The 2021 Caldecott award ceremony is quickly approaching. Which means it’s time for me to give my prediction for who will win the coveted medal.
The ALA awards will be given out sometime in mid-January. Members of the Caldecott committee have been working all year to choose the book they think is worthy of this prestigious award. Members of the committee read thousands of picture books throughout the year. Then they must narrow their choices down to 7 titles each. Once they have this much smaller list, 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 15 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 15 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.
Almost Time by Gary D. Schmidt
Ethan eagerly anticipates making maple syrup with his father, but it will not be time until the days are warmer, the nights shorter, and Ethan’s loose tooth falls out.
Bedtime for Sweet Creatures by Nikki Grimes
A sleepy little boy resists all his mother’s efforts to put him to bed. The illustrations in this book are outstanding. The colors are rich and vibrant and there is a mix of styles and materials used to create them.
A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India by Meera Sriram
A young girl explores the vibrant rainbow of items for sale in a southern Indian street market as she searches for a gift for her mother. Includes facts about the items mentioned and markets around the world, as well as photographs taken by the author in her hometown of Chennai, India.
Hike by Pete Oswald
A father and son go on a hike in the forest. They spend the day enjoying nature and forging their bond with each other.
Honeybee: the Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann
Get up close and personal with Apis, one honeybee, as she embarks on her journey through life, complete with exquisitely detailed illustrations. Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann describe the life cycle of the hard-working honeybee in this poetically written, thoroughly researched picture book
I am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James
The narrator of this book is proud of everything that makes him who he is. He’s got big plans, and no doubt he’ll see them through–as he’s creative, adventurous, smart, funny, and a good friend. Sometimes he falls, but he always gets back up. And other times he’s afraid, because he’s so often misunderstood and called what he is not. So slow down and really look and listen, when somebody tells you–and shows you–who they are.
If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall
A boy writes a letter to an imagined alien, explaining all the things he will need to know about Earth and the people who live here–and adding a postscript asking what the alien might look like.
Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker, illustrated by April Harrison
Zura is worried about how her classmates will react to her Ghanaian Nana’s tattoos on Grandparents Day, but Nana finds a way to show how special and meaningful they are.
A New Green Day by Antoinette Portis
Explore nature through evocative riddles and bold imagery that take the reader from day to night and back again in this perfect read aloud that encourage young readers to explore the natural world.
The Oldest Student: how Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita L. Hubbard, illustrated by Oge Mora
An inspirational picture book biography sharing the true story of the nation’s oldest student, Mary Walker, who learned to read at the age of 116.
Overground Railroad by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James Ransome
A girl named Ruth Anne tells the story of her family’s train journey from North Carolina to New York City as part of the Great Migration.
Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
No-nonsense Captain Swashby is used to the sea meeting all of his needs and when, after his retirement, new neighbors disturb his solitary life, the sea helps in just the right way.
We are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade
Water is the first medicine. It affects and connects us all . . . When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people’s water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource.
Woodpecker Girl by Chingyen Liu, illustrated by Heidi Doll
A little girl was born with cerebral palsy, a condition that rendered her wheelchair bound. One day, her art teacher affixed a paintbrush to her forehead with a headband. From then on, the little girl was able to express herself and freely explore the world through her paintings.
You Matter by Christian Robinson
Many different perspectives around the world are deftly and empathetically explored from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they are feeding. Young readers will be drawn into the luminous illustrations inviting them to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and that everyone matters.
My Top 3 Caldecott Medal Predictions 2021
- Bedtime for Sweet Creatures by Nikki Grimes
- Honeybee: the Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann
- A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India by Meera Sriram