Waiting for the Caldecott

Around this time each year, I start looking forward to the announcement of children’s book awards for 2022. On January 24th, announcements will be made for the Caldecott, the Newbery, and the Printz medals, as well as many other book awards. Many blogs focus on possible contenders for the biggest awards, but the voting is actually done just one day prior to the announcement and is a carefully guarded secret.

The Caldecott Medal will be awarded to the best illustrated book for children from 2021, and actually goes to the illustrator, not the author. As I read through blogs, there does not seem to be any consensus developing yet, but here are some of the books that are being mentioned as contenders.

Dear Treefrog by Joyce Sidman  Wonder Walkers by Micha Archer

 Hurricane by John Rocco  Watercress by Andrea Wang

  The Rock from the Sky by Jon Klassen  Someone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler

  Nicky & Vera by Peter SisMilo Imagines the World by Matt de la Pena

  I'll Meet You in Your Dreams by Jessica Young  Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones

  Unspeakable by Carole Boston Weatherford  Amos McGee Misses the Bus by Philip Stead

Out of these 12 illustrators, six already have at least one Caldecott Medal or Caldecott Honor to their credit. All are exceptionally talented and have created illustrations that make these books a joy to read. Keep in mind, though, that there is not an official list of nominations. These have just been mentioned by readers and critics as potential winners. Sometimes the Caldecott committee will go off in an unexpected direction. As for me, I’m crossing my fingers for Loren Long (he’s from Cincinnati) or Floyd Cooper (he died in 2021 and has never won). All will be revealed on January 24th. Meanwhile, treat yourself to one of these books.

Update from 1/25/22: The 2022 Caldecott Medal winner is Watercress by Andrea Wang and illustrated by Jason Chin! The book also received a Newbery Honor and was named as the best picture book promoting Asian/Pacific American heritage and culture. Gathering watercress by the side of the road sparks a conversation among a family about their family history, heritage, and memories. Award-winning author Andrea Wang draws upon her childhood, growing up in a small, mostly white, rural town in Ohio as a child of Chinese immigrants in this autobiographical account illustrated by celebrated author and artist Jason Chin, who incorporates painting styles and techniques from both western and Chinese cultures.

Children’s Book Awards 2021

Every winter, the library and publishing worlds eagerly anticipate the announcement of the Youth Media Awards. For publishers, it’s a chance to celebrate the critical success of their books. For authors and illustrators, the awards represent the the highest honors in children’s literature and virtually guarantee the books will be in publication for many, many years. For librarians, it’s just one more reason to share the “best of the best” with library patrons. Here are the 2021 winners of the Randolph Caldecott Medal, the John Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award.

We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom

 

 

The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded to the illustrator of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The 2021 medal winner, We Are Water Protectors, was illustrated by Michaela Goade and written by Carole Lindstrom. The book was inspired by indigenous-led movements which have sounded an alarm about the need to protect our nation’s waters.

 

 

 

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

 

 

In contrast to the Caldecott, the John Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of the most distinguished American book for children. It typically, though not aways, goes to the author of a chapter book. If you love books based on folklore, you need to read When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller! Here’s teaser from the publisher’s description, “Would you make a deal with a magical tiger? This uplifting story brings Korean folklore to life as a girl goes on a quest to unlock the power of stories and save her grandmother.

 

 

 

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

 

The winner of the 2021 Coretta Scott King Author Award is Jacqueline Woodson for her book Before the Ever After. This novel-in-verse explores how a family moves forward when the father’s glory days as a professional football player have passed and he experiences the long-term physical effects of his career. Woodson has won numerous book awards including the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award and the 2014 National Book Award for her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming. She was the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

The Coretta Scott King Book Committee also awards an annual illustrator award and an award for “New Talent.”

 

 

You can view the full list of Youth Media Awards here, including the Michael L. Printz Award for Young Adult Literature, the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for beginning readers, and the Schneider Family Book Award which honors authors and illustrators who present an artistic expression of a disability experience.