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Newbery/Caldecott 2012: Checking In

While I like to leave the early Newbery and Caldecott award predictions to those bold enough to make them (Fuse #8 Production, I like your gumption, kid), I do like to survey the landscape early on for books that might be in the discussion come January. One of the best ways I’ve found to do this is through the mock Newbery and Caldecott lists on Goodreads. These lists are created and voted on by members of this social network for readers. While they will likely change as more votes are placed, let’s take a look at the leaders as they currently stand:

(Click the list names to see all the nominated books)

Newbery 2012

Okay for Now is a definite frontrunner. While some of these titles may drop off the radar a bit come Fall, I think we can be fairly certain that Gary D. Schmidt’s latest will be a contender.

Caldecott 2012

One through four, check, check, check, and check. I’ve read and loved all of them. I still need to get my hands on Joe Louis, but Kadir Nelson’s rep speaks for itself – amazing artwork is his M.O. I’m a big fan of Perfect Square and Queen of the Falls, which show up later in this list – I expect them to begin creeping up as the year progresses.

Any to add?

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About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. I’ve read #1, 2, & 3 and agree with their placement. The second #3 and #5 are two that are on my tbr pile for sure. I have added The Absolute Value of Mike to my short list.

    On the Caldecott side, A Nation’s Hope is such a gorgeous and powerful book! I adore this book. <resisting cheesy comments like "knocked me out," or "art + writing pack a one-two…"

    I laugh every time I see the cover of Where's Walrus. Such a fun book!


    • I’m looking forward to reading Absolute Value of Mike – there’s been plenty of positive buzz there.

  2. Me… Jane is a favorite of mine this year. I feel like people haven’t been taking McDonnell seriously because he was transitioning his characters from comics to picture books, but now that he tackled a new subject, I think his talent is harder to dismiss. That book made me tear up a little when I first read it. It’s simple and so beautiful.

    As for additional titles, I imagine the Caldecott committee will be discussing I Must Have Bobo! That’s one of my favorite books this year overall.

  3. I think your comments on McDonnell make sense – I can see his history in comics possibly having an affect. Here’s hoping the Caldecott committee isn’t swayed.

  4. I am betting the Joe Louis picture book would be a perfect companion for amazing book I read yesterday – bird in a Box by Andrea Davis pinkney.
    Thx for your lists – I love following goodreads lists as well.

  5. Sam Bloom says

    Those Caldecott titles are all nice, but Brian Selznick’s latest – Wonderstruck – is going to knock them all out of the park. It is amazing. In my opinion, better than Hugo.

    • I’m right in the middle of it, Sam, and I can’t wait to keep going. It’ll be interesting to see how Wonderstruck will figure in come Caldecott time.

  6. Well, the first May Amelia got an honor.
    This one is something other than just better. this one made the first one better two.

    Personally, I’d like to see Jenni Holm write a third and final one and win the Newbery for it, the way Alexander won for High King, but really won for the whole saga.

    But if she wins for Trouble, I sure won’t be complaining! It’s a great book!

  7. JHouser1 says

    I couldn’t agree more–Trouble is better than Our Only. I would love to see a third.

  8. I need to get my hands on that Joe Louis biography.

  9. On Caldecott, I gotta throw THE CROWS OF PEARBLOSSOM in the mix. That Sophie Blackall is a force to reckoned with. Amazing work here.

    • I saw that in the Abrams catalog, but have yet to lay eyes on it – thanks for the recommendation, Matt.

  10. Picture books I like this year:

    Phil Stead’s Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat
    Tricia Tusa’s Follow Me
    Tweak Tweak, as ill. by Sergio Ruzzier
    Hopper and Wilson by Maria van Lieshout
    I Want My Hat Back (Hands Down the Funniest)
    …and, as Adrienne mentioned, I Must Have Bobo! (as well as many others named in this post)

  11. Kadir Nelson is so overdue for a Caldecott. Enough with the honors! That man needs to win!

  12. Jennifer says

    Have you read “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness? I was blown away by it, and would consider it a Newbery contender.

  13. A Dog’s Way Home is getting some nice buzz too!

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