Newbery/Caldecott 2012: The Home Stretch
The time seems right (in my opinion, it’s never really wrong) to check back in on how the Newbery and Caldecott races are shaping up. I’ve already shared my 2012 Caldecott predictions, but this time out the scrutinization tools of choice are the 2012 Newbery and Caldecott lists on Goodreads. If you’re not familiar, Goodreads is a social networking site for readers. Any member of the site can vote for their favorites.
This was the top five back in May:
This is the top 10 today:
Okay for Now still tops the list by a wide margin, but seems to have lost some momentum as time has passed. The biggest climbers are A Monster Calls and Wonderstruck. Both will face roadblocks to winning Newbery. A Monster Calls is in question because of possible date of publication and audience questions (best described by Jonathan Hunt in this post and this post at Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery blog), while Wonderstruck‘s use of illustrations bring it into question (illustrations which, according to Heavy Medal in this post and this post, don’t count it out, but definitely make the road to Newbery more complicated). Breadcrumbs also has climbed into the top five with consistently great reviews. It will be interesting to see where that one lands. And could it be that National Book Award winner Inside Out and Back Again already has this award locked up, and we just don’t know it yet?
How does this top 10 fare when we rank them based on how many “best of 2011” lists they made? Well, EarlyWord has kindly has compiled that data. So here is the same batch of books, reorganized by their 2011 best book list count:
1. Wonderstruck (6 best of 2011 lists)
2. (Tie) Inside Out and Back Again
2. (Tie) Okay for Now
4. (Tie) Amelia Lost
4. (Tie) A Monster Calls
6. (Tie) Bigger than a Bread Box
6. (Tie) The Penderwicks at Point Mouette
6. (Tie) The Trouble with May Amelia
6. (Tie) Words in the Dust
It should be said that in both the Goodreads list and the best of the year compilation, no one is taking into account the, you know, actual Newbery criteria. I say Wonderstruck winning Newbery is a long shot. But those two second place titles on the other hand…
This is what the top five looked like in May:
And here’s the top 10 today:
Quite a few moves here. The climbers are I Want My Hat Back, Grandpa Green, and Perfect Square. I have the first two of this trio on my Caldecott predictions list. As for surprises, I was expecting to find Deborah Freedman’s Blue Chicken among the top 10. Interesting fact – each one of these books was created by an author/illustrator except for Stars, illustrated by Marla Frazee and written by Mary Lyn Ray
How do these books stack up according to their best of the year results?
1. Wonderstruck (6 best of 2011 lists)
2. (Tie) Blackout
2. (Tie) Grandpa Green
2. (Tie) I Want My Hat Back
6. Where’s Walrus?
7. (Tie) Little White Rabbit
7. (Tie) Perfect Square
7. (Tie) Queen of the Falls
7. (Tie) Stars
Seeing as how Wonderstruck was on just about every best of 2011 list out there, it’s no surprise it also tops this chart. In my predictions I thought Selznick’s book will end up with a Caldecott honor, and I’m sticking to my guns. Blackout is a great book that has been getting lots of love but not a ton of buzz, making it a quiet (but serious) contender. Me…Jane is my pick for the big award, but it drops in the ranks when we look at best of 2011 data. And what will come of I Want My Hat Back? Calling Caldecott makes a nice case for the “pacing, humor, and use of color” in Jon Klassen’s illustrations.
Man, I’m really starting to get excited for January 23. Click here to bookmark the live webcast.
This is all fine and good, but how accurate is the collective Goodreads mind at picking the winners and honors? Looking at top ten lists from the past, results vary.
Number of Newbery winners/honors among the top 10 Goodreads vote-getters:
2011: 1 (One Crazy Summer)
2010: 3 (When You Reach Me, The Evolution of Calpernia Tate, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon)
2009: 3 (The Graveyard Book, Savvy, The Underneath)
Number of Caldecott winners/honors among the top 10 Goodreads vote-getters:
2011: 1 (A Sick Day for Amos McGee)
2010: 3 (The Lion and the Mouse, Red Sings from Treetops, All The World)
2009: 2 (How I Learned Geography, The House in the Night)
Enough of my long-windedness. Which books are you pulling for?
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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 email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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