and Toad/Elephant & Piggie. It’s a little different than those well-known series because Fox + Chick is also hilariously funny. This is a book that is hard to resist. The humor stays with you and you find yourself reaching for this book for a second look. And a third. [early chapter book, ages 5 and up]
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