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Children’s Lit Commish: Caldecott to be Selected by Supercomputer

The following is a work of fiction.

The International Children’s Literature Commissioner has announced that the prestigious Randolph Caldecott Medal, the most important award in children’s picture books, will from this day forward be picked by a computer.

Appearing in public for the first time after an extended hiatus, the commissioner was thoughtful.

People are always complaining that the Caldecott is out of touch with children’s tastes, or worse yet, that picture books in general are “no longer a staple for children. Today, I give you my response.”

The Commissioner then dramatically pulled a braided golden rope hanging from the ceiling, dropping a curtain to reveal a blinking, bleeping supercomputer.

Caldecott? Nay. I present Computercott! From here on out, the Caldecott winner will be selected by this CPU, or central processing unit. Using an advanced algorithm taking into consideration the likes and dislikes of children, as well as those of picture book experts, elements of a picture book’s artwork will be assigned point values and totaled.

When pressed for details, the commissioner explained that illustration points would be awarded as in the following way:

Depictions of:
General Merriment = 10 points
An iPod = 15 points
The Sea = 20 points
Peanut M&Ms = 25 points
General Cuteness = 40 points
A Beautiful Vista = 100 points
Justin Beiber = 110 points
Snowfall = 150 points
An Animal Talking = 175 points

The commissioner added that they’re “still tweaking”.

Early tests have shown that the history of the Caldecott would have been much different if the Computercott had applied its “superior logic”.

Good bye, Where the Wild Things Are, hello I’m Happy. You’re Happy. Let’s Dance at the Grand Canyon!

Ignoring any further questions, the Commissioner concluded, “This award is too important to let human error interject.”

Click the links below to read previous Children’s Lit Commish posts:

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘Hunger Games Details Wanted’

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘All Picture Books to be 80s Film Adaptations’

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘Don’t Look at Me’

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘No More Fancy Covers’

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘All Books Will Actually Just Be Videos By 2012’

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘No Blogging Allowed at Blog Conference’

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘No More Non-Famous Authors’

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘No More Adaptations’

Children’s Lit Commish: ‘No More Non-Series Books’

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. Sigh…thank you. That was brilliant, and I’m looking forward to seeing the gold medal on an issue of J-14 next January.