Caldecott Medal 2023 Predictions

The 2023 Caldecott Medal award winner will be announced January 30, 2023, which means it’s time for my predictions on which book will take home the top prize and who will be runner-up.

The ALA awards will be given out sometime in mid-January. Members of the Caldecott committee work hard all year to choose the book they think is deserving of this distinguished 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). The titles are in no particular order. At the end of the post, I will list my top 3 contenders for the Caldecott Medal. Be sure to check out my other Caldecott blog posts as well!

Black Girl Rising by Brynne Barnes and illustrated by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

With poignant, poetic prose and striking, color-drenched illustrations, this empowering picture book centers the inherent worthiness and radiance of Black girls that is still far too often denied. A love letter to and for Black girls everywhere, Black Girl Rising alchemizes the sorrow and strength of the past into the brilliant gold of the future, sweeping young readers of all backgrounds into a lyrical exploration of what it means to be Black, female, and glorious.

Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond and illustrated by Daniel Minter

This picture book follows one color’s journey throughout history–from ancient Afghan painters to 1905, when a chemical blue dye was created–and around the world, as it becomes the blue we know today.

Emile and the Field by Kevin Young and illustrated by Chioma Ebinama

In this lyrical picture book from an award-winning poet, a young boy cherishes a neighborhood field throughout the changing seasons. With stunning illustrations and a charming text, this beautiful story celebrates a child’s relationship with nature.

Eyes that Speak to the Stars by Joanna Ho and illustrated by Dung Ho

A young Asian boy, who notices that his eyes look different from his friends’, realizes that his eyes–like his father’s, grandfather’s, and younger brother’s–rise to the skies, speak to the stars, and are visionary.

Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall

A farmhouse provides the setting for a dozen children to live and grow, and when they leave, another family arrives to fill the house with love again.

Gibberish by Young Vo

When Dat starts school in a country where he does not speak the language, everything around him sounds like gibberish until a new friend helps him make sense of his new world.

Hot Dog by Doug Salati

It’s summer in the city, and this hot dog has had enough! Enough of sizzling sidewalks, enough of wailing sirens, enough of people’s feet right in his face. When he plops down in the middle of a crosswalk, his owner endeavors to get him the breath of fresh air he needs. She hails a taxi, hops a train, and ferries out to the beach. Here, a pup can run!

I Don’t Care by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Molly Schaar Idle

Two friends share their delight in the little things that set them apart, and the big things that bring them together.

Kick, Push by Frank Morrison

When Epic’s family moves to a new neighborhood, he has a hard time making friends and fitting in with his skateboard; but the trick to making new friends is to be yourself.

Knight Owl by Christopher Denise

After achieving his dream of becoming a knight, a small owl protects the castle from a hungry dragon.

Nigel and the Moon by Antwan Eady and illustrated by Gracey Zhang

When Nigel looks up at the moon, his future is bright. He imagines himself as an astronaut, a dancer, a superhero, too! Among the stars, he twirls. With pride, his chest swells. And his eyes, they glow. Nigel is the most brilliant body in the sky. But it’s Career Week at school, and Nigel can’t find the courage to share his dreams. It’s easy to whisper them to the moon, but not to his classmates–especially when he already feels out of place.

The Sun is Late and So is the Farmer by Phillip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

On a peculiarly long night, three farm animals set out on a daring quest to bring the sunrise.

This is a School by John Schu and illustrated by Veronica Jamison Miller

A school isn’t just a building; it is all the people who work and learn together. It is a place for discovery and asking questions. A place for sharing, for helping, and for community. It is a place of hope and healing, even when that community can’t be together in the same room. Follow along on a day in the life of a school.

The Tide Pool Waits by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Amy Hevron

Using lyrical language that appeals to the senses, Fleming introduces these Pacific Coast intertidal-zone features, explaining how they form, what creatures are found there (barnacles, mussels, snails, limpets, opaleyes, octopuses, and sculpin), and how sea life adapts to these temporary abodes.

The World Belonged to Us by Jacqueline Woodson

t’s getting hot outside, hot enough to turn on the hydrants and run through the water–and that means it’s finally summer in the city! Released from school and reveling in their freedom, the kids on one Brooklyn block take advantage of everything summertime has to offer.

The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Three siblings live with their grandmother. In the spring, the weather is stormy, and the children grow bored. Summer finds them bickering over chores. In the autumn, the rooms of the apartment feel “big and lonely.” Then, in winter, they move, leaving their familiar street and friends behind. Each season, their grandmother acknowledges the children’s feelings and encourages them to find strength within.

My Top 3 Picks:

  • Knight Owl
  • Eyes that Speak to the Stars
  • I Don’t Care

Winner – Hot Dog!

Check out my Caldecott Medal activity pack. Includes a PowerPoint introduction to the Caldecott, materials to host a mock Caldecott and activities for past winners.

One Response

  1. I love your list of potential 2023 Caldecott winners! I have many of the same titles on my list. However, I thought that Emile and the Field was not eligible due to the fact that the illustrator is not a citizen of the United States. I could be wrong, but that is what I had been hearing.

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