I have always wanted to sit on the Caldecott selection committee. What could be better than having hundreds of wondrous, imaginative and awe-inspiring picture books delivered to your door? And you have to read every single one. Sounds pretty amazing doesn’t it? Realistically, I know this is a tough job and requires an extraordinary commitment. It’s not just sitting around drinking coffee and reading books all day. But still…it would be pretty cool. And when the day of the announcement comes around I anxiously await the news. Will my favorite be on the list? Will I be totally shocked by the winner?
Members of the Caldecott committee have to narrow their choices down to 7 titles each. They spend hours debating about which book should receive the top honor. Every year I always come up with my own list of titles that I believe will be contenders. This year I have come up with 10 books that I believe should be on the list (although I have not read nearly as many as the committee members do). Read my top 10 list below. The titles are in no particular order. At the end of the post I will list my top 3. And make sure to check out my other Caldecott blog posts as well.
Fly by Mark Teague
In this wordless picture book, Mama bird wants Baby bird to learn to fly so he can migrate with the rest of the flock, but Baby bird would rather go by hot air balloon or car, instead.
A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Much has been written about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 1963 March on Washington. But there’s little on his legendary speech and how he came to write it.
A Stone Sat Still by Brenden Wenzel
Told in rhyming verse, a stone is considered from a variety of environmental and emotional perspectives, as it sits where it is, surrounded by grass, dirt, and water, an unchanging certainty in the world.
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes.
Why? by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Bear just wants to water his flowers, but Rabbit needs to know- why? Bear is looking forward to a peaceful night of stargazing, but all Rabbit cares about is- why? As the two friends spend time together through spring, summer, and into fall, Rabbit persistently and simply asks Bear why, encouraging the reader to figure out for themselves the reason for each question that Bear patiently answers, over and over again. . . until there’s a questions that he has no answer for.
Another by Christian Robinson
A young girl and her cat take an imaginative journey into another world. What if you…
encountered another perspective?
Discovered another world?
Met another you?
What might you do?
Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard; illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Follows a modern Native American family as they make fry bread and celebrate their culture.
Fry bread is food. It is warm and delicious, piled high on a plate.
Fry bread is time. It brings families together for meals and new memories. Fry bread is nation. It is shared by many, from coast to coast and beyond. Fry bread is us. It is a celebration of old and new, traditional and modern, similarity and difference.
Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis
Join a young girl as she explores her surroundings and sees that water is everywhere. But water doesn’t always look the same, it doesn’t always feel the same, and it shows up in lots of different shapes. Water can be a lake, it can be steam, it can be a tear, or it can even be a snowman.
How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Suggests a method of reading that begins with planting oneself beneath a tree and leads to a book party one hopes will never end.
The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Fan Brothers
All the animals know not to mess with old Scarecrow. But when a small, scared crow falls from midair, Scarecrow does the strangest thing. He saves the tiny baby crow. Soon a loving bond grows between the two unlikely friends. But is it strong enough to weather the changing of the seasons?
My Top 3 Caldecott Medal Predictions 2020
- Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard; illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
- The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Fan Brothers
- Another by Christian Robinson